The Book of Trees: 800 Years of Visualizing Science, Religion, and Knowledge in Symbolic Diagrams
How the humble tree became our most powerful visual metaphor for organizing information and distilling our understanding of the world.
BY MARIA POPOVA
Why is it that when we behold the oldest living trees in the world, primeval awe runs down our spine? We are entwined with trees in an elemental embrace, both biological and symbolic, depending on them for the very air we breathe as well as for our deepest metaphors, millennia in the making. They permeate our mythology and our understanding of evolution. They enchant our greatest poetsand rivet our greatest scientists. Even our language reflects that relationship — it’s an idea that has taken “root” in nearly every “branch” of knowledge.