Monday, February 11, 2013

The Secret Life of Plants

"floweers have ears, heahear!"
 - Finnegans Wake, p. 337

Anyone who's ever read Robert Anton Wilson's classic book Cosmic Trigger would probably recognize the title "The Secret Life of Plants". That's where I'd first heard of it, at least.* Wilson mentions some of the discoveries from the 1973 book by Peter Tompkins and Christopher Bird in the process of presenting the reader with some fascinating perspectives about modern scientific discoveries and measurements of "spirit" or life energy in vegetation (see pg. 25).

*Actually, the very first time I heard of it (like so many occult things) was in a rap song by Killah Priest, though I had no idea what he was referring to: "The secret private life of plants/ the diligent and militant/ commodity and colonies of ants/ the spiritual and telekinetic mind of children/ all rolled up in rhymes that are chillin."

Recently I was at a friend's house and he had a copy of the book The Secret Life of Plants resting next to a few of his plants. When I brought it up, he strongly suggested I pick up a copy of the book as the ideas contained therein were very powerful. I haven't gotten to pick up the original book yet, but I did come across an entertaining documentary film based on the book which I'd like to share here.

This movie is from 1979 and features lots of motion capture scenes which beautifully display the growth of plants and flowers. The documentary is more than a bit unorthodox compared to contemporary standards, featuring a few fast-forward-worthy drawn out musical montages (with original tunes from Stevie Wonder). But, that's the beauty of our technology---you can skip right through the boring parts. There is plenty of eye-opening stuff here concerning plant sentience that will really leave make an impact on the way one sees the world.

The other important thing I want to point out is a funny synchronicity---as I mentioned, I'd originally heard about The Secret Life of Plants through a passing mention in Robert Anton Wilson's synchronicity-filled book Cosmic Trigger. Another memorable part of that book is RAW's discussion of the Dogon tribe in Africa that possesses an uncanny knowledge of the solar system, the universe, and especially the star Sirius. Long before scientific instruments could even prove it, this isolated primitive tribe knew that Sirius had another star orbiting around it. Not only that, they knew this second star takes exactly 50 years to make a full cycle.

A must-see for Cosmic Trigger fans, this documentary features a segment all about the Dogon tribe. If anything, you should definitely check out that one segment as it's one of the best parts of the film (though they never really adequately explain their connection to plant sentience...). To see the Dogon segment, fast forward to the 1hr 6m mark.

Video after the jump.


  1. Although I never read The Secret Life of Plants, it went pretty mainstream right around the time I graduated from high school. I think it was on some bestseller books, and I'm pretty sure there was a copy around the house somewhere.

    I may also be mixing it up slightly with Jerry Baker's Talk to Your Plants, which came out in 1973. Our communion with plants seems to have slipped a bit since then.

  2. This type of knowledge really needs to be mainstream again, though the main streams are so thoroughly polluted with commercialism now (ex: "The Secret") it'd probably be twisted into some kind of cheap marketing gimmick.

    Regardless, this is the kind of thing that should be shown to children in school---the truth about the humming vastly connected web of vibrant life in the universe.

  3. I've just been taking a look at Martha Beck's Finding Your Way in a Wild New World. Although she is definitely in the commercial 'self-help' realm, she has always seemed to me to have a lot to say about kind of the leading edge of consciousness, and a lot of this book is apparently geared toward experiencing Oneness, or at least that's what I've gathered so far.

  4. Weird synchronicity. I've actually been re-reading Cosmic Trigger this week. I always finding that reading RAW tends to make the weirdness in my life come out in full-force.

    Last night, I read the chapter on the Dogon tribe and watched a few related videos on youtube which left me more befuddled then ever. There's a lot strange conspiracies out there that people like to connect the Dogon tribe to apparently.

    I will definitely have to watch The Secret Life of Plants though. Interesting blog post as per usual!

  5. Very interesting stuff at the Dogon tribe wiki page: