Exuberance: The Passion for Life

Exuberance: The Passion for Life

Kay Redfield Jamison

Language: English

Pages: 416

ISBN: 0375701486

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

Exuberance: The Passion for Life

Kay Redfield Jamison

Language: English

Pages: 416

ISBN: 0375701486

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


With the same grace and breadth of learning she brought to her studies of the mind’s pathologies, Kay Redfield Jamison examines one of its most exalted states: exuberance. This “abounding, ebullient, effervescent emotion” manifests itself everywhere from child’s play to scientific breakthrough and is crucially important to learning, risk-taking, social cohesiveness, and survival itself. Exuberance: The Passion for Life introduces us to such notably irrepressible types as Teddy Roosevelt, John Muir, and Richard Feynman, as well as Peter Pan, dancing porcupines, and Charles Schulz’s Snoopy. It explores whether exuberance can be inherited, parses its neurochemical grammar, and documents the methods people have used to stimulate it. The resulting book is an irresistible fusion of science and soul.

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beautiful branching one”: Wilson A. Bentley, “Some Recent Treasures of the Snow,” Monthly Weather Review, 55: 358–59 (1927). 51. “wonderfully brilliant closing”: ibid. 52. No two will be alike: “New and beautiful designs seem to be as numerous now as when I began the work 40 years ago. While many of them are very similar to one another, I have, as yet, found no exact duplicates.” Bentley, “Forty Years’ Study,” p. 532. 53. “considering all the ways those molecules”: Fred Hapgood, “When Ice

(London: Longmans, 1931), p. 53. 30. “passion for collecting”: Charles Darwin, The Autobiography of Charles Darwin and Selected Letters, ed. Francis Darwin (1892; Mineola, N.Y.: Dover, 1958), p. 6. 31. “I had strong and diversified tastes”: ibid., p. 9. 32. “to the utmost”: ibid., p. 31. 33. “has been steady and ardent”: ibid., p. 55. 34. “We are not looking into the universe from outside”: George Wald, “The Origins of Life,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 52: 595–611

wonderfully described as “hair-trigger mousetraps with teeth.” One owner described his weasel’s pelting-about: “From whichever retreat hid him for the moment, a wedge-shaped head and wicked pair of eyes would appear. Then out he’d roll, turning cartwheel after cartwheel like an acrobat going round the circus ring. He moved so fast that it was impossible to distinguish where his head began and his tail finished. He was like a tiny inflated rubber tyre bowling round the room.” Irrepressible

reserves, set up more than fifty federal wildlife preserves, initiated thirty major irrigation programs, and established sixteen national monuments. One journalist commented that if Roosevelt continued to create reserves “there would be little ground left to bury folks on.” The president’s own summing up of his conservation efforts was different but equally succinct: “During the seven and a half years closing on March 4, 1909, more was accomplished for the protection of wildlife in the United

brain to brain—would have allowed the group to respond en masse, not just as individuals, one at a time and disjointedly. Laughter gives rise to yet more laughter and sends out, as it does, well-being to the far corners; it spreads its delights far, fast, and furious. On occasion, laughter spirals out of control. Epidemics of contagious laughter have been documented by the University of Maryland neuroscientist Robert Provine. One, which he describes in his book Laughter: A Scientific

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