Enchanted by the Sun: The CoEvolution of Light, Life, and Color on Earth

Wed Nov 28, 2012
Cowell Theater
7:30 pm


The Long Now Foundation's monthly series Seminars About Long-term Thinking

Peter Warshall presents
Enchanted by the Sun: The CoEvolution of Light, Life, and Color on Earth

For 3.8 billion years, life has lived in a bath of solar radiance. The Sun’s illumination outlines which objects are appealing, bland, or repellant. Its powers of desiccation, blistering, bleaching, and revelation govern a balance between beauty and danger. Its flood of photons shapes light-harvesters (“eyes”), pigments, and surfaces---stretching planetary aesthetics to include "invisible light" (ultraviolet, infrared, and polarized). From euglena to Matisse, all creatures dwell in a variety of luminance locales---dramas of biospheric brightness, color mixes, and rebellions against darkness (such as fireflies and luminescent fish). The most recent rebellion has been human-devised lamps that impact everything from the artistic-military complex (camouflage and mimicry) to the materials, techniques, and display of paintings, electronic imaging, and growing plants.

This 55-minute journey travels from unicells to octopi to op-art, with a dose of PR for “planetary color webs” and their influence on awareness, desire, self-direction, memory, contemplation, and curiosity.

Armed with a PhD in Biological Anthropology from Harvard, Peter Warshall has shaped watershed theory and practices, conservation biology, relations with Indian tribes in the Southwest, and refugee activities in Africa. For a decade he was the editor of the Whole Earth Review.

Seminar hosted by Stewart Brand

Long Now Members get complimentary tickets

Live Audio Stream of the Seminar for Long Now Members

There will be a reception at The Long Now Museum & Store following the Seminar

About the Series:
The Seminars About Long-term Thinking were started in 02003 to build a coherent, compelling body of ideas about long-term thinking, to help nudge civilization toward Long Now's goal of making long-term thinking automatic and common instead of difficult and rare.

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  1. Cowell Theater
    Fort Mason Center, San Francisco, CA