The Secret Life of Plants

The Secret Life of Plants

1979, Nature  -   74 Comments
Ratings: 7.62/10 from 95 users.

The Secret Life of PlantsIt means even on the lower levels of life, there is a profound consciousness or awareness that bonds all things together. Published in 1973, The Secret Life of Plants was written by Peter Tompkins and Christopher Bird. It is described as "A fascinating account of the physical, emotional, and spiritual relations between plants and man." Essentially, the subject of the book is the idea that plants may be sentient, despite their lack of a nervous system and a brain. This sentience is observed primarily through changes in the plant's conductivity, as through a polygraph, as pioneered by Cleve Backster. The book also contains a summary of Goethe's theory of plant metamorphosis.

That said, this book is about much more than just plants; it delves quite deeply into such topics as the aura, psychophysics, orgone, radionics, kirlian photography, magnetism/magnetotropism, bioelectrics, dowsing, and the history of science. It was the basis for the 1979 documentary of the same name, with a soundtrack especially recorded by Stevie Wonder.

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7 years ago

Wow...a friend suggested this one...its really boils down to actually - so many more thoughts :)

This surely states that every matter around us is INCLUSIVE n not reclusive as humanity behaves in a consumption based society.

That everything around us should be respected. Even our Bikes :)

This is the r-evolution which when comes, the natural world and the consumption world will harmonize. But this can only be when we as small pockets foremost take care of our food, waste, water, grid and education worries.

Roger Peterson
7 years ago

Inside Ivy is the name of an article that describes my personal experience with a household Ivy plant I loved and talked to daily. After months of energy exchange while propping myself up with my elbows resting on the stairwell shelf holding the plant pot, my consciousness suddenly flowed down into the plant. The experience that followed is amazing! Other accounts of of inter-species communication exist on the Internet as well.

Gabriel Suarez
9 years ago

Everyone has heard of the story of the fish who crawled out of the ocean but most haven't heard of the story of the plants that came before it.

Wamita Rellora
9 years ago

There's this movie 'The Happening'... Watching this documentary reminded me of that. I will definitely read the book!

10 years ago

Do you believe trees and plants feel fear when we start to trim them?

10 years ago

I read this book over 25 years ago and was amazed at what the implications were. I had searched for this documentary for a few years and am amazed at some of the footage that supports the data presented in the book.
Why has this not been a subject of research during all of this time?

10 years ago

Certainly an interesting means of testing whether or not consciousness permeates all of creation. It in no way justifies the taking of animal life to eat, as some misguided carnivores in these posts claim. What I get from the film is a greater reverence for all of life and a slight feeling of nausea when reading the posts of those who attempt to use this well-meaning film to justify the continuation of the holocaust that has befallen the animal world and is being continued by their own hands.

Josh B
11 years ago

WOW, this film makes me happy

Olde Hippie
11 years ago

I "discovered" this album shortly after its 1979 release and I was totally captured, sucked in, blown away . . . it owned me. I knew that the music was the soundtrack to a movie somewhere, but my search was futile, and the internet wasn't really here yet. Over the next 15 or 20 years, I got a little further, I knew this was a documentary, that it was viewed by mostly university students and researchers over there in England. I knew that Stevie watched the movie and went into his studio and created the music, uncannily syncing near perfectly, more often than not, with the visuals he never saw. With the internet finally exploding at the beginning of the 21st century, I got closer; yes this is a real movie, yes the movie and the music were technological marvels for 1978-79, no it is not available for viewing or purchase anywhere. In the world. I left my contact info at several movie sources, tell me when it appears on VHS, videodisk, smoke signal, whatever. Nothing. Nada.
Each year I return for an extended search for the video and today, I found it. The entire film, with soundtrack.

I will plug it into my home theatre tomorrow and savor each moment. Each musical thrill. Each frightening crash as the Earth is created and each goose bump as a flower opens its petals, and I will ponder the dream of coming back some day as a flower.

The soundtrack was a technological breakthrough on so many levels. A magical marriage between Western Classical and African Roots. Whatever, and I mean What Ever your musical preferences, you haven't heard it until you've heard Stevie Wonder's Secret Journey Through The World Of Plants.

Olde Hippie

11 years ago

OMG. FFWD to 6:55 when the first words are uttered. The music before this is horrid, discordant and jarring.

11 years ago

this is simply outstanding.

11 years ago

Considering the year this was made, the footage is amazing. A little slow as a whole though. But the content is wonderful! Plant, animals, humans - we are all-one.

Thelonious Specter
12 years ago

I saw this movie in the theater ans it changed my life.

angeli alvares
12 years ago

I find the documentary unrelevant to the book, it dragged and would have preferred it if the actual subject matter (feelings of plants) registered through whatever instruments have been invented) so all those vegans can shut up about cruelty to animals when we eat meat. I feel even matter has consciousness as times when I lose things like my keys for instance I talk to them mentally and eventually find out where they are. My little car was always waiting for me and I cried bitterly when I had to sell her (la voiture) and come back to India. She was always there waiting for me..She was my ticket to freedom of movement. She just wouldn't pass the smog test when she found out that I was going to sell her.

420 Vision
13 years ago

excellent doc,.. really learned a lot here.

13 years ago

This is so auwesome Dr. Jewel Pookrum was just talking about this movie last week, which prompted me to seek it out. She is so true about plants. I remember Dr. Y said that "vegans jump on board with no killing animals but never thought to consider the plants feelings by the booth your are sitting at in Applebee's when you are chomping on a salad"

13 years ago

If you are like me, you've come to the comments section to see what could be expected from the documentary. Having now seen it, here are my observations:

* I think you would get a lot more out of it if you watch it as a primer to reading the book or undertaking further investigation into the nature of plants. The reason for this is that, in terms of time, it is not focused on delivering the science behind plants although it does do that as well. I'd say that takes up maybe 25 minutes or so of the entire documentary. The rest of it is aimed at moving you out of the humdrum of city life to obtain some sort of feeling for the importance of plants and their place in the world.

* Would I recommend seeing it? Definitely. This is a budding science and, given that, it is pregnant with enormous possibility. If you like seeing a field of study in its infancy and thinking about possibilities, you'd be very hard pressed to find a better documentary. Even if you have no intention of going out there and finding out more, there are enough experiments and observations detailed in the documentary to make you think and some how feel good about knowing what others have seen.

* There is music and a dance scene in there so it is not like the other documentaries on TDF. It is from the late 70s so it is dated but this adds to the flavour of it. In fact, this now acts as a historical documentary for a section showing the workings of an African tribe in the south-west of the Sahara desert.

If nothing else, I hope this comment gives some context to the documentary for those who are questioning whether to see it or not. As mentioned, my personal recommendation is to give it a go.


13 years ago

okay why do we care if plants have feelings? lol

Caroline Harris
13 years ago

It is really a pity that this doco associates itself with the book as it doesn't reflect it and as a doco it is poorly constructed and ultimately quite disjointed, even accounting for it's age. A piy as it it's supposed subject matter is revealing and important. This was the "longest" doco that I've ever seen in terms of the amount of pregnant pauses it has. I spent most of my time watching the length meter and kept finding excuses to stop it and do something else!

13 years ago

Amazing! That is the power made by our Creator.

13 years ago

this video is like eating ethinic home cooking food the flavorand texture of it needs an open mind , espeically if you grew up eating # 1 or # 7 it does not matter whihc board you pick from it will have in it sweet or salty or combinations of both with a texture of acceptableness common to each resturant and food class .

The science of plants if understood would complicate the USE of them by the sociopathic intersts of the Corp. so no further study was allowed , i betcha that is waht had happened and still is happening .supression of understanding in favor of confuse and conquer slavery

Achems Razor
13 years ago

Amazing doc.

I always knew plants have feelings, like music, are conscious living entities. they actually, have profound consciousness. Plants, no doubt have there own time construct. again, probably has to do with Quantum Physics.

Great experiments that are being done with plants.

Have a lot of plants, literally have 12 foot high tropical plants in my living-room, have high ceilings. They must like my Rock and Roll music (LOL)

You should treat your carrots better, Yavanna. (LOL)


13 years ago

Thank you for posting this documentary. Been a fan since it first came out, and the music too - of course. Last I heard the only way to see it was rent it - the "film" from Paramount or catch it if it rolled through town at some obscure theater.

In much appreciation,

13 years ago

The soundtrack is the best part! Awesome movie!

Liz Vayne
14 years ago

simply out, AMAZING... please do not miss it