4 of 5 – EcoSex @ U Conn – Margulis and Sagan’s Mystery Dance – Student Reports: Adam’s Take
The EcoSex course at U Conn is in process. It’s a great experience. We are reading amazing books. Thinking out of the box and across disciplines. Students are sending their responses in, with discussion questions. In class, we connect the dots: a holograph of what we’ve read together, the “required readings.” Multiple perspectives and good synergy. Here, we offer a glimpse. Lynn Margulis and Dorion Sagan’s Mystery Dancewas one of two theory-of-sciencebooks. We got four responses: from John, Alissa, Rhiann, Adam, and Michael.
I thoroughly enjoyed “Mystery Dance” by Lynn Margulis and Dorion Sagan. These women proved to me, once again, that they are competent, brilliant story-tellers, as well as scientists. I was captivated from the start; the interdisciplinary nature of the book, touching on biology, feminist perspectives, paleontology, microbiology, psychology, etc. appealed to my intellect and made it impossible to label the book as too one-sided or bland.
As an evolutionary biology major, I am fascinated by any news or information on evolution and all the process entails. “Mystery Dance” took an approach to the concept of evolution that I had not deeply considered before; the ‘stripper’ motive endowed the concept of evolution with an air of sexuality and, just as importantly, layers. As a child, I viewed evolution like links in a chain – mutations that resulted in the beginning or end of a species. As I have grown, I have learned that evolution if far less cut and dry than that, and this book articulates that superbly.
Another thing I loved about this book was how Margulis and Sagan focus on the human sex organs, and their relation, in comparison, to our fellow primates and, more broadly, to the other species in the various kingdoms and phylum. I had a decent understanding of these concepts before my reading of this book; I had done my own novice research because of interest on the subject. However, “Mystery Dance” took what I already knew and vastly expanded upon it. Why female Homo sapiens have permanently distended breasts after puberty, why male Homo sapiens generally have much larger genitalia than those of our fellow primates, how we associate sex with the primal, and therefore uncontrollable, dirty parts of our bodies – all are questions that I did not even know I had, now answered.
My question: Looking at current trends, can one predict how human sexual physiology will change in the future, assuming we continue existing as a species?
Let “nature” be your teacher in the arts of love. Education is the heart of democracy, education to love. Come back for more wonders: Students Responses to appear every Tuesday. Book Reports to be scheduled soon, every other Thursday. Check out our summer offerings: Ecosexuality in Portland, OR, July 17-21. Info and Registration here!
Serena Anderlini-D’Onofrio, PhD
Gilf Gaia Extraordinaire
Author of Gaia,Eros, and many other books about love Professor of Humanities