ON LIFE AND LIVING: In Conversation with Kurt Mundl by Konrad Lorenz

ON LIFE AND LIVING: In Conversation with Kurt Mundl

By
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

Here, Kurt Mundl, a science journalist and Lorenz's longtime friend, re-creates an assortment of casual conversations with the late Nobel winner that focus on the nature of humanity and its future on Earth. Lorenz's amiable, life-affirming voice proves instantly recognizable--despite the scientist's advanced years (he died at age 85 in 1989)--as he once again praises the advantages of a childhood spent, as his was, among the wonders of nature, and reviews his well-known theories on evolution, conservation, overpopulation, and nuclear power. Though much of this turf has already been thoroughly worked over in Lorenz's own books, his precise yet easily understood explanations of the critical need to maintain our primary forests, save our rivers, ponds, and oceans, and encourage genetic variety among even the most domesticated of farm animals certainly bear repeating. Though Lorenz predictably deplores scientists' routine practice of experimenting on animals they hope to understand rather than observing them in their natural habitats, he nevertheless maintains that animal experimentation that might result in medical breakthroughs clearly takes precedence over the animals' rights. He displays his humanistic viewpoint as well when extolling the potential of youthful rebellion for improving the human race; offering certain animal species' instinctive practice of birth control when overcrowded as an example for us to follow: and predicting that though humanity will probably come closer to destroying the earth before it begins making substantial reparations, such reparations are still feasible and, indeed, comprise our best hope for the future. A slim but poignant tribute, and a fittingly personal sequel to Lorenz's scientific works.

Pub Date: April 17th, 1990
Publisher: St. Martin's