The Fascination of Knowledge: Natural Creativity, Time’s Arrow, and Reciprocity

  • John G. Fitch
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Literature, Science and Medicine book series (PLSM)


This chapter argues that the content of knowledge has a strong potential appeal to the imagination, including that of poets. The inherent creativity of nature gives an unforced connection with human creativity in poetry and the other arts. The concept of the ‘arrow of time’, of the universe as immersed in evolutionary change, gives a parallel with humans’ sense of lived time and the irreversibility of our experience. And the theme of reciprocity, seen for example in environmental studies, is in tune with poetry’s characteristic awareness of interconnections.


Creativity Irreversibility Bergson Reciprocity Environmental Gaia 


  1. Capra, Fritjof. 1983. The Turning Point. New York: Bantam.Google Scholar
  2. Capra, Fritjof, and Pier Luigi Luisi. 2014. The Systems View of Life: A Unifying Vision. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  3. Carson, Rachel. 1962. Silent Spring. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.Google Scholar
  4. Coveney, Peter, and Roger Highfield. 1990. The Arrow of Time. London: W.H. Allen.Google Scholar
  5. Dawkins, Richard. 1998. Unweaving the Rainbow: Science, Delusion and the Appetite for Wonder. Boston and New York: Allen Lane.Google Scholar
  6. Dorst, Adrian, and Cameron Young. 1990. Clayoquot. Vancouver, BC: Western Canada Wilderness Committee.Google Scholar
  7. Einstein, Albert. 1954. Ideas and Opinions. New York: Crown.Google Scholar
  8. Holub, Miroslav. 2001. Poetry and Science. In The Measured World: On Poetry and Science, ed. Kurt Brown, 47–68. Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press.Google Scholar
  9. Humphries, Rolfe, trans. 1969. Lucretius: The Way Things Are. London and Bloomington: Indiana University Press.Google Scholar
  10. Johnson, David, and Lucy Gilbert. 2015. Interplant Signalling Through Hyphal Networks. New Phytologist 205 (4): 1448–1453.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Lake, Paul. 2001. The Shape of Poetry. In The Measured Word: On Poetry and Science, ed. Kurt Brown, 156–180. Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press.Google Scholar
  12. MacDiarmid, Hugh. 1992. Selected Poems. London: Carcanet.Google Scholar
  13. McGovern, Iggy. 2007. Science and Poetry: Not So Different? In On Literature and Science: Essays, Reflections, Provocations, ed. Philip Coleman, 211–222. Dublin: Four Courts Press.Google Scholar
  14. Midgley, Mary. 2001. Science and Poetry. London: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Mobus, George E., and Michael C. Kalton. 2015. Principles of Systems Science. New York: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Morgan, Edwin. 1999. Demon. Glasgow: Mariscat.Google Scholar
  17. Morgan, Edwin. 2006. Poetry and Virtual Realities. In Contemporary Poetry and Contemporary Science, ed. Robert Crawford, 27–47. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  18. Prigogine, Ilya, and Isabell Stengers. 1984. Order Out of Chaos: Man’s New Dialogue with Nature. Boulder, CO: Bantam.Google Scholar
  19. Reimchen, T.E., et al. 2003. Isotopic Evidence for Enrichment of Salmon-Derived Nutrients in Vegetation, Soil and Insects in Riparian Zones in Coastal British Columbia. American Fisheries Society Symposium 34: 59–69.Google Scholar
  20. Spencer, Herbert. 1861. Education: Intellectual, Moral and Physical. London: Williams and Norgate.Google Scholar
  21. Williams, M.L. 2001. Knowers and Makers: Describing the Universe. In The Measured Word: On Poetry and Science, ed. Kurt Brown, 14–23. Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of VictoriaVictoriaCanada

Personalised recommendations