The Lives of a Cell

The Lives of a Cell (Notes of a Biology Watcher) Author : Lewis Thomas / From the series The Masterpieces of Science /Published by New American Library, New York /First printing 1986 / 152 pages

I found this book in our library (thanks to the wonderful additional of my aunt’s collection into our library) and simply began reading it. It blew my mind wide open and made me want to look more closely at the world around me. My brain felt tingly and all fired up. It made me hungry for more, it made me want to have a better mind to appreciate all the wonders around and inside me.

In 29 essays, Lewis Thomas showed how he looked at the world. He revealed how his mind worked, how he saw the universe’s interconnections, what meanings he culled from creatures’ behaviors. He then wrote about it in what others term as “poetic” prose, yet in my reader’s ear his writing style made me feel like I was having a deeply interesting conversation with him while walking along some path.

This is a book that has influenced me in my interest in environmental issues and it has instructed me on how to think about the earth and our lives on it. I remember how I felt reading this book when I listened to other bright inquiring minds such as one of my university professors Michael Tan, and marine biologist Prof. Al Licuanan and the late conservationist and botanist Leonard Co. They all had that quality of erudition that pried my mind apart enough to let some light in. They all had a way of seeing and looking at the world that inspires others to actually care. That is a great gift — and this little book is a gift that keeps on giving even when it was written so long ago.

I have kept my little green “Masterpiece of Science” copy close and in my special bookshelf ever since I found it. I tend to re-read it and search its essays whenever I need to jolt my brain awake. We should all have such an inspiration on our shelves. (Several paperback Penguin editions are still available through Amazon and I would enjoin you to get one for yourself.)


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