Headline, June 07 2019/ ''' ''FUNGAL WORLD FUTURE'' ''' : O'' !WOW!


FUTURE'' ''' : O'' !WOW!

THE WORLD STUDENTS SOCIETY : for every subject in the world is the exclusive ownership of every student in the world.

O''Students instead of staying trapped in our individual ''I,'' we might start to think of ourselves as a part of the greatest dynamic network, embedded in the motto :

''That Great Things Must Be Attempted. And Only Great Things Done!'' Time enough to 'stretch your minds'.
Entangled Life : How Fungi Make Our Worlds, Change Our Minds and Shape Our Futures'' by Merlin Sheldrake.

PAYING ATTENTION TO FUNGI can transform our fundamental understanding of the world.  ''Need something done? There's fungus for that.''

Finishing the manuscript for a book is usually the consummation of years of work, and when writers emerge on the other side, they often try to do something appropriately celebratory.

For his new book, the young fungal biologist Merlin Sheldrake decided on a ritual I had never heard of, much less fathomed:

He dampened a copy of the book and seeded it with spores, eating the oyster mushrooms that sprouted from its pages. Taking another copy, he tore up the pages, mashed them up to release their sugars and fermented the solution into beer. Forget the trite literary pleasures of a gourmet meal or a champagne toast : Here is an author who marked the completion of his book by ingesting it.

It's a fittingly eccentric end for ''Entangled Life,'' Sheldrake's ebullient and ambitious exploration of a subject that surrounds us yet too few of us think about.

Plants get so much human attention, but Sheldrake wants to direct our gaze at fungi, without which so many of the plants that we take for granted wouldn't exist.

If you think about fungi at all, you might conjure up an image of a mushroom, sprouting from a tree stump or ready to be eaten from a plate. [Sheldrake's first name - Merlin - helpfully makes me think of a wizard and his enchanted toadstool.]

But mushrooms are just the minuscule flowering tip of  the vast fungal world. The largest recorded  fungal network in Oregon - a network or mycelium - that covers four square miles and is thousands of years old.

What's more, fungi are not only everywhere; they are doing things. Though they often get lumped in with the plants that used fungi as root systems for tens of million of years before the plants evolved their own.

Enterprising researchers are finding ways to put fungi to all kinds of uses. There are the basic fungal tasks of supplying nutrients to plants, helping them grow and changing, say, the sweetness of a strawberry.

But could they also help us clean up the horrible mess we've made of the planet? Fungi can be trained to eat cigarette butts, used diapers, oil spills and even radiation.

A budding field of mycofabrication has developed imitation leathers and building materials out of fungi. Sheldrake visits a factory that turns fungal networks into furniture - footstools instead of roadstools.

But to fixate mainly on their potential is in some ways to miss the bigger point. Sheldrake says that paying attention to fungi can change our fundamental understanding of the world.

Mycelial networks are decentralized organisms, whose ''coordination takes place both everywhere at once and nowhere in particular.'' They eat by putting their bodies into food.

Their fungal tips called hyphae can exert enough pressure to penetrate Keviar. A mushroom that sprouts from the ground after a rainstorm can crunch its way through an asphalt road.

''If I think about mycelial growth for more than a minute,'' Sheldrake says, ''my mind starts to stretch.''

He describes getting a little help from fungal hallucinogens like LSD and psilocybin, making a mind-bending analogy to so-called zombie fungi that commandeer the bodies of their insect hosts.

One fungus propagates itself by infecting cicadas, keeping them alive while causing their rear-ends to disintegrate and discharge spores, turning them into ''flying salt-shakers of death.''

Fungal psychedelics are usually more benign to their human hosts, Sheldrake says. They encourage humans to cultivate them, spreading their spores along with the word. They can blur the boundaries of the self, giving people the feeling of emerging with something greater, expanding their universe of possibilities.

Instead of staying trapped in our individual ''I,'' we might start to think of ourselves as part of a dynamic network, embedded in a filigree of relationships.

''Within 24 hours of finishing ''Entangled Life,'' I had ordered an oyster mushroom-growing kit. I started scrutinizing the lichens that hug the damp concrete in the yard.

The book may not be psychedelic - and unlike Sheldrake, I haven't dared to consume my copy [yet] - but reading it left me not just moved but altered, eager to disseminate its message of what fungi can do.

The Honor and Serving of the latest Global Operational Research on Great Books and Writings, continues. The World Students Society thanks review author : Jennifer Szalai.

With respectful dedication to the Leaders, Grandparents, Parents, Students, Professors and Teachers of the world. See Ya all on The World Students Society : wssciw.blogspot.com and Twitter-!E-WOW! : The Ecosystem 2011:

''' Nett Need '''

Good Night and God Bless

SAM Daily Times - the Voice of the Voiceless


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