The Matter of Death and Life

by Maria Katajavuori

The Theory Of Everything meets Paradise Lost

What do human bodies, Carboniferous forests, the Canadian lynx, and economical systems have in common?
A tendency to self-destruct.
The author, Maria Katajavuori, figured that she had to find the answer to a vital question: what are the ultimate causes behind the self-destructive behavior of individuals, species and societies? Her conclusion is astonishing; the principles that drive the self-destructiveness of these systems are the same - Evolution and the tragedy of the commons.

However, as a biologist, she knew that many other species in biosphere had, in one way or another, found a solution to their overconsumption problems, and some can even be considered, as low as at the level of the individual, biologically immortal.

Building on these examples of accomplished avoidance of overconsumption and senescence, an idea was born: can we get inspiration from these success stories and apply them to our own species? How do they succeed?

By comparing individuals, species and societies and identifying unexpected, fascinating analogies between them, the author shows which parts of these systems we really need to change if we are to stop their destructive behavior.

Linking cell biology, ecology, natural and cultural sciences through examples originating from recent biological findings, her own work and the life of any ordinary human in an entertaining way, The Matter of Death and Life seeks answers to the mysteries of both, suggesting a completely new way of tackling environmental and evolutional problems.

“Katajavuori weaves numerous exhilarating and stunning connections between humans, animals and plants… The huge amount of information that The Matter of  Death and Life includes is wrapped up into a compelling popular science book, spiced with black humour.”

Mikko-Pekka Heikkinen, Helsingin Sanomat

“Katajavuori mixes history, natural sciences and sociology in an educative and entertaining way. For an amateur scientist who wants to ponder big questions, the book is like a full bag of pick 'n' mix candy.”

Tommi Aitio, Kauppalehti

  • Original Title |
    Kuoleman ja elämän kysymys
  • Pages |
  • Publishing Year |
  • Genres |
    Popular Science
  • Available Material |
    English Sample, Chapter Summary
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