reposted with substantial edits: Dec 16, 2011


At the Environmental seminar on Dec 2 I had a chance to bring up a few of my fav points on

Relatedness-Knowledge.That

Humanity.Has.Had.For.The.Longest.Time.And…

Has.Yet.To.Fully.Implement 🙂

For example, check out the books of Teri C. McLuhan, author and film maker, daughter of Prof. Marshall McLuhan. McLuhan. A couple below:

  • T. C. (1996) Cathedrals of the Spirit: The Message of Sacred Places. Toronto, Canada: HarperPerennial, Harper Collins Publishers Ltd.
  • McLuhan, T. C. (1994) The Way of the Earth: Encounters with Nature in Ancient and Contemporary Thought. New York, N.Y.: Simon & Schuster.

The books represent anthologies of photographic material and quotes from authors and, if I may, “wisdom,” which go millennia into the past. They illustrate beautifully the “traditional view” in Craig Perfect’s table.


Cathedrals of the Spirit [CoS] is beautifully dedicated “To my mother Corinne Lewis McLuhan …of untold grace…” In it one finds quotes from [antiquity] Hindu, Taoist, and (Zen) Buddhist masters; [twelfth-thirteenth century] a Persian mystic, a Christian woman theologian and poet, and an Arab Andalusian sage; [seventeenth-nineteenth century] authors like Melville, Emerson, Rilke; [twentieth century] a Chinese artist-poet-statesman-author, a Jewish spiritual writer-teacher, Native story tellers …

The infrared photographs alternating with text are by photographer Eliot Bowen. Teri was attracted to his work because of “its engaging anthropomorphic and zoomorphic character—his ability to recognize and evoke human and animal forms in nature, especially in trees and megaliths.” The two of them travelled to therain forestofHohin the Olympic Mountains of thePacific Northwest, and “captured” additional images to include in the book. (p. 19)

For a taste of the book, the first chapter, titled “Arboreal Cathedrals,” opens up with two quotes, one from Sayings of the Masters [Zen], and another by naturalist and conservationist John Muir (1838 – 1914). (p. 23)

The second one reads:

    When a man plants a tree he plants himself.
    (per CoS, prefactory quote in Charles Fenivesi, Trees,New York:St Martin’s Press, 1992)

And the first one:

    Riverbanks lined with
    Green willows, fragrant
    Grasses:
    A place not sacred?
    Where?
    (per CoS, quoted after Soiki Shigematsu, comp. and trans., A Zen Forest, New York andTokyo: Weatherhill, 1981, p. 120)

Which I am tempted to extend, if I may, with “A soul to love not? Who ever?”

A synonymous quote is included in chapter “Cathedrals Immemorial” in a story about a Hindu woman ascetic, who was reprimanded by a monk for resting with her feet pointed at the temple. Her reply:

    Good sir, please inform me where God is not to be found, and I shall gladly place my feet in that direction.
    (per CoS, related by Clive James in Vendata: An Anthology of Hindu Scriptures, Commentary, and Poetry,New York: Bantam, 1974, p. 236)