Terry Gross brings out the wacky genius of John Cage and features a sampling of Cage’s composition. Cage emphasizes “making new” and living a virginal life. What’s most interesting about Cage’s philosophy is his insistence to discard and disregard relationships. He firmly believes in letting the thing in itself stand alone, which is summarily antithetical to the “only connect” aesthetic. The particular is the predominate focus and to relate or connect induces paralysis.
More greatness from Harper’s Magazine, “Plato’s World” published Sunday, June 6, 2009.
In Plato’s day, the world itself seemed boundless beyond comprehension, its resources inexhaustible, and the dangers and wonders of nature were a test for human knowledge. With the passage of time, humanity has grown much more conscious of the finite nature of the earth and its resources. And with time, Plato’s conceptualization of the earth as a living creature has also become a more appealing model–it pointed the way to discovery of the ecological systems by which the world breathed, moved, transformed and regenerated itself. Today humanity approaches final mastery of the world–but what does this mean for the world-soul and for humanity’s ultimate survival in its terrestrial setting?
Just the shot in the arm needed for inspiration, Terence McNally on his KPFK show, Free Forum, has introduced the source of holistic, systems thinking and the mastermind behind the philosophy of Ecological Awareness, Fritjof Capra. His work seems to have inspired much admired writers, activists, and social workers such as Leny Mendoza Strobel and her new Center for Babaylan Studies.
Will have to crack open this new universe and explore fully, but for now, here’s a small audio tasting. Capra interviewed by Terrence McNally, April 7, 2009
This widening of our “circle of understanding and compassion” requires a new mode of perception which transcends the illusion of separateness to discern the unity, the “unbroken wholeness” from which emerges the diverse forms of existence. This awakened perception gives rise to a more integrative, holistic, and ecological perception of the cosmos. Capra (1996) asserts that this emerging holistic worldview, which he calls “deep ecological awareness”, “recognizes the fundamental interdependence of all phenomena and the fact that, as individuals and societies, we are all embedded in (and ultimately dependent on) the cyclical processes of nature” (p 6). Although this vision can be elaborated through science, its principal grounding is in spiritual experience. It will require an integrated epistemology that embraces both the rational knowledge of scientific empiricism and the inner knowledge of spiritual experience. “Ultimately, deep ecological awareness is spiritual or religious awareness. When the concept of the human spirit is understood as the mode of consciousness in which the individual feels a sense of belonging, of connectedness, to the cosmos as a whole, it becomes clear that ecological awareness is spiritual in its deepest essence. It is not surprising that the emerging new vision of reality based on deep ecological awareness is consistent with the so-called Perennial Philosophy of spiritual traditions, whether we talk about the spirituality of Christian mystics, that of Buddhists, or the philosophy and cosmology underlying the Native American traditions” (p. 7). This “deep ecological awareness” fosters a vision of the cosmos as fundamentally sacred.
Capra’s universe is fortuitously right next door, to boot!
The Center for Ecoliteracy is dedicated to education for sustainable living.
We provide information, inspiration, and support to the vital movement of K-12 educators, parents, and other members of the school community who are helping young people gain the knowledge, skills, and values essential to sustainable living.
We base our work on these four guiding principles:
- Nature is our teacher
- Sustainability is a community practice
- The real world is the optimal learning environment
- Sustainable living is rooted in a deep knowledge of place