For vast millennia before the advent of science, we, as a species, connected to the natural world through art and music, much of it related to sacred plants, which is not to suggest that science can’t do the same. Connection is what matters most and whatever gets us to that realization is what works. We are products of our planet; we belong here. As Alan Watts once put it, “We didn’t come into the world, we came out of it.” Several years ago, while at the Parliament of the World’s Religions in Salt Lake City, I listened as a Kogi native of Colombia made this abundantly clear, relating, “I can cut off my hand and live. I can even cut off my legs and live. But I can’t cut myself off from this [here he gestured to a glass of water] and live. So where does my true body begin and end?” The world’s atmosphere has shaped our lungs, and the world’s plants have shaped the world’s atmosphere. We are inextricably intertwined with the world; more accurately, we — in the Kogi sense — are the world and the world is us, no firewall between the two. This is the deepest reason why I was so taken with the extraordinary images and text of Microcosms. Sacred plants are our pathways home. We only need to take their hands. It’s all about connection.
Dana Sawyer, Professor Emeritus of Religion and Philosophy, Maine College of Art and author of Aldous Huxley: A Biography and Huston Smith: Wisdomkeeper