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It’s been almost a year since my post about Dr Eric McLuhan’s passing on.

I’m writing on the occasion of Eric’s son, Andrew McLuhan, screening the recording of the last lecture Eric gave just several hours before he passed on.

This post is also tasked to refer you to the YouTube channel of

where Eric’s lecture will be made available to the public – said Andrew at the screening.

Andrew being the founder of TMI, was one of a number of scholars and non-academic contributors to the area of Media Ecology who received a MEA Award

  • at the MEA2019 Gala Dinner, held at St. Michael’s College

So, i’ll also take the opportunity to refer you to the Conference website:

Well, no, Dr Jagger did not go all the way back to the City of the Sun, but the way I interpreted her PES2014 Kneller Lecture earlier this year, there was a clearly discernible implication to expect more and better from how theory can “reasonably” translate into practice.

Dr Jagger’s Kneller Lecture “Designing Realistic Educational Utopias Using (Mainly) Non-Ideal Reasoning”: 1 page handout .

The intro paragraph there reads:

In Anglo-American political philosophy, the terms “ideal theory” and “non-ideal theory” currently refer to competing methodological approaches for justifying normative conclusions. Each term is used in multiple ways. This talk will disentangle several versions of ideal and non-ideal theory with a view to determining which elements may be helpful in designing models of real-world justice that are contextually relevant, morally adequate, and practically feasible.

Tommaso Campanella (b. 1569, Stilo, Italy – d. 1639, Paris, France), was a Dominican monk, straddling the c. 1600 divide, when some expected a major (you might say metaphysical) world change, not unlike the radical-change expectations at the turn of the 2nd millenium in our time. In addition to a number of treatises, a good number of which produced during 27 years of incarceration, he wrote “A Poetical Dialogue between a Grandmaster of the Knights Hospitallers and a Genoese Sea-Captain, his guest”, known as The City of the Sun.

This (what I’d term) “civic-governance-by-knowledge utopia”, is perhaps Campanella’s most famous work. Some might find it difficult to attach the qualifier “realistic” to  it, but many might be fully able to relate to the “Tell on, I pray you! Tell on! I am dying to hear more” refrain in the recurring paraphrases of the “Grandmaster”.

To give you a taste of Campanella’s epistemological imagination:

On the interior wall of the first circuit all the mathematical figures are conspicuouslypainted — figures more in number than Archimedes or Euclid discovered, markedsymmetrically, and with the explanation of them neatly written and contained each in alittle verse. There are definitions and propositions, etc. On the exterior convex wall is firstan immense drawing of the whole earth, given at one view. Following upon this, there are tablets setting forth for every separate country the customs both public and private…

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy article on Campanella HERE

City of the Sun in English: HERE

Since I’ve been working on economical thesis expression, here’s one more genre, 3MT. Apparently, the practice was launched by the University of Queensland, and this is the second year UT is holding a 3MT competition. Watch 3MTs from around the world.

The single PowerPoint slide allowed:

update March 24

Some References

Atleo, E. Richard [a.k.a. Umeek] (2011) Principles of Tsawalk: An Indigenous Approach to Global Crisis. Vancouver & Toronto: UBC Press.

Bateson, Gregory & Margaret Mead (1942/1962) Balinese Character: A Photographic Analysis. New York, NY: New York Academy of Sciences. Reprint 1962.

Bateson, Gregory (1987) Steps to an Ecology of Mind Collected Essays in Anthropology,Psychiatry, Evolution, and Epistemology Northvale, NJ & London: Jason Aronson Inc. (Originally published by Chandler Pub. Co., San Franciso, 1972.)

An Ecology of Mind  A documentary movie by Nora Bateson containing interviews with Gregory Bateson (2010).

Bingham, Charles & Alexander M. Sidorkin (2004/2010) No Education without Relation. With a foreword by Nel Noddings, pp. vii-viii. New York, NY: Peter Lang.

Blenkinsop, Sean et al. (2012) Maple Ridge Environmental School Project – Interim Report. Ecolearning
 Group, Faculty
 Education, Simon Fraser

Code, Lorraine (2006) Ecological Thinking: The Politics of Epistemic Location. Oxford, UK: OUP.

Dewey, John ([1916] 2009) Democracy and Education. Merchant Books.

Dei, George Sefa J. (2011) Indigenous Philosophies and Critical Education: A Reader. New York, NY & Frankfurt, Germany: Peter Lang Publishing Inc.

Low, Alaine & Soraya Tremayne, eds. (2001) Sacred Custodians of the Earth: Women, Spirituality, and the Environment. Berghahn Books.

Pratt, Scott L. (2002) Native Pragmatism: Rethinking the Roots of American Philosophy. Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press.

Radford Ruether, Rosemary, ed. (1996) Women Healing Earth: Third World Women on Ecology, Feminism, and Religion. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books.

Turok, N (2012) The Universe Within: From Quantum to Cosmos. Toronto: House of Anansi Press.

Vokey, Daniel (2001) Moral Discourse in a Pluralistic World. University of Notre Dame Press.

Update: March 18, 2014

The pivot of my thesis is profound relatedness – to Self, Other, All Existence. Bringing together cultures and paradigms I argue for parallel “un-colonizing”: to decolonize Indigenous belief systems world-wide and to de-dichotomize Euro-American mainstream philosophy releasing invidious hierarchies. In Western thought, founder of educational philosophy Dewey, feminist philosopher of science Haraway, heurmeneuticist Gadamer among many others have argued against opposing human to nature, mind to matter, truth and science to experience, and so forth. Instead of these persistent Western binaries, so-called Third-world or Aboriginal or Indigenous knowledges — as a rule, rely on social-ecological relatedness.

I’d insist that colonization colonizes both colonizer and colonized. Therefore, the loss of relational Indigenous knowledges is Canada’s loss. Conversely, inviting Indigenous knowledges – as Daniel Vokey, a.o. does with Buddhism, Scott Pratt with Native Philosophies, for example – can help emancipate our human species from colonizing and self-colonizing effects. This would re-energize the Love-of-Wisdom image of Philosophy, now, wouldn’t it?

Our globalized world does need a consciousness shift, and the probability is high where millennial relatedness wisdom meets the quantum physics view of cosmic interdependence.

I propose “Eco-sonance” — Ecological attunement Ecosonance is a psycho-physical phenomenon, a philosophy, and practice, i.e. Being Thinking and Doing — all about ubiquitous interrelatedness and how to do our human best within it and for it. How to make the world a home for each other. Using Einstein’s formula E=mc^2 as a metaphor

  • E for Ecosonance, eternal, but changing form, like Energy, within and between cosmic cycles in the spirit of Steinhart&Turok’s cyclic uni hypothesis
  • equals M, the set of members of an ecosystem
  • animated by C, the Constant of Change (per Gregory Bateson), squared for emphasis, you could say

Now, that was the cosmo-philosophy, how about practice? Consider a loaded notion like “Social Justice”.

By ecosonic lights, social justice is peace and happiness. Profound relatedness compels us to strive to relax invidiousdichotomies and hierarchies, not reverse them. In theory or practice. To grow by Deweyan democracy-as-a-way-of-life and, in turn, by education-for-&-as-democracy. So, my bottom line hypothesis: Ecosonance can change the world through Wisdom’s Love.

To prove it:

Imagine – along with The Beatles – that Lovingkindness Is All We Need …

… and practice

YouTube credit: uploaded by JohnLennonMusic Oct 1, 2008

YouTube credit: uploaded by TheBeatlesVEVOHQ Oct 30, 2011

A 2005 oldie, but perhaps worth re-posting:

It turns out the promo image of Nora Bateson’s Bateson documentary is REAL and, moreover, of herself as a toddler and a REAL gibbon, with his arm around her shoulder (suave!!!), when they lived in Hawaii.

Click for Nora’s interview with Prof. Scott Turner:

Nora telling the gibbon story:

I love this WP commentary too:

I love being a writer. What I can’t stand is the paperwork.
Peter De Vries

updated:  Dec 13, 2011

I had the pleasure of attending two invited talks last Friday, one by Douglas Karrow, Associate Professor of science and environmental education at Brock University, and a second one by Craig Perfect, doctoral candidate at McMaster University.

Click on this beautiful orchid image to read Dr Karrow’s philosophically conceptualized story behind it, titled “Reclaiming Mystery: A Disposition to Socio-­Ecological Consciousness”:


Below is  Craig Perfect’s table (some formatting added ) from his talk on the Western view of nature and environmental ethics, referencing Martin Heidegger and a student of his, Hans Jonas, who is known for developing a system of  ethics, the area Heidegger stayed away from. Jonas’s supreme principle of morality in English: “Act so that the effects of your action are compatible with the permanence of genuine human life.” A list of his books.

Click to see a larger image.


Many good, and far-reaching ideas were discussed in the Q&A sessions that followed, which I’ll leave to upcoming theses and publications to cover. 
Just a taste of my concise contribution here…

updated:  Dec 13, 2011

Last night I enjoyed a mini session with Carol Arguillas, MindaNews editor, at the Toronto Reference Library. The YouTube video below shows her accepting her award for investigative journalism in the Philippines for 2010. Winners of that prize are also awarded by the Canadian Embassy in Manilla a two-week speaking tour of Canada, including an honorary blitz visit (+ public talk) to the McLuhan Program, University of Toronto.

YouTube post by on May 19, 2011

The talk was titled “Assertions from the Margins: The Practice and Culture of Community Journalism in the Philippines with a Focus on Mindanao.”

The event was launched and closed by professor Dominique Scheffel Dunand, MPCT director, who highlighted that it is a partnership with the Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE), represented by Frank Switzer, the City of Toronto’s McLuhan100 initiative, a heritage project, and the Embassy of Canada in Manilla, represented by Carlo Figula (spelling tbd).

What stands out in my mind is Carol’s wish for the world to know not only about the Muslim-Catholic tensions, the violence, lawlessness, massacres, but also about the beauty of her country, the rich natural resources, I’d add the courage and endurance of its people (have had the pleasure of hearing talks by investigative journalism awardees from the Philippines since the visit of the 2005 prize-winner’s talk at the MPCT in the fall of 2006).

Symbolically, her PowerPoint presentation started and ended with an image of a gorgeous sunset in Mindanao, where she is based–cf. the YouTube far-cry below:

YouTube post by on Sep 25, 2007

Plunging back into the “reality” mediated by internet wire agencies (which in her words “dictate what IS and what IS NOT news,” including to Mindanao journalists about their homeland), as expected, she covered the extremely unstable politics, stats on ethnic and other violence and mass displacements to go with that, stats about routinely assassinated journalists (including a photographer with whom she was partnering). the turning point was a slide which said

A lot of noble efforts undertaken, but…

tired of complaining

we tried to do something

That something was the Mindanao News and Information Cooperative, 10 years old now–FaceBook page. From what she said, it is free from business sponsorship and the strings attached, runs mostly on enthusiasm and modest financial contributions from personal networks, and its journalists “write what they want to write about.” They have a news site called MindaNews, a less than a year old monthly news magazine Our Mindanao, and have published half a dozen books, starting with Turning Rage into Courage: Mindanao under Martial Law in 2002. Another title I jotted down was Fields of Hope, written by Fr. Roberto C. Layton, subsequently to spending time in a Muslim-populated region, in an effort to bridge the Catholic-Islamic historical abyss.

In conclusion Carol stressed that as part of the MNIC mission statement, journalists are “major stake holders in the quest for peace.” A brief panel followed, where she was joined by Ace Alvarez, managing editor of Manila Media Monitor and producer of Front Page Philippines, and a UofT student, Lydia (spelling tbd).


Arguillas, Carolyn O., ed. Turning Rage Into Courage: Mindanao Under Martial Law. Davao City, Philippines: Mindanao News and Information Cooperative, 2002.

Previous awardees of the Embassy’s McLuhan fellowship, winners of the investigative journalism award for the preceding year:

Ed Lingao in 2010

Diosa Labiste in 2009

For the full-length announcement, complete with poster image: PDF download

*Multi-Culture Is Our Business* events

OISE Library, ground floor, July 25 – July 29 Aug 2, 2011

The *Multi-Culture Is Our Business* events speak to the multi-cultural reality of an increasingly globalized world and mutually permeating academic-disciplinary and other epistemologies. At the same time, the series of events gestures to Culture Is Our Business, a book by University of Toronto Professor of English H. Marshall McLuhan (1911 – 1980), whose 100th birthday on July 21, 2011, is being honored by over two hundred events around the world, including in Toronto, during his birth date week and throughout 2011.

The OISE events for the week of July 25 – July 29, 2011, include two invited presentations, an exhibition of posters on the history of Indian Cinema, and round tables of improvised discussions of those attending on topics such as education, music and art, history, etc., across cultures—genetic or disciplinary. These events are partly sponsored by the Centre for Diversity and Leadership at OISE. Invited opening remarks from: Dr Alex Kuskis, OISE gradu-ate, Gonzaga University faculty; Dr Bob Scott, Ryerson University, Dr John Portelli, Professor, CDL-TPS/UToronto.

I. “Zooming in on Technological Mediation: The Bi-Dichotomous Approach”

Presenter: Yoni Van Den Eede, visiting doctoral resear-cher from the Vrije Universiteit Brussels, Belgium, Department of Philosophy & Moral Sciences. He applies continental philo-sophy to questions of the social impacts of media and techno-logy, and is the author of  “‘Conversation of Mankind’ or ‘Idle Talk’?: A Pragmatist Approach to Social Networking Sites,” (2010) and “In Between Us: On the Transparency and Opacity of Technological Mediation” (2011). Yoni is the organizer of McLuhan’s Philosophy of Media – Centennial Conference, Brussels, October 2011.

UPDATE, post Yoni’s talk: Please note that the “In Between Us” article contains some of Yoni’s presentation for the Multi-Culture series.

Date & Time: Monday, July 25, 11 am – 12:30 pm, including 30 min discussion

II. “On Communication & Multiculturalism”

Presenter: Filomena Maria Avelina Bomfim, professor of Social Communication (Journalism), University of Sao Joao, Brazil. Her current research interests prioritize work on culture, technology and inter-disciplinarity, especially in view of McLuhan’s theories, more specifically, the McLuhan Tetrads as a methodology for research on new media. She has a number of presentations and publications, among which most recently a coedited volume titled (in translation from Portuguese) Regional Sound: The voices of Local People (2010), and a coauthored one in progress.

Date & Time: Tuesday, July 26, 1:00 pm – 2:30 pm, including 30 min discussion

III. Exhibition on the history of Indian Cinema
Dates: Monday July 24 – Friday, July 29

UPDATE: Friday, July 29 & Saturday, July 30 (Applying to extend into Aug)

UPDATE: Well, only until Aug 2, but there will be other showings

IV. Round tables, with improvised discussion of “focal objects” (in Albert Borgmann’s sense)

Dates: July 25 & 26, following the keynote talk

previous ES post on McLuhan: Does the McLuhan itch persist at 99?

A York University event: Douglas Copeland and B. W. Powe in conversation about everything McLuhan, and in particular, his 2009 biography by Copeland (which is quite a read to experience, playing with layout, text, genres…, in Copeland’s suitably customized signature style; but more importantly, unfolding an ecosonically “related” view of the McLuhan bio scene)

What gave this blog its title is a quote from the book Powe highlighted–it really presents (to my knowledge & mind) the most generous and (hopefully) rewarding interpretation of what McLuhan’s message and its medium were/are about.

This is how the YorkU community gives campus directions when you ask!!!
[hand of Steve, hand-drawn map by same; shaky hand taking photo mine–was in a rush, and only made it on time for the beginning because sb got snow-bound]

The book titled (frugally or/but right on, depending on the p.o.v.) Marshall McLuhan, in the appropriately named Series “Extraordinary Canadians”, is to be published by Atlas & Company in March 2011 in the US as “Marshall McLuhan: You Know Nothing of my Work!”

The American title uses part of the lines prof McLuhan-as-himself utters in Woody Allen’s movie Annie Hall. But IMHO he also says something much more mcluhan: “you mean my whole fallacy’s wrong? …”

youtube credit: drkatzjr27 | July 29, 2009

I say “utters” because he comes across somewhat un-McLuhan compared to so many recordings of him: see&hear for yourselves–re hot & cool media; ecological responsibility for effects of technology; prophecies, etc.–from the site built with the participation of one of his daughters, Stephanie McLuhan (credit for the reference: McLuhan Legacy Network).

The pleasure is both the e-publishers’ and the viewers’, I’d expect; one can see-hear what they mean by saying that McLuhan took after his “piece of works” actress-elocutionist mother, Elsie Naomi McLuhan (née Hall).

from the Toronto greenspiration e-list:

[To subscribe to this list: send mail to, no subject,with the following message (and no other text): subscribe]

CAPP Toronto discussion on Canadian democracy in crisis with Green Party leader Elizabeth May.
Mon. Aug. 16, 6:15-8:30 pm.
Koffler House, rm KP108, 569 Spadina

UPDATE: She was wonderful, as always. Talk title “Canadian Democracy in Crisis”–obviously, based on Losing Confidence. One could get 3 of her 7 books on the spot:

  • Losing Confidence: Power, Politics and the Crisis in Canadian Democracy (2009)
  • How to Save the World in Your Spare Time (2006)
  • with Zoë Caron, Global Warming for Dummies (2008)

Attn: Advocates for clean and sustainable transportation
Live presentation and webinar!
Wed. Aug 18, 5 – 7 p.m.
At Ecojustice, 30 St. Patrick St., Suite 900
The province is reviewing the Provincial Policy Statement, which deals with issues such as transportation planning. Find out how the review will work, how you can get involved, and how you might promote cleaner, more efficient transportation. Find out how you can influence road and highway planning in cities and towns across ON.
For more info or to register for the presentation or webinar, contact Nicole at or 416 368 7533 x 32
Presented by Ecojustice, SHIFT, and the Pembina Institute

The Ride For Renewables

On Tuesday, August 24th, Greenpeace Canada is organizing THE RIDE FOR RENEWABLES, a 45km bike trip from the Pickering Nuclear Station to the Darlington Nuclear Station.

THE RIDE RENEWABLES will send the message to Dalton McGuinty’s Liberals that when Pickering Nuclear Station shuts down, Ontarians demand a green energy replacement, not more reactors at the Darlington Station. No more dirty, dangerous, and expensive nukes; Ontario .

Find out more and register for the bus ride out to Pickering:!/event.php?eid=124793684233089

Or contact:

So you want to change the world?
At CSI, we’re in the business of supporting people who are working to change the world. Our members are helping to create the future and the world we all want, solving the problems of today with the solutions of tomorrow.

Most of the time people find us, but now we’re turning the tables around and hosting a search to find the Agents of Change of tomorrow!

To enter, simply enter your name and answer a couple of questions. You can either enter yourself or nominate your favourite social innovator.

Youth: Social innovators aged 19-29
Toronto: People working on innovative solutions to improve our city
Sector Blender: People working on solutions that cross sectors (e.g. education and health)

Find out more here:


January 2021


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