Thus Spoke the Plant – Monica Gagliano’s book + interview podcast @ Green Dreamer: Regenerating the Human Spirit


Abstract: In this “phytobiography”–a collection of stories written in partnership with a plant–research scientist, Monica Gagliano, reveals the dynamic role plants play in genuine first-hand accounts from her research into plant communication and cognition. By transcending the view of plants as the objects of scientific materialism, Gagliano encourages us to rethink plants as people–beings with subjectivity, consciousness, and volition, and hence having the capacity for their own perspectives and voices. The book draws on up-close-and-personal encounters with the plants themselves, as well as plant shamans, indigenous elders, and mystics from around the world and integrates these experiences with an incredible research journey and the groundbreaking scientific discoveries that emerged from it. Gagliano has published numerous peer-reviewed scientific papers on how plants have a Pavlov-like response to stimuli and can learn, remember, and communicate to neighboring plants. She has pioneered the brand-new research field of plant bioacoustics, for the first time experimentally demonstrating that plants emit their own ‘voices’ and, moreover, detect and respond to the sounds of their environments. By demonstrating experimentally that learning is not the exclusive province of animals, Gagliano has re-ignited the discourse on plant subjectivity and ethical and legal standing. This is the story of how she made those discoveries and how the plants helped her along the way.

Personal notes book:

Introducing new ways to do research, beyond scientific method. Looking at plants as the main teachers leading the way of research, rather than assumptions made in the design of an experiment. Example of a scientist breaking the boundaries of science to reimagine a world of discoveries that is co-created with the vegetable kingdom, through the support of indigenous knowledge and teachers from different traditions.

Personal notes podcast:

  • everyone is being bought, but time is the only special thing that we have. we sell away our time!! – techno-scientific perspective: dividing, categorizing, parcels of quantities of things that apparently make us feel safe, but also, in a crisis, we see that this does not work because we don’t remember how to surrender to the fact that we should have no control! why should we?
  • indigenous knowledge – relating and relationships. it is about not knowing, leaving that space open for relating. 
  • if you walk the world without knowing (without expecting) you get a chance to know what you are, what the world is, because you have a chance to listen.
  • the system cannot cope with loosing control. when we feel pressured by change we tend to control more. instead we could be acknowledging we have no control, and learning by listening to plants, rather than assuming
  • there is something empowering in totally owning our humanity! recognize its subjectivity. 
  • resonance: one sound with another echoing into a bigger harmony sound.  we are waiting for the resonance to arise from our connections. 
  • It is about regenerating the human spirit, and that sill regenerate the land. 
  • (why would we choose security over freedom? why do we? ) 

“you do not live in your mind but in your heart so be permanently moved in your heart, and your mind will follow. “

Reference: Gagliano, M. (2018). Thus spoke the plant: A remarkable journey of groundbreaking scientific discoveries and personal encounters with plants. North Atlantic Books.