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This year Congress was held in Waterloo. The abstract for 1 of my pres’s, on a familiar walk-in-beauty ecosonic topic below. Well received. Had a good talk with Ana Ramos, a co-panelist, after the end of the session. If you’re looking for her, you may find her sur les traces du virtuel... [in the footsteps of/tracking/in pursuit of the virtual]
You may remember previous ES posts on the cultural aspect: here, here, and here. In the last one you can read the quotes from teachings/religions from around the world that I had with me on a pretty poster, and dropped somewhere on my way to the pres. (: So, thanks to ES, I could at least show the quotes to the captive audience.

This paper explores conceptualizations throughout human history which pre-sage today’s notions associated with what has been theorized as “holism,” (Shiva 2010) “systems view of the world” (Laszlo 1996), “ecological thinking” (Code 2006). The “ecological view” adopted as the umbrella term, is treated as involving human relatedness to self, other, all existence. The thesis is advanced that said view has consistently marked didactic, cultural, philosophical and religious thought, exemplifying valuable knowledge (guiding human thinking-being-acting) which has yet to find its proper implementation.

In support of that thesis, the analysis reviews the rich array of epistemologies-spiritualities in the text-and-photography anthologies of T.C. McLuhan (1996, 1994), which open up a panoramic view from antiquity to the present. To those are added the anthropological studies of Bateson and Mead (1936, 1942), Peshkin (1997 & elsewhere), a.o. All of these point to modes of relatedness different than that of the mainstream “developed Western world,” which has only recently started to appreciate the vital importance of ecological relatedness.

The cross-cultural data are attuned to philosopher Vokey’s (2001) “moral discourse in a pluralistic world” thesis and psychologist Haidt’s (1999) “happiness hypothesis,” both of which in effect involve integration into multilayered ecologies. The provisional conclusion is that to actualize said integration, humanity would have to tap into “ecological” imaginaries, combining multicultural traditions and new knowledge. To the extent that the desired shift corresponds with conscious action, it would have to figure prominently on the agenda of multidisciplinary theory in order to help organize local/global practice. The paper concludes with implications for media and education.


* “May you walk in beauty!” is a standard Navajo greeting. It is also conjugated in prayers.



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

Bateson, Gregory (1958 [1936]) Naven: A Survey of the Problems suggested by a Composite Picture of the Culture of a New Guinea Tribe drawn from Three Points of View. Stanford University Press.

Code, Lorraine (2006) Ecological Thinking: The Politics of Epistemic Location. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

Haidt, Jonathan (2006) The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom: Why the Meaningful Life Is Closer Than You Think. Basic Books; First Trade Paper Edition edition.

Laszlo, Ervin (1996) The Systems View of the World: A Holistic Vision for Our Time. Second edition. In the series “Advances in Systems Theory, Complexity, and the Human Sciences.” Hampton Press.

McLuhan, 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.

Peshkin, Alan [Buddy] (1997). Places of Memory: Whiteman’s Schools and Native American Communities.Mahwah, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum.

Vandana, Shiva (2010) Staying Alive: Women, Ecology, and Development. South End Press.

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

WP’s comment, yet again quite appropriate:
I try to leave out the parts that people skip.
Elmore Leonard


January 2021


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