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Nature Institute Perspectives #2

cover of elephant booklet

The Flexible Giant: Seeing the Elephant Whole , by Craig Holdrege (Nature Institute Perspectives #2, 65 pages, $10 plus tax, shipping, and handling). Order from our Bookstore

Craig Holdrege has studied the elephant for many years. In this booklet he introduces readers to this remarkable animal and, at the same time, to the methods of a qualitative, holistic biology. You will be able to experience how the elephant is a unique being that expresses itself in every aspect of its anatomy, physiology, and behavior. The whole lives in every part. This kind of approach shows the grave limitations of simplistic Darwinian "explanations" of animal life, while also demonstrating that a rigorous scientific approach can build up a living picture of an animal that enhances our sense of awe and responsibility for our fellow creatures on earth. The written portrayal of the elephant is accompanied by numerous drawings and photographs. It also contains a bibliography of books and articles on elephants.

Here are some comments on the monograph:

“Your marvelous mini-monograph on ‘the Flexible Giant’ is momentous and inspirational! Please accept my wholehearted congratulations and thanks. For the past thirty plus years I've been sharing my daily life with elephants which I think puts me in a pretty good position to appreciate your fresh, succinct, thoughtful, holistic and principle-centered approach to seeing the elephant. By taking small groups of international visitors, local village children and school kids for interpretive walks in the bush with three habituated African Elephants we try to achieve what you have managed to do very nicely with words in your booklet.”
  – Doug Groves, Chairman, Living With Elephants Foundation in Botswana, Africa

“This remarkable little book about elephants is a ‘must read’ for Waldorf teachers at all levels. You should not only use it as a source book for describing elephants in zoology or ‘man and animal’ blocks, however. When you read it pay keen attention to ‘how’ Craig brings this wonderful animal to life in the pages of his book and then your own creative powers will be enhanced as you describe any animal, insect, plant, or even mineral that you teach. The ‘wholeness’ of the elephant is portrayed and through this portrayal you learn about yourself.”
  – David Mitchell, Waldorf Science Newsletter (#19, Autumn 2003)

Contents:

  • Introduction — Portraying the Elephant
  • The Trunk and Flexibility
  • Variety and Versatility in Food and Habitat
  • Life-long Change and Social Interactions
  • Teeth Reveal the Whole
  • Flexible Ideas
  • The Sensitive Giant
  • The Head in the Context of the Whole
  • The Sensitive Boundary
  • A Further Dimension of the Elephant's World: Hearing
  • Comparison and Contrast to the Human Being
  • Elephantine Intelligence
  • Summarizing Picture
  • References and Bibliography

To read the booklet online, please click here .

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