The Secret Life of Plants
|The Secret Life of Plants|
The Secret Life of Plants cover
|Author||Peter Tompkins, Christopher Bird|
|Publisher||Harper & Row|
The Secret Life of Plants (1973) is a book by Peter Tompkins and Christopher Bird. The book documents controlled experiments that reveal unusual phenomena regarding plants such as plant sentience, discovered through scientific experimentation. It goes on to discuss philosophies and progressive farming methods based on these findings.
Christopher Bird (May 11, 1928 – May 2, 1996) was a best-selling author. Christopher Bird was also author of the book The Divining Hand: The 500-Year-Old Mystery of Dowsing. Peter Tompkins (April 19, 1919 in Athens, Georgia - January 23, 2007), father of author Ptolemy Tompkins, worked as a journalist, as well as an US military intelligence officer in Italy.[non-primary source needed]
The book includes summaries of the life and work of amongst many others, 20th century scientists Jagdish Chandra Bose and Corentin Louis Kervran as well as 19th century scientist George Washington Carver. The book also discusses alternative philosophy and practice on soil and soil health, as well as on alternative farming methods. Topics such as magnetotropism, bio-electrics, aura, psychophysics, orgone energy, radionics, kirlian photography, and dowsing are also discussed. One of the book's claims is that plants may be sentient despite their lack of a nervous system and a brain.
The book includes experiments on plant stimuli using a polygraph, a method which was pioneered by Cleve Backster. The book is generally regarded as pseudoscientific by skeptics and scientists. Parts of the book attempt to disparage science, particularly plant biology, for example by claiming science is not concerned with "what makes plants live", in order to promote its own viewpoint that plants have emotions. The authors further say the authorities are unable to accept that emotional plants "might originate in a supramaterial world of cosmic beings which, as fairies, elves, gnomes, sylphs, and a host of other creatures, were a matter of direct vision and experience to clairvoyants among the Celts and other sensitives." 
The book was the basis for the 1979 documentary of the same name directed by Walon Green and featuring a soundtrack by Stevie Wonder, later released as Journey through the Secret Life of Plants. The film made heavy use of time-lapse photography (where plants are seen growing in a few seconds, creepers reaching out to other plants and tugging on them, mushrooms and flowers popping open, etc.).[non-primary source needed] The film was originally distributed by Paramount Pictures.
- "Christopher Bird, 68, a Best-Selling Author - New York Times". Nytimes.com. 1996-05-06. Retrieved 2011-10-24.
- Peter Tomkins and Christopher Bird “The Secret life of Plants” (1973)
- Abelson, P. H. (21 June 1974). "Pseudoscience". Science 184 (4143): 1233–1233. doi:10.1126/science.184.4143.1233.
- Carl Sagan's universe  (Repr. ed.). Cambridge [u.a.]: Cambridge Univ. Pr. 1998. ISBN 0-521-57286-X.
- The Secret Life of Plants at the Internet Movie Database
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