The hermeneutical benefits of fungus…

Photo by Egor Kamelev on

I first came accross the word ‘hermaneutic’ in the conext of trying to make sense of ancient scripture. In that context, it was a helpful way to understand how the ‘googles’ that we wear, albeit entirely unconsciously, affects what we see. In a wider application, this might mean that the dominant world views that underpin our understanding of the cultures we are embedded in prevent us from seeing things that would otherwise be obvious.

One of the most dominant ideas about who we are within arose from enlightenment thinking. We used to believe that evolution was a process of ascendancy in which naturual forces decide, by process of ‘selection’, how progress continues to be made. More recently, this same logic has dominated our economics, in which ‘nature’ has been replaced by ‘the market’.

Hermaneutic #1

Do not think

Trust instead in evolution

To shape the world, if not for best

At least for least worst


Do not act

Worlds are not built, they

Emerged as tectonic friction

Then were abraded by natural forces

Beyond our control


Do not rescue

Let weakness whither

Set the fittest free to celebrate



Do not regulate

Let greed sow seeds

Like forest trees, then let

Free markets grow

Photo by Pixabay on

The market, left to it’s own devices, is then thought to be self-regulating and capable of finding the best solution not just to any economic solutions but to all associated human implications.

Climate change has forced us, kicking and screaming in some cases, to re-evaluate this hermaneutic because free market economics is destroying the very integrated natural ecological system that inspired it.

The second hermaneutic also comes from the natural world. We know already how trees communicate with each other through the mycorrhizal network, but the more we look into this, the more remarkable is the relationship between fungal life (thought to be a third of all life on the planet) and the rest of the natural world. It seems that the truth is inescapable- life is found not in the individual spiecies, but in the ways they connect and interact. The ways the co-operate and support one another.

Hermaneutic #2

Tree is not tree without forest

Bird is not bird without sky

Man is not man on an island alone

With no fruit there is no fruit fly


Fungus is not just about fungus

It carries the world on its back

It holds under soil the truth of us all

It gives out but also gets back


In places of disconnection

Between the you and the I

Let mycelium grow and let nutrients flow

Lest we both whither and die

1 thought on “The hermeneutical benefits of fungus…

  1. Pingback: What, MORE about trees? | this fragile tent

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