Soul and Matter (dr. casey ecopsych II)

Ed Casey / Ecopsychology II

How can soul be seen as standing in significant relationship to the surrounding nature? The materialist’s reductive temptation is to think that the natural world will reveal itself as nothing but units of matter, and the most current form of this is neuroscience, where everything cognitive has a neurological substrate.

Not to downplay the latest discoveries, but this is already what the earliest peoples knew, especially in the Mediterranean, around the 6-7th centuries B.C. by Democritus  and Leucippus who said that maybe there was nothing but atoms and a void, and later Plato, Socrates, Aristotle, Plotinus who were well aware that this was a brilliant and impressive science. There is something powerful in the ability to quantify and thereby predict future states from the knowledge of current material states. And so this was a nagging question for the “physiocrats,” the earliest pre-socratic thinkers who pondered the nature of the physical, as well as for us today as to whether the nature of physics is only about hard core, non-living matter. We know that life is growth and change and movement and maybe this word “nature” already had something to do with it.

Socrates and Plato, and then Aristotle, were asking questions in light of a sense among the early Mediterranean peoples that there was something called soul. Heraclitus  says, “You could not discover the limits of soul even if you travel the every road to do so, such is the depth of its meaning” (Fragment 42). In the same group of fragments I also quote these statements: “Souls are vaporized from what is moist” “Soul has its own principle of growth” “Soul takes pleasure in becoming moist” but, as Heraclitus says, “A dry soul is wiser and best” and we will leave those fragments dangling for our illumination.

Soul is a) pervasive, b) unbounded, and c) has something to do with water ultimately, both in origin and in terms of a dangerous attraction to too much water (the etymology of the word goes back to Sanskrit but we will not go into that here). We need both ends of the spectrum when it comes to soul work. So that was the brilliant opening move in Western thought about soul which speaks of matter only in terms of a specific element and then incorporates that element into the thoughts of nature. Water is, as it were, was brought into the idea of the generation of soul itself. Water is not interesting by itself as a piece of matter, but really is interesting in how it is gives life to the soul from within.

This is a very different approach from Democritus and Leucippus. This was an ancient debate between the early atomists and the figures we will now discuss, all the way through to a very dry voice, a non-moist voice and that is Descartes.

Timaeus is an immensely complex dialogue. It was the single most influential dialogue of Plato right down to the Renaissance. Plato thought that we could figure the world out not just materially but by means of reason, ideas, and forms. There is a Work of Reason and there is a Work of Necessity and then there is a combination of the two.

The Work of Reason goes like this: If you really think about the way the Universe has to be, we can think of four formal types. First, there can only be one universe that can be rationally understood. There might be other universes but they could not be rational universes because if there is one rational Universe it is created according to Principle, which means that they have to cohere with each other and therefore the application of those principles have to be worlds or parts of worlds that have to articulate so closely as to be one world. This he calls a single, visible, living creature that is alive in a weird sense as it is only mentally alive. At this level we have the world regarded formally as one world operating according to rational principles. The other three quickly follow upon that: they are existence, sameness, and difference. And so the world regarded rationally is just a construct of these deep principles mixed together empirically.

This leads to a model where these form three circles of perfection (and there are really only 3 of them that circle around the world) and the most remarkable thing is that the (?) sphere, and any cognitive model based upon it on the same principles, will compose a void.  Really nothing in the middle…so Plato proposes that at the center of such a rational world is “World Soul.”  The World Soul is at the center of a set of spheres that diffuses outwards from that center into everything else. So the term World Soul, which has become famous again thanks to James Hillman, and is the Anima Mundae emblem which is a part of Pacifica’s logo, comes from this.  Having said this, Plato suddenly reels back and says, wait a minute this is still not good enough because there is no body in this world. He had soul with no body there. And so, in the first part of the Timaeus he very quickly invokes the four elements. Within this formality we have four elements in an uneasy mixture of water, air, earth, fire.  (The philosopher Aristotle added aether as the quintessence, reasoning that whereas fire, earth, air, and water were earthly and corruptible, since no changes had been perceived in the heavenly regions, the stars cannot be made out of any of the four elements but must be made of a different, unchangeable, heavenly substance.) This was in recognition of the need for an elemental physicality. But I think we are progressing to ever greater concreteness, such that Plato pauses and says this is still not good enough. It does not give us the world in its particularity as we know it, “suchness” “eachness” and “thisness”. Because it doesn’t, Plato himself draws a line and says we have to shift gears altogether to a second approach called Necessity, which is to recognize that all we have just discussed under the heading of these three factors (as the work of reason) is grounded in something else he calls a Receptacle, the Mother of all becoming, a fabulous and poetic word which means the always seasoned matrix which, being without qualities or properties of its own, can take on the qualities and properties of anything else. That is why he calls it a neutral plastic mass in another place. Not having any qualities of its own, it cannot enter into competition with other things and is maximally receptive. That’s why he calls it a Receptacle with a capital “R”. Receptacle is a very rich and interesting term. It is heterogenous, not homogenous. It is shaped roundly. It is filled up with inconsistencies and problems. It doesn’t pretend to explain other things even as the work of Reason starts with enlightenment. This is the other side of the Work of Reason and the Work of Necessity using a term that is really crucial: Khora

Khora is a term that has been revived again and again, for example, by Derrida orJulia Kristeva in her contemporary work on language and feminism. It is the first notion of Fate in the West. It is not evenly distributed. It is going on forever but it is not positively infinite either, and you can never discover the limits of Khora even if you travel every road to take it. This is now a real match for soul for the first time. This is a living paradox. Plato, the great Rationalist, presents the first sophisticated notion of matter in the West. Tomorrow we will see how Khora embodies the first principles of Place, but for now let’s just say that Khora is the great space-making Matrix of all that is, becomes, and that could be.

To sum up: Space and the Universe. Becoming and Being. Fate is a Receptacle with its Khoric matrix. Becoming are the entities that occupy the Receptacle. These are made in the image of the form that populated the rational world that furnish the paradigms for the particulars that get located and changed and move about in the Receptacle. So Becoming…perishing particulars, we are all factors of Becoming, we all perish, and we are all particulars. And we are all made in the image, according to Plato, of Forms which are the main ways in which the third great factor of Being occurs. So Being is really here synonymous with the world of Form, that which is ever the same, but the Khoric as particular as it may be in the world of becoming nevertheless is not affected. In that sense, the Earth could cease to be altogether and the world of Being will continue. And perhaps that will indeed happen, and Plato would be unphased and say that Yes this is the fate of any particular including Earth (as a paradigm particular). “The living god (even the oldest of the gods) can cease to be”. For finite mortals there is a real possibility of perishing. The Earth is a very peculiar place, unlike the stars, which will not perish because they live in a world of Being. Anything beneath the moon or sub-lunar life, which is earth life, is going to have to be here in this realm for the Receptacle which is populated only by that which Becomes. And so it, itself, Becomes. The Earth. More on Earth later, suffice it to say that an intermediary, odd entity or event are the covers between the Work of Reason and the Work of Necessity, given this paradigm.

Now the last moment of this is deeper still. The demiurge , not a god or a bully but a shaper, is the best way to think about it which brings the work of Reason and the work of Necessity together by bringing geometric forms which belong to the world of Being into touch with the materiality of the Receptacle by giving to each thing in that Receptacle, considered as an element, a constant shape or form which is that of solid geometry. It is the moment of creation, we would call it. It is not a great god that brings us into being. It is simply a demiurge that brings together geometric forms with matter to create three dimensional shaped things. These occur in four forms, that is, the four elements. Now we are getting more structured. With a special eye towards Water (something about twelve sidedness and dynamic flow) or viscosity and dynamic flow which is not like squares or pyramids that stop the flow. This is one of the great creation theories of the West. What is special about it is that it all coheres. So what might seem to be separate at the start, i.e., Reason versus Matter, if you just stand back actually ends up as a subtle mix of the rational and the material through solid geometry. And so the apparent dualism (or separatism) with which Plato was often charged, and which too quick of a reading of his writing might suggest, is actually deconstructed by Plato himself to provide a very subtle mix of World Soul and Matter now in the form of Kore, the heart of the Receptacle. Plato successfully held at bay the temptation to keep apart these two great forces of the universe by showing us that their destiny is to rejoin or conjoin in the moment of creation itself.

Now in the interest of time, I would like to go back to Aristotle.   Aristotle follows the lead of his teacher, Plato, only then to say that a very similar subtle interfusion of what would seem to be different factors ocurs but now only at the level of discrete, individual, physical bodies. No longer a theory of creation or a cosmogyny only particular forms for particular matter. Aristotle’s focus is simply to say that there is no form except a given body (mine, yours, animals, plants) and what we call soul is the principle of life for each of those bodies. The soul is only that which is inherent in those bodies, giving them their uniqueness, their growth, their life, their actuality, their inner Gaia (ha, he said energia which is that energy which actualizes potential and that is just matter). Aristotle’s project is to show that by connecting one with the other we have living bodies, creatures of a given species, and there are as many kinds of souls as there are kinds of bodies. But now, let me say some things about Descartes.

It really goes back to Aristotle’s claim that soul is a form of substance. Hearing it that way it may seem arcane. The word for Substance used by the Greeks is ? and has a secondary name as land or real estate. I mention it here because there is a factor of Place built into soul or substance. There is something about soul that wants to be in Place. It is already in place mythically but etymologically…The term substance survives, we are bound up in it, we will keep hearing it in this course through Bachelard, and it’s a word that, as much as we might like to, we can’t do without it. It is substantial, ya know, something that has substance. What does that mean?

According to the Greeks there are two kinds of Substance  and those are Nature and the material world. Descartes, reflecting on this a millenium and a half later, finally gives a different definition of substance. He gives a very important and crucial twist. Substance, he says, is that which needs little else in order to exist. “By the term substance we understand only a thing that exists in such a way that it needs nothing else in order to exist”. These are prophetic words. Then in the French edition of Principles of Human Knowledge published in 1644, Descartes asks this marvelous question with honesty. “There can be some obscurity in explaining this phrase ‘it needs nothing else’. This is the source of what we call individualism or separatism, you name it, it is rooted in this notion portending things can exist fully and they don’t need the existence or help of others to exist. He adds, “absolutely nothing” not just ‘plain nothing’. There is only God that so much doesn’t need anything else, and that strictly speaking, there is finally only one substance and that is God. That’s what Spinoza realized when reading Descartes. It is already here in Descartes, but not wanting to be hanged or burned by the church at this moment anyway, did not want to draw this conclusion. It took an heretical Jew in Amsterdam several decades later to draw that conclusion.

There can only be one Substance and that is God. As Spinoza says, “call it God or call it Nature”. We are not going to mention it here except to say that it is all here in this proto-principle that substance does not need anything else to exist. To this we only need to add one further claim on Descartes plate besides 1) the Principle of Self Sufficiency just to give it a name; 2) Such substances (for human beings) only come in two forms: Extension (3 dimensions or space, could not catch the word) and modes of thinking minds, or soul…making the transition from the ancient status that we have been examining and a new term which slips into the discourse, which is Mind. The word “soul” has interestingly enough begun to vanish altogether from the discourse to be replaced by something that will lend itself to analytical reduction, reducing it to the association of ideas, which became the doctrine of psychology that we know as the origin of behaviourism and cognitivism that we have today. It’s all here in these beginnings. You can have clear and distinct ideas about matter and mind…and nothing else. So that’s where Descartes goes in the next few pages, doesn’t he? We can have clear ideas about matter and mind. We just have to, as it were, get in the right position and intuit what these are.

To repeat, every substance has one principle attribute and there are only two substances we can know, other than God. One of them we call matter, whose principle attribute is extension and length, width and depth (3-D or spatial dimension). That, he says, constitutes the nature of physical substance. We still believe it, by the way. These ideas are so deep and pervasive that if we took a survey among us today and if we were really being honest with ourselves, we would say that is what space is all about: extension, 3 dimensional, measurable, we can have a clear idea of it and it is so deeply embedded in the modern psyche that it is WAY DOWN but here is the first formulation of it, right here in these words. And secondly, we have thought. Thought constitutes the nature of thinking and this thought occurs in many forms: imagination, sensation, volition, anything that mind can do and we can have a clear and distinct idea of its operation so what distinct shapes and figures and laws are for the material world, the laws that govern thought in these different modalities have their own laws comparable to the physical laws that govern matter. We really see here the origins of modern physics and also modern psychology, which starts with the thought that the mind not only can be quantified and homogenized but it is already in this form, so it is up to us a scientists to give it more explicit, verbal or symbolic expression in mathematics. So the Cartesian moment is thus stated and it really only has these two principles from which a whole world has issued forth. It is called the modern world. The task of our course is to see the flaw in these two principles and to try and discover other principles that will take their place, or to deconstruct these. So this is where we are going.

I want to read a passage that is seemingly innocuous and yet very powerful in its implications (p. 163) and it’s this: We must then seek out in each case what the soul of each thing is. What, for instance, is the soul of a plant, and what of a man, or a beast, and so on.  This is a little toss away line and you might be inclined to ignore it. This is the philosophical sanction of what we now call pan-psychism or poly-psychism as a doctrine and it is extremely important for environmental thought and ecopsychology in particular as it does not give to human beings the exclusive right or possession of soul, but it says there is soul in other species, other living things, every living thing and according to its kind a different kind of soul. It’s not just individuated soul that just means your experience is different. Aristotle argues in his basic biology that there is a whole set of beings whose soul consists in being nutritive, non-locomotive, non-perceptive, non-thinking…these are called plants. They are reproductive and nutritive and these are completely valid souls. They in no way can be subordinated to other souls, but they have about them their own sufficiency and reason for being. They are to be respected as such and we need to see there is something not merely alive, because that word in late modern biology just means a collection of cells that just happen to be efficient for the production of life, but rather some principle of form, of organization, of actualization and I am now using the terms that Aristotle uses that are crucial for having soul of any kind.

This is a big step beyond Plato. They are companions and yet you have two people who are each creative but they depart from each other radically…each is each other’s best critic because they knew each other’s thoughts from up close and they were literally debating out loud together. We are talking about a rare moment in history. There are only a few other cases like it, if you think about it, at that level of creativity. So Aristotle’s view here is 1) soul is the form of the body. It looks like an innocuous formulation and we have heard of it before and yet have we really reflected on this? All this says is that the formful or form giving is meant for a given kind of natural body, but otherwise their careers can be relatively independent its just that they need to conjoin at the moment we call life. In the larger sense, it is on going developmental movement. Here I just want to focus on this simple sentence, and ponder it. It doesn’t just mean the soul gives shape to body. We are already beyond where we were two hours ago because the demiurge does give shape to kore. That’s the rule of the creator god for Plato is that geometric forms are inscribed in matter by the demiurge. This is something different and cannot be reduced to geometry, mathematics or any exact science. The sense of form is really deeply different.

The real sense of form that matters is that it gives actualization or what Aristotle technically calls first actualization to a body which has mattered, and is nothing but potentiality. To be matter of any kind is to be purely potentially something (but only potentially). Matter cannot exist on its own in the universe, except when life leaves the body, the corpse does become sheer matter at that moment. At that moment it is disallowing the regression of soul back into matter (leaving aside reincarnation). An embryo is opened to ingression…it means moving into in a very active way. Soul ingresses into the body as the potentiality for a fully developed life. What it does to that matter is to bring it to a stage of actualization or realization, heightened existence, impacted energy (all alternative phrases for energia, chi, prana). By the time we get to Freud, energy is quantified and specified that parallels the mechanics of motion. We have an energetics and matter and psyche would be caught between these two developments.

The soul is what brings a body into the state of sheer actualization. We can all get an intuitive sense of being fully alive, including mentally alive, at a certain moment. We feel interpersonally alive. And in that moment, you are in a moment of soul which is at that moment the principle of actualization of that activity no matter how diverse it may be for each of us. Whenever it occurs we know from within that our life is being given form by a powerful principle that cannot be entirely explained by the material mechanics of that body. Everything else has to work, like we need dinner tonite, or we are not going to have a good discussion at all and we are not going to get to any actualization at all. He calls this material cause, i.e., to be nourished. But nourishment itself, unless you are a gourmand, will never bring you to the state of actualization he calls soul. There is more to say about this. We can talk about soul food, we can talk about a lot of interesting things that we know and yet may have never thought through. What it means for soul to be the form of the body as a first principle.

First actualization just means that as opposed to slowly enacted actualizations over time, it springs into being, we come alive in a moment versus second actualization which is spread out over a long period of time. I am referring to classical formulations when reading “Soul is the first actuality of the natural body which potentially has life”. I am just calling that definition number one as it comes out of Aristotle.

The second sense has to do with a theory that had a deep influence on Jung and alchemy. It is called the quadrite causal theory of development of any kind. There are four great causes first proposed by Aristotle: formal, material, efficient, and final. So any existing thing will have four relevant causes that contribute to its coming into being, including a thought or an event. IN the course of history in the West of these four causes, two became privileged: final and efficient. And one in particular became prized: efficient, such as something efficiently moves you into a state or circumstance (push/pull causality) and Jung was very concerned about the obsession in the modern era of the mechanics of efficient causality: x causing y because it has sufficient power or force to bring that other into being. Jung said there is a lot more going on in the causal world than this, so in bracketing or criticizing this he made a move towards a super causal notion called synchronicity, which is an effort to leap over the ancient debate which had become misconstrued after the 17th C. An ingenius effort to rise above the debate and propose that things have an intimate relationship with each other across time and space without regard to the particularities of the existence of each of those things.  Syncronicity proposes a universal principle of causation or acausation, it does not matter how you want to phrase it. Aristotle started the debate, that’s where we are at the moment, is claiming that short of synchronicity, we can look at things (this is not arcane) and say the formal cause of something is the definition of something. Human beings are thinking animals, let’s say we accept that. Insofar as we accept it, we are giving the formal analysis of what it means to be human. That’s Descartes position: wishing to privilege the human beings at the expense of animal beings and he made the formal cause of beings pure thought and then denied that to other species. That is an example of the abuse of the formal cause to put into the privileged spot a certain species that happens to be good at a particular activity called thinking. That is open to debate and we should be aware of that. A final cause means simply the telos or purpose, the cause for which I do something, on behalf of something. I do this action because I wish to accomplish x or y. Material cause is just the role that natural bodies or matter plays in our lives because it makes its own contribution as a causal force as mass, bulk, density. That is going to make a real difference in the constitution of any living body.

So Aristotle’s interesting point is that soul is not only the form but also the efficient and the final cause of the body. The soul is not mystical, numinous, or a general fog but is a very forceful, oriented, directed form giving part of our lives. That’s why we have a statement like: The soul then is the cause and principle of the living body. So is the soul the cause of the body in the three ways we have discussed: formal, final, and efficient. The soul is the cause and principle of the living body and as such so is the soul the cause of the body in the 3 ways we have distinguished. The body itself is the material cause of life as the seat of matter, so the other 3 causes have to be the top 3. For it is the cause of that from which the movement arises: the efficient. The cause is that from which the movement itself arises and for whose sake it is (the telos). The soul moves our body for a certain purpose that will always differ according to the kind of soul that we have. Roughly speaking, those souls whose main activity is nutrition will of course have as their final cause being well nourished, growth, etc. It is preoccupied with getting the right nutrition. For humans, there are multiple causes…thinking, to be social and political creatures who are able to take account of the complexity of their interpersonal circumstances. Human beings are political animals. It is the statement of a final cause: human beings must find a way to live together amicably. Being poetic is being a final cause of being a human soul. And, thirdly, as the formal substance of the soul body is to say, it gives a personal identity or definite form to our bodies: the formal cause. The soul is not only the form of the body it acts as the efficient and final cause. The second principle is really like the first, and it is my own nomenclature.

#3 the soul is the principle of life of the body for which it is the soul. It is responsible for life in that body for matter will never in and by itself bring life to be. You see another form here of the ancient debate: can everything be explained by materialist principles or do we need at least one other source of explanation? This the ancient world called the soul, which was linked directly to life, to growth because the ancient word for it is Suke, to breathe, in its origin. This is not just some arbitrary ideological position, it is a very well considered issue still being debated. Where is the source of that which we call human life? Is it genomic and can it really be coded down to the finest material level or do we have to evoke something else which seems not to know such a code. There is no code for the soul, according to Hillman.

The Greeks had a basic premise that soul is the only thing we know that is capable of being self-moving. Not just moving because material things are capable of motion, but what about some level of our existence that actually as it were self motivated, moves itself, changes itself. This is really what this last principle is all about. If you really want to get a sense of soul in Aristotle’s meaning you have to get beyond birth and death. He is far more complex and ambiguous.  To be found in the middle of life at any moment will be experience…the moment when we on our own internally decide any issue what so ever, like I think since I am famished I will just get up and walk over to the dining hall even before class ends. In some sense, we can actually decide at that moment to move ourselves in a slightly different direction. And that slight difference that is occurring in each and every moment, we are always choosing to move in a certain direction rather than another that is really the moment of soul. We would call this freedom (Source). There is no Greek work for freedom it is only a modern debate. But we are talking about something equivalent to freedom. It doesn’t mean that we are completely free, no we have obstacles that we cannot overcome or must take into account, but that still leaves “elbow room” for freedom.

After Aristotle was there any recognition of the soul moving out of the particular and into the Anima Mundi, asks Tom. Yes, after Aristotle had attempted to individuate and specify soul by locating it into discrete species and bodily individuals (a lateral move to put soul around us, not under us nor over us but around us) in effect he was creating a quasi-democracy of soul. In principle, soul is all around us and all souls are necessary. The Platonic paradigm is a vertical paradigm of hierarchy. We have souls that range from cosmic world soul to sub-lunar souls, and also demonic souls under earth. Aristotle’s quasi-democracy of souls was radical and disruptive to state and church powers which wanted to reinstate hierarchies, so it didn’t last long. A late Platonist, Plotinus, brought back the idea of world soul from the Timaeus in 2 BC and it was actually even more important than it was for Plato. World Soul came back as primary, top down and hierarchical and the tradition of the neoplatonists carried World Soul through to the Rennaissance where it was poetized and greatly praised by Ficino,the great classicist, humanist, and Rennaissance figure after which, lo and behold, the World Soul flourished and became a great source of inspiration to painters, etc. We can now see Descarte coming in to trash and trump the World Soul as poetic fiction and fantasy. He would say that pure mind is just my mind and your mind, there is no world mind. So World Soul went underground again until it resurfaced in Jung and Hillman, who takes his inspiration from Ficino as his major source of inspiration, and Hillman gave World Soul an environmental twist in Anima Mundi. He would say that we don’t need the Aristotelean arrangement to go to the environment as these are one and the same. There is no difference. So, we get a late flourishing of World Soul brought into connection with environmental sensibilities in Hillman’s work. He admits it all goes back to Plato and Plotinus. The original expression remains indispensable. It is better to read the original formulation, however dense.

I believe in reading the original phenomenologists and hermeneutical sources. Secondary and other sources you can read on the bus or when you go to bed. We read the original sources when it comes to poetry! In physics, mathematics, and philosophy for some reason we think we can get along with someone else filling in. My idea is that you need to read quantum theory, and if you can’t you need to recognize your limitations. I am not a classicist but I do believe it is important to see just how it is said by the person who first said it. You can’t separate the idea from the original verbal formulation. The role of the teacher is to move from the text towards intelligibility for the student as a middle voice to those reading the text. There is the original voice, the transmitting voice, and then the student’s voice. In modern education we often omit the first voice.

We spoke about Mayanmar, the Tibetans, and the hurting of the body of the land of the Tibetans as well as their minds. I often believed that Place trauma is an understudied subject. We know mourning and we find it difficult to leave a place thinking we will never come back, and given that, there must be the real possibility of place trauma and mourning. It is a very complex thing which cannot be reduced to position, location, or spot in the land or site. None of these terms capture it well enough. Our task is to come away at the end of the day with what it means to be in Place, and that includes not having a Place. Colonialism can be re-read as an abuse of Place as well as the People in that Place. But I am getting ahead of myself.

Let’s get back to a footnote which occurred to me. We never did quite settle the place of Spirit in Jung. I just want to quote a couple of things in Jung. He did say that psyche has a quality of matter, so we did see a deep relationship between soul and matter that Jung brought into his work. And we saw how the collective unconscious is directly identified with nature, but what we didn’t get was his statement about nature and spirit (p. 80 and 81).  “Nature is not matter only, she is also Spirit.” “There is nothing without Spirit, for Spirit seems to be the inside of things. Our analysis is concerned with the outside of the things, the tangible forms of everything that is noted …but inside is the Spirit which is the soul of objects.” Now that is really dense. Spirit is the soul of objects. “As a rule I am all for working in two worlds at once, since we are gifted with two legs, remembering that spirit is pneuma or living air (breath) a wind that can alternately lift you up and carry you away on uncertain waves (1958). It is better as a rule to keep one foot on terra firma.” This last sentence is a clue. There is something about spirit that is in principle detachable, as in out of the body experiences and if anything goes out it would be spirit and not soul. Up and Out. He is giving us a clue about a second kind of nonmateriality so we have matter and then we have two forms of the nonmaterial, the first is soul which has a deep affinity with the body; a consistent position with the ancient world, it is imminent to body, belongs to it, is one with it. Spirit, however, is transcendent. It tends to fly out and this is a very special and interesting development due to a period of modernity due to Hegel. Hegel  had a whole philosophy on spirit, terming it “geist” which means high spirited consciousness. Being very carried away belongs to spirit or geist. Hegel is a great philosopher of spirit and Hegel is the philosopher who had the most influence on Jung when he was growing up and later. So, when Jung invokes spirit as well as soul he wants to make room in depth psychology for another factor other than soul. And then he is calling that spirit and it is not trivial. This is a major move that Jung is making although he really underlines it as such even though it is my own reading and interpretation here. When Jung when to transcendent function he was thinking spirit, and that is why this distinction is far from trivial as it was undergirding his ability to posit something like the transcendent function and it is interesting that he did not fill out ….of two modes of the nonmaterial. It was taken for granted and it was probably the deep influence of Hegel, it was in the air, it was all over and Hegel was really talking about how spirit moves towards super-synthesis, getting the whole of history together, getting the whole life together and this is a form of transcendence. He termed the expression World Spirit which is not to be confused with World Soul, because World Spirit is really the triumphant history of human consciousness across time and space. In World Spirit I have the ambition or pretension that I can understand it ALL, and when I get it all together, my consciousness, says Hegel, becomes absolute. Absolute consciousness is identical with World Spirit. Now this is really high flying thought and very characteristic of the 19th C.  The whole spirit of the 19th C was to enter vast systems of knowledge, to figure it all out. There are all examples in various fields of knowledge of World Spirit advancing onwards in the name of science. And what this is, this legacy, this level of distinction is a response to the inadequacy of mere mind that we looked at last evening. Mere mind can’t really do it, it is not up to soul work, it is nowhere near spirit. It is just my mind and your mind and is its own place. Again, Milton had it right that notion of mere mind missed the farther reaches of soul and spirit. So you can see the whole development in Jung, and depth psychology in general, as a creative response to the primacy of mind, also called Mentalism in the modern period.

Spirit transcends the individual, quite exactly right, which is why Hegel said it ends up in World history, it is not my personal history any longer. Colonialism was at least bringing to Western awareness the other parts of the world, so the idea of world history was suddenly attractive. Hegel was the philosopher who was thinking it through to its philosophical origins. This is where we need the individual which is linked to mind and we wander into the collective which is really a matter of spirit regarded this way. Steve said…once spirit comes into matter it is called soul…this makes perfect sense and is where Jung is going and it is interesting to see there are Islamic parallels here. Susan talks about marriage of bodies creating soul, and Ed says that by and large Spirit was considered masculine, and soul was by and large, considered feminine…anima and animus made a marriage, which is a more archetypal way of expressing it. And Hillman gives it yet another twist in a great essay called Peaks and Vales, in Loose Ends, edited by Jacob Needleman called the Primary Ways of Knowing…he talks about psychological highs and lows and the importance of not becoming obsessed with peak experiences, ala Maslow, ecstasies and highs are very dangerous because it neglects the Vale which has to do with soul. The peaks are spiritual peaks and the vales are really the vale of soul making. It is very Jungian and both are co-essential, each is unavoidable and we have to have each even if the cost of going into the vale is depression, which is one of Hillman’s major themes. I just want to show the spirit/soul distinction emerges from Jung and then flourishes in Hillman. Be aware of peaks and vales in our psychological experience, this is deep axis psychological experience.

We are going to move to Place. First, I am going to give a brief sketch of early ideas of Place. A look at ancient Greek ideas and then we will move right into Place and Wilderness, etc.

The idea of the Receptacle is very, very rich indeed. It actually provides Place for all things. It is a Place Provider. I want to read one line from the Timaeus we didn’t get to yesterday. It is about providing a locale or a seat for everything that is. Here Plato puts his finger on a principle that will resonate all the way through Snyder and Basso’s work. “And Space is eternal and indestructible and it provides a position (seat) for everything that comes to be. And is apprehended without the senses by a sort of spurious reasoning and so is hard to believe in. We look at it as if in a kind of dream and say that everything that exists must be somewhere and occupy some space and what is nowhere in heaven and earth is nothing at all.”  This is a really deep thought. It is a little bit of plagiarism by Plato from Archytas who lived on an obscure island and he came to Athens, shook hands with Plato, had a little talk for about a half hour and the only fragment we have from Archytas is “to be is to be in place, and not to be in place is not to be”. It is a creative act of plagiarism we might say. They did this as a practice. I call this the Archytian axiom which is fragmentary philosophy and poetry, as in the truth is better expressed in fragments. These early figures got a hold of a lot of basic truth, Heraclitus most notably, and later science and philosophy had to spell it out in sentences and we are still in that mode of full sentences. But it is good to understand that some of the most profound thoughts began in fragments which are poignant and pungent in this fragmentary form. Only in the German Romantics was there a return to the theme of the fragment and was valorized in the West as a place where creative thought needs to take off from, otherwise the rest of us most of the time are stuck in sentences, this is our fate, and there is much to reflect on here. A whole life of thought is summed up in one fragment, that’s your legacy, and yet it resonates through many centuries, differing civilizations, and this is incredible. It is really thought condensation happening here. Like an epigram or epithet.

How was this transformed? Meditating on it: to be is to be in place, not to be in place is not to be. This is an arresting idea that to exist it is not enough to have this body or a mind, but both must be located somewhere. They cannot be floating in empty space in vacuous regions, but they need to be anchored. This indicates Place is far from being what we often reduce it to in late modernity in map consciousness, and in which virtual mapping has increased thereby reducing it to the absolute determinate location on an implicit grid where the latitudes or longitudes or their equivalent put me. But that kind of a place is detachable from a body and a mind, because some other body wants to push me aside to step into that spot. That place does not have any internal or intrinsic relationship to my soul, and that is cartographic consciousness. Cartographic consciousness reduces Place to Site or spot in space. Indifferent, neutral, it does not really matter, it could be an elephant or it could be me in this spot. Yes, it is an objectification. This, unfortunately, has become powerful in collective consciousness. We do tend to think positionally but this really has nothing to do with my existing or being. So, Place permeates from below and around my body and soul in that Place. Part of what we want to do is begin to re-imagine Place as something powerfully penetrating anything that belongs to it as opposed to keeping those bodies integral and intact and impermeable by their Places because otherwise displacement becomes very tempting. Just push people all over the map, dis-locate them as we did the Native Americans, it does not matter where they exist. That tragedy is an object lesson to what happens when you displace people with the assumption that it’s good enough…they will survive. How did that thinking come to be?

“Spatial thinking, in other words, losing root in p-l-a-c-i-a-l thinking” I hope it gets in the dictionary someday. Tom asks, “How does the concept of the aborigines of the axis mundi relate to this, such that wherever they go they are at the Center, they are in Place. They have a spiritual belief system that the center of the universe runs right through them no matter where they are and there is a sense of place no matter where they are?” I think it is an elegant compromise. It is a curious construct that rises above locality as such to dignify it with this transcendent axis. I guess it must signify that people want to live at the center of their universe and to mark that center they have to imagine, or cause it, or believe in something like an axis mundi as if it were metaphysically imagined. I don’t see it as an available solution today because it is so compounded, so synthesized of a vertical factor and my philosophical work is attempting to deconstruct the power of verticality like hierarchies or verticles of any sort so I have to take it with a grain of salt. Yes, it was valid and I see its role but I don’t see it as an ancient way that would be useful to us. It is a first step towards Place from Space because of its immensity. How could any such transformation occur?

A briefly told tale: There was, to begin with, a disassociation between body and place and the first way that occurred is in Aristotle in readings that were mistakenly not included in your packet. I will summarize it. In the Physics Aristotle says that to be in place is to be in body that is surrounded by a tight container, an enclosure, a surrounder he calls it, and the Place is this enclosure and the body is in that enclosure. The only requirement of being such a place is that it be unmoving and stable so that you can be said to be located in that place as your body in your body. This step seems innocent enough. We are in this classroom enclosed by these walls and we need these limits, but Aristotle pointed out that the Place proper is the inner surface of what is surround you on all sides and strictly containing you, which is the air which is surrounding you like a tightly fitting envelope. It is like being inserted in the envelope of air. He uses a lot of water imagery and he says to be located in the river is not to be in the currents they are too unstable as they are always flowing on. You are in the boat but the boat is surrounded by moving water so you have to go to the banks or the bed. That is the river place. You have to push out towards the innermost limit until you reach the moment of stability and then that is what you can count as your Place. Now this idea of Place as a tightly fitting container had tremendous power in Western thought and dominated the dark ages and was important in the early middle ages. People worried about, does God have a Place, what surrounds God after all, or, does the universe have a place? True, every part of the universe has a place but what happens when you get to the edge of the universe and there is no further surface that you can find. That is the image of a javelin thrower at the edge of the universe and about to throw it towards the cosmos and into what? There is no place out there. The universe reached its last limits when you are on the edge, the universe is placeless even though everything in it is completely placed and contained.  That is a paradoxical limit that makes people very uneasy and they then thought, God is unlimited, immeasurable, ubiquitous, unending, etc. and several centuries of theological thought was devoted to this, this is a tautology in logic, so people began to think cleverly that maybe god signifies existence in an abstract space whose dimensions have no limit. God exists in an infinite, open space whose dimensions can go on forever. Around 1500 it began to be contemplated that this is just real for its own sake, maybe we don’t need god to be located there, maybe this is just the way the universe is, unending and it goes on. That is where things stood by the 17th century Newton, yes, space and time are gods infinite sensorial, like his sense organs. Save god and keep infinite space by putting infinite space into god. A very interesting view by Isaac Newton, the theologian and physicist.. In this little tale, by the time we get to the end of the 18th C and the Enlightenment, Kant proposed that maybe this space and this universe including gods sensorial is located in us in finite human beings so space and time are made into intuition that every ordinary mortal has. So we contribute time and space to the universe. This was called subjective idealism and lasted a long time. It is still there with us cuz we have that sense that consciousness endows the world with infinite spatial and temporal matrix. At night, you don’t need it, it vanishes. Then you have dream space.

This is a part of modern source of humanism to think we are the source of meaning, that it is up to us, and now is called narcissism but then it was a serious philosophical position. The human subject structures space and time from their own unique position. We end up converging in our spatial and temporal lives. This is a very extreme position and it lasted about one hundred years (19th C). Where is the source of space and time if not in God, then maybe in us. Somewhere, and at sometime, maybe it was William James who tried to reverse this whole modern emphasis on the infinity of space and the primacy of the subject together, a crude compromise, and James began to think differently. Each human being is completely unique, called Eachness, and they exhibit this in their lives. It’s worth remembering. Then he thought if each person were unique then the space they exist in must also be unique and that space should be called Place because the word Space has been co-opted for the cosmological drama. Let physics have space and time, let Einstein and quantum theory have infinity, and lets return and think about how it is for actual creatures, human and other, and talk about where each body is located as a unique place. James thought that way but he didn’t evoke the language of place, that had to wait awhile but he opened the 20th C with this thought as a turning point. This is where Snyder and Basso and Paul Shephard are coming from, not giving any credit to James opening the field of the Place World through his brilliant analyses. I have friends in cognitive psych who say we need another William James or someone who could put together all current findings and put it together the way James did. This has not happened still a century later, comparable to James. He is often misunderstood as a mere pragmatist who wrote pretty well, but his deeper significance is lost, I think. One of the few who has made a difference in the whole Western world and there are not many American thinkers of that stature.

What about people who are displaced and the idea of axis mundi, a student asks. People who are displaced need some source of healing. That might be learning to be where you are at. Yes, but it takes a long while to accomplish re-inhabitation. It can’t be done easily or right away. It takes a powerful effort to find a new home place so this transformation of being displaced into an indifferent space, i.e. a reservation, that sets down borders arbitratily (they are frontiers, or sites, or spaces…not Places). They are indifferent to inhabitation by those who are forcefully introduced to them. So then it takes the creation of a whole local history to bring about a transformation of the mere site into something like a place. This transformation is one of the great mysteries on the Earth because to the indifferent observer it looks like the same space. But the people themselves in this new locus have got a different task, and if there is not way out, the task becomes that of establishing a genuine place of inhabitation, called the home place and that becomes the collective task of those who are displaced. There is no recipe for this. It is very complex.

We can’t confuse Place with what Whitehead calls simple location. I may be simply located in Oklahoma after Katrina, but my Place (missing and longing for NOLA) is New Orleans even though I am located in Houston. My Presence is back there and not in a mystical sense. The notion of Presence has to have something ambiguous about it, i.e. permeable boundaries, I am not just a hunk of matter with hard edges. It is impermeable and cannot be entirely located in one simple site. It is, as it were, spread across several sites. It is frightening to think I would be confined to just one site forever. I would be stuck in a single space…probably because the German occupation had attempted to confine them to just one spot (the playwrights like Sartre, etc) which denies a certain property of the body to mobilize itself between places. So some of the predicaments we see in Beckett of people tied to a simple scene on the stage, a theatrical parody of a real human predicament, now and forever. Some police force would be required to bring this home…At Virginia Tech the doors were chained and it was the re-creation of a place where you were totally stuck and could only die. The young man had figured out that you have to deny the body its mobility in order to be shot. Spatialization of modern life and its militarization and the use of guns and instruments to affect power to and with people paralyzed in space. A longer story and something to ponder. Weaponry is turning bodies into targets to be eliminated on the spot, denying the permeability you are speaking about.

This touches upon an idea by Paul Shephard. This is a little theory of Julia Kristeva that struck Shephard. Kristeva says that if you 1) evacuated the outer world and called it infinite space, 2) empty the inner self as well (no longer interested in soul or depth) so you are nothing but a container of instincts or habits, and then that empty space within becomes identical to the empty space without and you have the notion of the empty subject. This is a perfect decoy of a perfect player in modern space. Empty subject, empty space. Kristeva thinks that modern narcissism called psychological narcissism because you are so desperate in your emptiness and are driven to attract attention to yourself in whatever means available, so you must bring the world to yourself in a narcissistic self serving manner. You can read it differently as a loss of Place. There is no place to be, to exist. A place where I feel at home, where I can have some leeway, I can move about. That is why it can’t be simple location, it equires elasticisy to match my own body with its coarse boundaries. Now we are moving to a thesis that there is a deep connection to body and place which is denied when I become a merely medical body or become infinite space. I loose the synergy between body and place. I sometimes call this as there is not place without a body and no body without a place. You cant have a fully lived body unless it has a place to be, and there is no such thing as an empty place. A place is For habitation. I am enlarging the notion of body beyond the physical body as it is the bearer of dimensions of all human life and not easily dissociable or you are really lost in life. We all experience this when we have a frenetic stretch in our life when we are moving too fast. Like rapid changes of Place (jet lag?) This uneasiness needs to be respected. It is a deep disconnection that we are being required to do the impossible or at a high price.

Bodies animate spaces. Adults think they can replace the unreplaceable but dogs (pets) are not indifferent bodies but rather they radiate their presence throughout the whole house and family and their loss is not just of the body and personality but of the space they had in the family’s place. Here is another way to think about death and absence in relation to the way we inhabit Place or space itself.

“No place to be” we need to meditate on that. That is one of the worst experiences that a human being can have. Not just being lost, because that is temporary by definition, but this is a deeper thing. You don’t belong anywhere, you are not even between place, but you are without a place…placeless. We are into the other side of trauma and loss through non-Place, this limbo of unplacement. There is a kind of state that is very deeply upsetting, well surely there is no place for me to be on earth and this can occasion personal and professional problems.  Occasions deeper anxiety, as there is no Place therapy. What about the homeless? Many homeless would prefer not to be moved into shelters because they found a street place no matter how difficult or dangerous and they have begun to inhabit the space. It is undignifying to be forced into a place even if it seems OK, like a tent city which has the potential to be reinhabited and to gain a local history. (Tent Cities Spring up in L.A. The Housing Bubble Burst Ventura’s River Haven Very Successful)

Ayana asks about that sense of gathering and condensing…and the elements. The material essence is just the formal definition. He got to something about material existence…the elements are important here. The different elements create different kinds of places, different from fire places, etc. The four ancient elements do not require metaphysical belief, we don’t need it as a form of literalism any longer. No, that is not the point. It is not denying the truth of that but there is something about the way our historical and culturally determined bodies are relating to those elements and how we inhabit the Earth. We are beings in air walking around. Victoria talks about the subtle body in alchemy and the elementary presence of her cat after it died. By presence we can be in several locations…the cat’s being can survive to enter your life in a different way. With Bachelard  we are always into the subtle bodies…the book he wrote before called The Frmation of the Modern Spirit was a fascinating book that shows modern chemistry came straight from alchemy. He was able to show that alchemy is not detached by modern science but actually was swept up into Lavosier in a rather direct way in the 18th C. He wrote that book and then immediately afterwards started writing about material imagination and reverie as an alternative to the two previous stages of alchemy and modern science. Austin asks about virtual space or cyber space, unembodied, hovering between a kind of place, as well as the computer screen is a kind of place where we live our lives and this has to seriously be taken into account these days. Unfortunately, it does not provide good and welcoming presence to our bodies as we peer into it and freeze before it. However convincing the display (virtual reality) there is nevertheless a failed connection to bodies that are brought into those virtual Places. The false lure of pictoriality is very captivating, but there seems to be a disconnection with the materiality of the lived body, even as it becomes hypnotized. But what happens to the witnessing body?

We do actually sometimes talk about being lost in Place because we also find ourself in Place. Place could mean many things. I want to open with talking about some other aspects of Place largely to do with Gary Snyder’s work and then make a transition into a general discussion of wildness and wilderness. We will work in some thoughts of Paul Shephard, and maybe Keith Basso. So let’s pick up some loose ends. If you think about Place as something more than location and as something that can hold together diverse domains of our experience like bodies, like community, if you think about it as holding different elemental presences including representatives of the four ancient greek elements, summed up you get a sense of the power of Place, you get a sense of how we can miss Place as homesickness, or a gnawing absence, or a sense of being a misfit, all of the various experiences that we may have not put under the Place heading until now, i.e., how much of our lives can be thought of as an ingredient of Place. That is the challenge here. I am proposing that we consider it. It is not wholly surprising that this power of Place then goes on to include other aspects, and I will mention two or three with the help of Snyder.

Place has a mysterious proclivity for holding capacity. It holds memories. You can go back and revisit a Place and then remember things. God knows an amazing number of memories being released by Place once you re-enter a Place. Proust said Places hold memories, not our minds, not our brains. We have mis-attributed exclusively to mind or brain in modern folklore. We think memories are in here or in my personal biography, but that is too easy, too quick and falsely internalizes and falsely neurologizes our lives. What if memories were held elsewhere than our brains and minds. I wrote a book on memory and I referred to Place memories holding a particular aura or conversely a destructive damage factor and the negativity of the Place, but the Place holds the memory either way, positively or to ill effect. Snyder sums it up as “Like a mirror, a Place can hold anything on any scale.” So there is an interesting thing to think about. It has refractive power, much passes through it, and into it, much goes in on the other side where I pick it up and so we begin to think about Place as having a peculiar refractive presence that has holding capacity, holding more than the literal ingredients or its simple location. It is like an open handed situation, along the lines of our dinner discussion of porosity and permeability that allows it to hold together much diversity and assimilate them in quite amazing synchronicities. Now Place synchronicity. We can imagine a platial synchronicity where Place has a porosity and many things are held together. We get glimpses of this in our lives, like Places we circulate back to that hold our lives, our children’s lives, our friends lives. This absorptive power absorbs all and gives back all. Here we re-approach the idea of the Receptacle. What Plato is trying to say about Space really I think is true of Place, it is the matrix of all things, the seat of all things, is very pliable, goes with the flow, allows many qualities to occur in its presence. Pacifica is like that. Many people pass through it, many thoughts, many reveries. Aristotle may have been right when he said it was a container, but where he went wrong was to make it a tight container or say it was non-permeable but if we open it up a bit let in a few windows we can have a more adequate sense of Place beyond mapping, when we are thinking location, when we are thinking of transportation, communication and issues of efficiency or high modern concepts that dominate our lives, if not ruin them.

There is a deep link between Place and  personal identity as well as collective identity. Snyder says, A Place is part of what we are. That is why we ask each other when we meet, where are you from? It does not determine everything but it says a lot. This thought is the single thing that carries across more writing about Place than any other. I quote….Carson McCullor, To know who you are you have to have a Place to come from. Basso, Placehood and selfhood are at one. Or, Shephard, Knowing who you are is impossible without knowing where you are. In all these ways people are saying the Who and the Where are really linked. If you are someone who is entirely alienated that is a special form of malady. Complete disconnection from Place. Anomie is certainly closely related but is more like being lost in a crowd, faceless, identityless. More something like Atopia. Atapas in Greek means strange or bizarre, without a Place. If you are without a Place, your life is strange or bizarre. And Socrates was accused in his trial of being atapas, he was strangely and bizarrely unPlaced in his own society because he raised all these disturbing questions and made himself a persona non grata, persona non loca, he wasn’t a good citizen, he was out of Place. This was to good effect in his case, we would not want to charge him with some pathology, he knew what he was doing in getting people to think, but still it is very uneasy making and very restless and that leads us back to Placelessness. The technical term for exile is ostracism…Dante was in exile, for example. Dante managed to turn it into creative work, but others are crushed, they can’t take displacement. Much can be looked into under the heading of forced migration these days.

There is a whole program at Columbia University on issues of forced migration on the globe which is becoming increasingly massive in our time forced by many factors, political, economic, racial reasons and if not done voluntarily it is felt as punishment in the body and soul, one of the worst experiences human beings can know and yet we are inflicting this on ourselves at this time in uncountable numbers. It has been estimated that in the next 50 years forty percent of the people on the earth will be in forced migration through global warming, flooding, economic necessity, or political repression, whatever, almost half of human beings will be forced to migrate somewhere else they know not where. There is an important film called Destruction of Place and its another way of looking at the Chines world today in terms of its massive destruction of place. I think it may be called “Destroyed Landscapes” and it talks to the Great Dam projects and the displacement of whole peoples and the even the control of family populations and numbers all has to do with the destruction of Place which will ultimately engulf all of us. That is the undertow taking place.

Even if Places have changed, we can still connect with them in some way. That is a little uncanny. It is not survival of the literal buildings, roads, and trees which could change as in a destructive fire which would be traumatic. It is the structure that could be found in different locations, I call that Place Schema in that it is not literal. It is the shape of the Place that could be found in different locations. We have a notion of the word schema which Merleau Ponte uses for body that allows me to deliteralize my actual physical body and to understand it as a form of creative adaptive movement, in that same way Place is creative and adaptive. It is headed for an archetype but it doesn’t quite reach it. I would not want to go that far with the idea of body schema. Basso’s term is “sense of Place”. For example, it is only going to work in the southwest for the Apache, you can’t take it to the Yukon, it just won’t work for them there. It is a deep, ritualistic need and if I could find the equivalent of my home in other neighboring states that may also be fine if I could reconnect it to my childhood. Bachelard discusses this in Poetics of Space or topoanalysis (meant to replace psychoanalysis) where he talks about childhood in Place. Maybe the future of psychoanalysis has to include topoanalysis and taking about your sense of Place more deeply and connecting it to your stress. Perhaps this is already happening in James Hillman’s turn towards anima mundi and giving up his clinical work to pay attention to the places around him and the world more than his patients (in the early 80s). It is topoanalysis, you could say. Environmentalism is essentially the same thing when talking about how the Places in the world are suffering. Here is a strand that resides alongside psychoanalysis as practiced by a vast number of people who don’t even call it that. I am not looking for the perfect place, you will never find it. I am looking for a good enough place where you know what works for you, as in a place that welcomes your body (culturally as well as physically). Not everyone does or can.

Do Places actualize through us as it is witnessed, a student asks. There has been a lot of speculation on whether Places have their own peculiar energy. That is the notion of soul as actualization. The soul of a Place actualizes itself in our presence. It comes forth as it is witnessed. And we find it receptive and alive. I only resist the temptation to turn it into something either physical or metaphysical as something that can be measured or needs to be believed in as a separate force. I think it is in my ken if I am resonating with it, it is not metaphysical, it is reverberating through me as I am in its presence, that is simply body to me, but clearly you have to be there. This is a special virtue, and it does not have to be a familiar place, it could even be a new Place which speaks to you. I think human beings and animals are attuned to that. So sometimes I call this lococentrism. Going loco over local. Human being should be more lococentric than egocentric. Beyond identity is a third thing…moving body and more particularly, walking body which is very deep in Snyder and Thoreau and all of our lives. The loss of walking not done for exercise on which Thoreau already pours scorn and says you might as well be in the gym working with dumb bells, but we ought to get walking in Places. Not just standing or staring in Place. That is not going to quite get us there. Observation is not true to the Spirit of a Place. When you have a monofocal, stabilized stance you turn it into a picture…pictorial imagination. Shephard and Snyder fear landscape paintings freezes pr overstabilizes a beautiful Place by turning it into a beautiful prospect. It pretends that there is a perfect position from which I am to view a natural place. It pretends that I can take it in in one survey and it gives me the lordly power of being the supervisor of Place as if I can encompass it by just standing there.  The problem of modernity, says Heidegger, is that it turns everything into a picture. Virtual reality is a version of this. Even the most beautiful paintings that we love we can wonder about…to think that we can bring a place into picture and then we don’t need to go to that Place and we might as well stay home and look at those pictures. When Americans have a choice of the kind of picture they hang on their wall, 80 percent will have a landscape on the wall. We love to encompass the landscape if we can. It’s the difference between being a sheer spectator and reverie. We have the position of pure spectatorship, we have reverie, and then we have active engagement with a place, typically through walking. These levels represent different attitudes toward Place. We need to be careful in regard to our deep temptation to bring it back on the camera, the digital image, despite my philosophical critique I am going to Mexico next week and I am going to bring back some still images of the wall I am studying. I have the sense then that I can write about them, so I know it’s too bad, but there we are, no-one escapes this. Rosseau was also a great walker and he wrote a book called the Solitary Promenaire or something like that, it was a part of Romanticism, and Thoreau is taking this up and he says it is still pertinent to this day. He says you cannot own a landscape, you can have property, you can have a plot of land, but you can’t own landscape and there is something uncannily right about this. It has its own place being, its own integrity, and I am lucky to be walking in its ambience. He says only walking in landscape gives you that sense. As if I could possess it by my ocular look…virtually all of our visual technology contributes to this. Whereas Thoreau and Snyder are saying to toss away the camera and meander, wander around, the less directed the better.

Cezanne says the painter must capture one instant, just the instant, of the world. Let me not knock paintings, pictures, and snapshots. It is the solution for homesickness
Love as homesickness: longing for a transcendental home in Byron and the dangerous lover narrative” from The Midwest Quarterly| September 22, 2004 | Lutz, Deborah. |
The word nostalgia was coined by Swiss soldiers who were consigned to the flat plains of Belgium who got intensely desperately homesick. From the 18th C in French and German. These soldiers could not bear it, and that is when the word arose relatively recently in history. John Steravinski, The Living Eye. It’s all about these curious cultural maladies, we probably would not treat nostalgia today. You can really suffer from this, and it is really a form of displacement, especially when you are wrong and you have doubts about the real possibility of return. Now we are talking about the pathology of Place through its loss, or its change, these all affect the psyche deeply. The Place and psyche and body connection is so close that if you alter any of the three terms then you are in trouble. If one of these is disturbed or disprupted, life is not going to work. We have an equipoise around this triad, a circulation needs to take place between them and it is fragile. That is why we can’t take the sense of Place for granted. It takes a lifetime to generate it and if we lose it, we lose something very basic in our lives. The final work about walking is…why is it so important?  Snyder tries to provide the answer. Only by getting your body out into the Place, moving in the region, can you really match the height of your body with the scale of the landscape. I think he means that in the picture I am at a different scale. I have a framed picture and my body over here. As I walk into the landscape, then with every step I am aware of the difference of the comparative height of things and my walking body. So I relate spontaneously to these features of the landscape. He just calls it a factor of scale. Walking just give me a scalar avenue into Place. When I walk I take in the whole world of the place, not just one patch of ground, I look around, I take it all in.  That’s the way to see the world, in our walking bodies. Bicycling is in between.

Our last day together, and I am going to sum up a lot of what we have been doing, and it goes like this. Place is at the center of many things and is ultimately the matrix itself. I borrow the notion of world and earth axis from Heidegger. Earth is self-secluding and self-conceeding and world is openness of culture, language, and history. Earth/World exist on either side of Place. Earth sinks down into Earth even as it rises with Culture. And the other axis behind here is body and self. Self is a term we have not broached and I hesitate to bring it in except that is it remarkable that soul and mind are really not the same, nor is spirit either, as self. Self has come into parlance through Kohut’s work and a lot of philosophical work focuses on Self as a relatively neutral term free of the history of soul, spirit, mind and is close to personal identity and has advantages. We are free to form our Selves, and if we were together for 30 days we would have to talk about it. At the corners of Place we have four terms: we had been talking about how places are parts of regions or bioregions and how publically considered in terms of shared space Place gives way to Commons. Shiva reinvokes it. These are like four dimensions of Place. Land and Landscape we have not addressed…land is that part of the earth that is on the surface of earth, land is relatively easy to survey and make into property, and this is where Earth becomes quantifiable. So it is not the same as landscape, which as we said from Thoreau, cannot be owned because it moves out from the sheer surface of the earth to become more of a whole. My gaze typically goes out to the horizon, which is not a strict limit, but is an edge beyond which our thought and experience is already going at all times. Our intentionality goes way out there. Landscape has a way of opening up in the way that land closes down. Landscape, or seascape, or skyscape or cityscape are the four kinds that matter when we are talking about indefinite openness. The objection to landscape painting is only that it cuts down upon that larger openness. Neverthless, the difference between land and landscape is vast. It’s really very different by the time we frame it.

Stephen asks a poignant question when Ed Casey asks for them. We haven’t really addressed the destruction of the earth and how it affects our psyche. I cannot relate to Placeness as much as gnawing Emptiness. Stephen quotes Shephard from Nature and Madness, “The grief and sense of loss that we all can attribute to a failure in our personality is actually an emptiness where a beautiful and strange Otherness truly should have been encoutered.” “Only now am I realizing that I miss something” Stephen says.

What exactly is being lost or the feeling of it? You remember that Kristeva has one answer and that is that we are desolate and we turn within and then are disappointed, if not despairing. One point Shephard makes again and again is that what we are missing when we look within is not some deep inner self or lodestar which we are probably not going to find, including depth psychologists, and so how do you re-populate the inner self? How can it be reinhabited? Snyder has a beautiful little book published by City Lights and he puts it into the bioregion, but I would like to put it into the self. We are looking for the wrong thing if we are looking for this deep self which is largely a construct of modernity itself. We have constructed it and then in some sense we expect it to become utterly real. But it won’t happen because it is a construct of our modern desperation and empty narcissism. Not a wish or hope for it because there is no inner reality of this nature. How do we re-populate this inscape? Shephard says there are two ways. By internalizing the presence of other species, animals in particular. Not just animal ethics and treating them well, but psychically we have to identify with them and internalize with them as the other species within us. That will begin to populate the mental landscape and similarly specific places. Specific relates to species. If we can take those in and allow them to flourish within and not just without…Ancestors is another. And to do this through ritual in which you attempt to identify with animal bodies more fully rather than just reading about them. Something like a totemic identification without going back to some primitive culture which we will never reach. Animals taken seriously in performance and ritual actions (like that exhibit…to perform the animal). Some people are empty of animals as they have kept them only as pets, recapture animology, he said. The place of animals in human dreams [MTB1] is a good place to begin for those who can dream them. Merleau Ponty speaks of the knowing body to bring landscape into intimate, tacit knowledge. Yes, ancestors are another way. Other women need to be re-internalized says Griffin in Women and Nature, pyschically as well as socially. There would need to be several sources of Otherness.

Day 3_1:26:30. Identification, internalization, differentiation. One of the great strands of psychoanalysis from middle Freud, to Kohut, to Lowald, etc. mostly Freudian where identification and internalization has been thought through very well. Lowald, for example, talks about identification, internalization and then redifferentiation within which is very close to what we are now talking about. Identification is blind, and Lowalds view is to redifferentiate the figures of your life but he does not talk about animals. There has to be some way to singularize the figures within.

Synder says “Sensations of perceptions do not necessarily come from outside. The unremitting thought and image flow are not necessarily inside. The world is our consciousness and it surrounds us.” Anti-Cartesian statement. “There are more things in the imagination than you can keep track of…the depths of mind, the unconscious are inner wilderness areas and that is where a bobcat is right now…roaming from dream to dream.” That is a beautiful was of talking about archetypal animals, not its universal status, but that they can roam in range from dream to dream. Merleau Ponty’s lateral universality, not formal as in Plato, what is universal or archetypal is shared among species.

Snyder’s tale is about passing back and forth between the human and the animal. Snyder talks of interfusion of species. The bear becoming human, the girl becoming a bear. I think it is related to the notion of identification and re-differentiation from within. Stephen quotes Carl Sandberg’s  poem called “Wilderness”.

THERE is a wolf in me … fangs pointed for tearing gashes … a red tongue for raw meat … and the hot lapping of blood—I keep this wolf because the wilderness gave it to me and the wilderness will not let it go.

There is a fox in me … a silver-gray fox … I sniff and guess … I pick things out of the wind and air … I nose in the dark night and take sleepers and eat them and hide the feathers … I circle and loop and double-cross.

There is a hog in me … a snout and a belly … a machinery for eating and grunting … a machinery for sleeping satisfied in the sun—I got this too from the wilderness and the wilderness will not let it go.

There is a fish in me … I know I came from saltblue water-gates … I scurried with shoals of herring … I blew waterspouts with porpoises … before land was … before the water went down … before Noah … before the first chapter of Genesis.

There is a baboon in me … clambering-clawed … dog-faced … yawping a galoot’s hunger … hairy under the armpits … here are the hawk-eyed hankering men … here are the blond and blue-eyed women … here they hide curled asleep waiting … ready to snarl and kill … ready to sing and give milk … waiting—I keep the baboon because the wilderness says so.

There is an eagle in me and a mockingbird … and the eagle flies among the Rocky Mountains of my dreams and fights among the Sierra crags of what I want … and the mockingbird warbles in the early forenoon before the dew is gone, warbles in the underbrush of my Chattanoogas of hope, gushes over the blue Ozark foothills of my wishes—And I got the eagle and the mockingbird from the wilderness.

O, I got a zoo, I got a menagerie, inside my ribs, under my bony head, under my red-valve heart—and I got something else: it is a man-child heart, a woman-child heart: it is a father and mother and lover: it came from God-Knows-Where: it is going to God-Knows-Where—For I am the keeper of the zoo: I say yes and no: I sing and kill and work: I am a pal of the world: I came from the wilderness.

The comment Tom wants to make about Shephard is that there is something about maturation and that we can’t get to (wholeness) as a culture or species through Western adolescence but there is a maturity being called upon, namely the developmental maturation process. Shephard is challenging us, in his view, as a culture, to grow up and become mature stewards and part of that is the maturation of these images in society. Casey says not just adapting better or being more skillfull socially and professionally which supposedly has something to do with maturation. We are talking about Othering, how to Other ourselves rather than the modern ideal of becoming ourselves. Finding yourself, being yourself, these slogans should be re-examined. Find yourself Othered and how to do that through animals and other members of the species, including your own gender, is really powerful.

Another aspect of Bachelard comes in. He has a very rich early book called Lautréamont and in that book he coins an interesting phrase, “the animalizing imagination”. That book is all about creating a bestiary through poetry. Lautreamont was a great inspiration for the surrealists.

We got here from Stephens question on how to deal with the desolation of the modern self? Instead of enriching our lives by self serving or interpersonal pursuits we should open up the circle and let the animals in. This is suggestive and offers some hope in our desolated landscape. Here is a strand of our time together that is important to note. I want to use it to go straight into Basso. And then Susan Griffin.

I really regard people like Shephard and Snyder as ecological elders of our time. Wisdom of a rare sort for our time. Shephard says ‘wildness pushed to the perimeters of human settlement during most of the ten millenia since the Plastocene has now begun to disappear from the earth, taking the worlds otherness of free plants and animals with it. The loss is usually spoken of in terms of ecosystems or the beauty of the world, but for humans spiritually and psychologically the true loss is internal. It is our own otherness within.’ That is the striking statement, quite beyond species.

The other statement by Shephard is this: wildness should be experienced in the growing of a self that incorporates a person’s identity in specific places. So here is this Animal/Place axis in terms of otherness and their loss is both external but it is also our loss within at the same time.

Basso is talking about animals located in places. We are actually dealing with a twist that we don’t get from Snyder or Shephard and that is that there is something ethical to learn about animals and places. The cautionary tale is here not a homily nor a sermon, nor a categorical imperative not a super ego message but it is located in the landscape and is truly amazing. You have all this turbulence in your life and the elders do not offer direct advice. It is deliciously indirect and  more effective. Somehow if you thread the cautionary tale through places and the landscape populated with animals it has a more effective edge than a person to person talk. This is something else and it behooves us to ponder it for amoment. European and American ethics reaches an apogee in a great philosopher I admire and love, but Levinas, Immanuel (Jewish, Parisian Philosopher) whose point is that the ethical transaction is totally direct and face to face. Jung, in reversing Freud turned to the face to face in therapy. Freud called in free association and not engaged in looking at the other person and we call it reverie. In our part of the world we say, just face up to it. Whereas the Apache solution is, don’t face up to it. Go around it for a while and then come back to it. Very likely the other person is a part of the problem and not the solution. But we can pick out several interesting things from this paradigm.

1) You actually have to go out into the land and become familiar with actual places in your native landscape. So the elders take their kids out and systematically for no other purpose than to tell stories about the landscape (the stories that are attached to the places). 2) This is laid down early in a memory grid related to the place system we talked about on the first nite. If you got the landscape down you will never forget it. 3) Later in life when you are in trouble you reimagine with clarity that hill and then these presences that you are actually imagining in that place to vivify it in that way and all of that activity is preliminary to the lesson to be learned. To us as psychologists we would say this is part of the process, revisiting those places with those stories attached. Then it takes a friend or another elder who will just mention without advice but merely mentions the name of a place and without even trying that story is reimagined and somehow that process induces what is called ‘smooth mind’. A very interesting term that we should ponder. Not clarity of mind, that is a cartesian ideal. Smooth space is heterogenous and topological in character. IT doesn’t mean stillness or calmness, just smooth enough to get through the turpitude and learn something from it. The smooth mind, and I am summarizing, is composed of resilience to things that are not happening well around you, and steadiness in terms of emotions such as anger, hateful thoughts arising within. The goal is to put both facets of mind together to induce the right state of mind. When you do get into smooth mind you begin to drink wisdom from those places. Not knowing or intuiting wisdom but drinking from those places. It is ironic as it is a very dry landscape.

p. 127, Dudley Patterson ‘how will you walk along this trail of wisdom. Well you will go to many places. You must look at them closely, you must remember all of them your relatives will talk to you about them. You must remember everything they tell you, you must keep on thinking about it because no one can help you but your self. And if you do this, then your mind will become smooth. Your mind will become steady and resilient. Wisdom sits in places. It is like water that never dries up. You drink water to stay alive, well you must also drink from places….then you will see danger even before it happens, you will live a long life…people will respect you.’

Places are like unique vehicles of these stories and this is where I predicted the ghost of Aristotle returns. Places act as tight containers. They really hold those stories according to the Apaches. It has to be tight because they are analogous to water. I said when we began that Aristotle had something right, despite his nomenclature, about Places holding us. The genius of the place…we are not the geniuses as humans, but Place has a genius for us to connect with. Contrast this with the “Thou Shalts” that we teach our children. You just look at the landscape and remember the stories. The very act of letting the mind go to that particular hill and having a story that you know is not the invention of your generation creates temporal and spaital stability that contributes to smoothness of mind. If you got a problem, start walking.

A labrynth is in between nature and civilization. Can be powerful to walk. This has been made available to us by our culture and it is a gift in the right direction. We don’t really have stories that we are encouraged to think as we walk, and in that way it differs. Kristeva’s point is that there is a rare period of childhood before the acquisition of language, she calls this the semiological period where she evokes Plato’s coura, the Receptacle, saying this is when a child’s body is like a receptacle. The child lives and exists in movment, melody, and rhythm. It is semoitic and couric. In her version of child therapy she will leave language aside and break into song and encourage the child to sing or dance themselves. The semiotic coura, the child’s body. Adults have to recover it later after language acquisition as we have become Cartesian. Midlife is about rediscovering the semiological body, like taking up painting in your forties. The Apache combines image with words. It just reminded me of another Apache habit. They have this marvelous way of leaving a conversation or a group and never say goodbye. They never announce their leaving, they just leave. And in another writing by Basso he said the Apaches mock the Anglos because we make this big deal out of parting…I am going to depart…nonsense, they say, this is pure ego.

I want to read just one more thing from Basso. He quotes Spinoza, “Self and mind are essentially one and the same” ‘Assuming this to be true, it is hard to concieve of a cultural construct whose bearing on place could be more intimately related to ideas of selfhood than western apache theory of wisdom and its sources. Incorporating places and their meanings…a compact model of  mental and social development the theory of egoalia proposes   that the most estimabel qualities of human minds come into being through extended dimensions on symbolic dimensions of the physical environment. Features of the apache landscape their richly…names, their travelled narratives….resources by which men and women can modify aspects of themselves,  including most basically their own ways of thinking. And because changes in ways of thinking are mirrored in changes of patterns of conduct, these same individuals can be seen to alter who they are. As apache men and women set about drinking from places, as they acquire knowledge about their natural surroundings committed to permanent memory and applied productively to the workings of their mind, they show by their actions that their surroundings live in them. Like their ancestors before them they display by word and deed, that beyond the visible reality of place lies a moral realty which they themselves have come to embody. And whether or not they succeed in becoming fully wise, it is this interior landscape of the moral imagination that most deeply influences their vital sense of place and also, I believe, their unshakeable sense of self. For them, selfhood and placehood are completely intertwined.’

This is a very powerful piece and I urge you to bear it in mind. I want to add one further note which will act as a transition to Griffin. With the moral cautionary dimension that we are here getting into, we have entered culture massively. Culture is responsible for the narrative, for the issue of placement and it raises the question how culture and nature relate. We have been talking about nature and psyche, but here is another dualism we would address if we had enough time. Clifford Gierts said that culture integrates the human and the natural. So a narrative like these apache narratives would illustrate that perfectly. And then here is amore radical thought. Merleau Ponty said this in a footnote: Everything is natural in us. Everything is cultural in us. Just as wild being reaches everywhere, so there is no limit to the reach of culture either. The apache situation shows culture in the desert landscape not just in human speech and society or human minds. Its all over the place. So that notion of the complete co-penetration of nature and culture is what I would like us to keep in mind. Nature doesn’t stop at some point where Culture begins, they are interfused just like the body and mind. Snyder said the body is wild and is in the mind. They are one. A very comparable statement. This is like finely the complete rejection of Cartesian dualism in radical thinkers like this. The supposed dyads or opposites are actually wholly into each others business all the way down to the last iota. This is swinging diametrically away from where we were with Descartes and where we will begin with Susan Griffin. One more time we have to think about what went wrong.

Now Griffin does this differently from everyone else. It really came like a thunderbolt when it was published in 1978. It was the magnum opus of eco feminism and came on the heels of Mary Daly’s work which is ultimately a work in theology. I don’t feel up to teaching Daly not having a theological background. She rethinks God and Nature and this is what is resonating in Griffin’s mind as she writes. But she wants to do this in a very different way. It is a rich text. You could spend 3 days on it, but today we will just single out some themes. This is a deep treasure trove, and you can dip into it on any page at random and pull out gems. It is also poetic prose…or, she says, a new genre and she contrasts that with (odd and noticeable that struck you in the first 80 pages) there is the other non-poetic science discourse which has the form of “It is stated that…it is known that” as the impersonal voice of the male scientist and she means to contrast the impersonality of the It construction with womens voices which occur at first in very muted forms. The italicized voice, which is womens voice, we are dumb we are mute that dumb down. It is decided that matter is dead vs. we seek dumbness we practice muteness. And that voice continues on the following pages, we learn to be afraid of our nature, for example. It is a double voices text, and we become less and they say muteness is natural in us. She does a history of the witch trials which is itself objective although it takes out the objective history of natural science as a serious parody.  The dark side of science was this repression and actual holocaust of women deemed to be witches but actually tortued to the point of having to avow this. She matches this gruesome history with brilliant breakthroughs in physics and biology and all that going on at the same time as witch persecutions of the grossest sort. By the end of this long first part on matter, two things happen. This is just my reading. 1) science begins to question itself as it moves into the 20th C with the notion that matter is dead many things are becoming uncertain and so she traces out the rising factor of the uncertainty principle instead of matter it seems like the natural world is coming to be seen as an event. Science processed things as it became more sophisticated and it deconstructs itself and contemporaneously with that she suggests women come to gain a voice but a voice that actualy is tied intimately to the natural world itself that is being reunderstood by science. “we are the rocks, we are soil, trees, river, winds, birds, cows, mules, horses” and the italics gives out and it flows into romanized words….as matter, we are flesh we breathe we are her body we speak.

So contemporary physics converges with womens experience of nature. We learned yesterday about being nature, being wilderness. Well here is it recreated in the voice of woman who is affirming an integrity with the natural world that had been denied them earlier. That has to be discovered first, that my body is a valid form of living matter before there is co-affirmation of women with themselves in a later chapter. There is a philisophical point being made that you have to deny the claim that your matter is corrupt as meer, opaque, or sick as womens bodies. Free yourself of that constrictive male dominated model of being a female body before modes of intimate sociology and conviviality can actually be entered into. You have to clear up the body of matter before you move on to women’s liberation. The first part of the book is from European classical science, then the middle part of the book is about American frontiers, showing that there are other modes of repression of women that are going on which she analogizes. Now the scene is not really the nature of matter but the land and seascape and everything in between: horses, cows etc. are made into damaging analogies of women. The repression of women is continuing by other means. Wind was particularly striking. I hope you noticed the analogy between hurricanes and womens fury or insanity. It is a very moving passage in the wake of Katrina. In ’78 she figured out global warming and the relationship to hurricanes. The violence of water falsely assimilated to troubled womens psyches.

The return of the It, that natural science thinks there could be some way of controlling women and water.  I don’t want to pause on something fairly obvious but dramatically worked out by Griffin which is the identification of women with supposedly less than sophisticated animals, cow, mules and then finally the show horse (dressage, grooming, cosmetics, dressing up). The whole notion of dressing up for other women, for the culture really. So here in this intermediate space we have the proliferation of repression across the natural world. So any animal will do, not just matter, but false analogies, assimilations, identifications to the deriment of women still continuing. This is like a compendium of th emodes by which women have been repressed in relation to the natural world. All kinds of other repression going on too, but this the repression is an impasse that will be very hard to ever leave, nevertheless there is hope. The hope occurs throug separation itself. This is a curious twist in book II…here she begins by really giving us a poetic rendition of Descartes brought down to the world of living matter and actual repression. Her womb from her body, her clitoris from her vulva, female bodies rising to heaven become male bodies, etc. The list goes on and on until…separating the laws of nature from nature. Separating the mind from the body is like re-expressing Descarte but now with the actual consequences to women after the 17thC. Bring the science of the doctrine into its actual expression in social and communal life, its consequences, its effects. It is an enormously ambitious book and almost endless. No wonder she has to resort to condensed poetic expression or it could go on for volumes.

The little section on his vigilance and how he must keep watch is a whole theme in Griffin which she is still working on…the male mode of control. She is writing on Thomas Jefferson and the fact his father was a surveyor and that TJ for all of his benevolence wanted to control the land. He was responsbile for how the western states had to form perfect geometric rectangles wherever possible. Counties and whole states should be as regular as possible, reflective of Timaeus. She is already fascinated with this notion of controlling the land identified as woman with geometry imposed from above. It’s a long book she has been writing for many years. Jefferson is a complicated character. He was really ambivalent and we need to be ambivalent towards him. One aspect is the notion of his surveyance of the West to control the world as it moves beyond Ohio. Mapping western part of america to regularize the landscape and then incapable of dealing with natural variation that don’t fit into the perfect cartography and she is onto that here in these pages. It is all under the heading of “what he sees”. The primacy f objective observation whether in medicine and surgery or land survey comes to the fore as modern instrumentation makes this more accessble. She is sort of following the history of science and how it takes on ever expanding male modalities to privilege the male gaze and she wrote this long before it became an explicit theme in feminism.

Now the separate rejoined is another step. And here things begin to alter. She seems to suggest a complete separation in order to rejoin. It is not until you have reached those extremeties that you know what you have lost. I take this whole section as a turning point because here we find the knowledge of what we are and we enter a new space also, she says. Space is no longer separate from matter…and now one has a feeling of having room and the metaphor of room resonates a lot in the latter part of the book. IT is something we could ponder. It means really having enough space to move around to develop and change that is denied in various forms of confinement under which women were earlier confined. It is a space in which there is no center. It is evergrowing, moving and organic. Or, going back a few pages, this is a place where she could finally breathe. That is what I referred to earlier as the room of the undressing.  If you look further it is really a striking use of rooms. Room, Place, Space and room is in between. Roominess. Breathe, notice, find soul we could read, the place where she breathed out the story she had not believed…the voices are merging…the italicized and romanized words are coming together and echoing each other. The room where she cast those stories away from her forever where we began to feel the atmosphere once us. This room of her desiring to live, this place which allows her to exist, where the women stare into each others eyes, where the daughter feels the life of the mother….and we touch. The labrynth of her knowledge…and that opens from objective and scientific knowing, statement knowing into discovering a different way of knowing, quite apart from scientific knowledge.

We can come to know what we are, know what we know, and in talking about the earth I know why she goes on. All this I put under the heading under Tacit Knowing. Merleau Ponty calls it pre-reflective knowing. Griffin is discovering this on her own. Since then, she told me, she is a great fan of Merleau Ponty although she did not know him when she wrote this book. It is not just regaining voice but more importantly re-thinking what it is to know something from within. I see this as becoming increasingly powerful in the rest of the book. Let me just point out a few other passages.

We know we are made from earth, we know ourself to be made from this earth is repeated several times. Water, earth figures into this moment of the text. That is tacit knowing. Not exactly scientific. This is some sense of a deep relation between your body and the earth. This is highly intuitive and is tacit and implicit in character. It is a case of the knowing body…knowing where it is, why it is moving, where it is going and a different way of being on earth. In order to know the environment differently you have to know your body differently. So no longer the scientist, women are the privilege eco-psychologist. The discoveries are now being made, not by scientists in labs, but by women in the landscape or women on earth. The whole last poetic set of pages I take it as women out on the forefront of the natural world making discoveries of a different kind than the classical scientists wanted to make. There is no IT stated any longer, just movement of bodies and interplay with matter and with various species. At the end of the book animals come back into the picture, particularly birds. One flies into the prose and she invokes it into the text. I don’t know if you felt that, but this is all happening from page 226 forward. She ends in an epigram similar to Heraclitus where matter stops the flow itself. We are into this remarkable flux.

We are standing at the edge of the marsh, not daring to move closer, watching these birds through the glass…it is tempting to take out the binoculars and we are all subject to this. But the birds invade the observation itself, first the males then the females. Now all of them calling or singing like the violin or cello. What is the fate of these birds and now we stand at the edge of the marsh and allow them their space and although we may advance and cage and torture these birds will never be our and so we observe with our hearts. We know ourselves to be made from the Earth, we know this earth is made from our bodies for we see ourselves and we are nature. We are nature seeing nature. We are nature with a concept of nature. Nature weeping. Nature speaking of nature to nature. Probably echoing Spinoza. As opposed to being natured, which is being dissected and observed, as Spinoza said. She was reading him at the time.

“I have no boundary” contrasts with an earlier theme in which men criticizing women as being boundaryless, emotionally out of control, a theme pursued in earlier pages. Now women can affirm as a positivity the fact of having no boundary. She takes the same statement and turns it around. Casey really admires her!Must be a reason why. But the class is silent. No thoughts, no reactions. Finally Fiona speaks about Griffins use of prose as though Griffin is appropriating and not giving credit. Griffin uses endnotes but not footnotes because she does not want to appear scholarly. It was her choice. Some people reach a certain point in their writing life of never using footnotes and it may just mean they thinl they know what they know so well that they do not have to cite any one else. She is not the only one who does this. It is an interesting direction to go in. Casey likes it because it alleviates the text. Her endnotes did not satisfy Fiona, nor many others. She says Griffin is making so many assumptions. Casey said it doesn’t work for everyone. Some others tried to get past that and just feel the soul of what she is saying, which they said goes very deep. But Griffin reflects everything we are not supposed to do at Pacifica in terms of plaigarism!!! So the conversation ended abruptly with our criticism of Griffin.

Picking it up again, the last session, Casey said he wanted to do justice to Griffin and then move on to Shiva’s work and her remarkable approach to things which needs to be savored although in her case she is an absolutely clear writer. He also wants us to see how we take water into our lives by telling our personal experiences of water.

Griffin’s book requires receptivity. Either I am very dumb or the book is so great that you keep seeing new layers and dimensions and I think this book has the quality of semantic density, which I like. It comes as a great relief to read Shiva, cuz she just wants to make her point and move on without lingering on the prose. They are both good. Shiva is really interested in getting to the heart of an issue, getting to solutions, summing them up crisp and clear and it’s great for dealing with the environment directly. It translates into action. Griffin is not giving a program, rather she is telling a tale and throws the ball back into our court at all times. You won’t find prescriptions in Griffin. It is an important experience to undergo nevertheless. Even if you pin her down, I have gotten to know her in recent years, she is not going to tell you what to do. She sees herself as a writer, in between an academic and a popularizer. She sees herself trying to play that role in American life and it is hard to do, so she is often chasing after her bills (or they are chasing after her). She is not even an environmentalist in the usual sense. She just wants to stir us up, get us thinking, put images out there that would cause us to do something. There is something tempting about the environment that we need to straighten it out, but it does need to be resisted for awhile. Wallace Stevens said a poem resists the intelligence almost successfully. In a certain way Griffins prose resists political action almost successfully. It grew out of her Berkely life where there was a great deal of activism which she was surrounded by, and she took some distance from that although she was sympathetic. She was active in womens’ groups at Berkely in those years…

Would you say by contrast that when we read Snyder, Shepard, or Basso do those voices now seem more masculine? How does the gender sense emerge after reading Griffin? Let’s just take Snyder. It is a masculine and complex voice. If we are really now thinking, as Griffin encourages us to do, we have to think about the masculine voice today in terms of these others writers. Ayana has the image of someone with backpack gear in the wilderness, she sees a man. Susan resisted this because she is a backpacker and does not see that as masculine. Young, white, male adventurer says Ayana. Steven says he senses a gentle man, not a macho man (Ayana says she didn’t mean macho). Snyder has a broad sensibility and he certainly is not macho. I didn’t even have an image of him on the trail or what he was wearing. Oops, fight between Susan and Ayana on affordability and that which is “unattainable for regular people” says Ayana. Casey tries to help and says the charge is more properly attributed to Thoreau and says there are some elitist hikers and travelers. Snyder has really earned his way, having worked at very many ordinary jobs like tankers, forestry, and worked hard on languages at UCLA, he is a rare bird in that sense. Thoreau could never hold down a job and was supported by Emerson. He was a member of the elite in that sense. Snyder is a hybrid character, he is really unique. Look at the Gary Snyder reader. In there he has essays that were not published anywhere else about how zen is not about pacifism and can make you very politically engaged. This is a very interesting character! He is unpredictable.

I think Snyder is talking about nature because he thinks we are not paying the right attention to it. I don’t think he is literally trying to get us to walk out into wildness, but he would like it. I think he is trying to get us to re-think wildness, poetry, and he is a teacher but although he is not an academic, he actually has a steady income from UC Davis in the later half of his life supplemented by royalties and talks. He was part of that whole group in San Francsico, and great friends with Ginsberg who died at Snyder’s place in the lower Sierra’s. And Ginsberg was really a city guy, wearing a coat and tie all the time.

Griffin follows the French scene, although her actual writing is diffuse. In her own voice and life I could well imagine her as a man. I am actually confused by her gender. So I think Sharon is on to something, it is the life of the mind that really matters to her. The rest, including walking into the wilderness, does not matter. She has lived in the hills of Berkeley all these years with occasional trips to Paris and New York. I myself feel awkward in nature and think about how short my breath becomes. There is a town in Wisdom, Montana where I went with students from Stony Brook. They would go up slopes like antelopes and I was barely chugging along. I enjoyed the awkwardness and my lack of fitness because I learned a lot. My academic deformation left me ill-prepared for the wild world. I needed young guides, not elders. One of them wrote “Crazy Mountains” about those actual mountains in Central Montana where we hiked. So there are many ways to go into the wild. It may be true a certain modicum of leisure, Aristotle said, you have to have leisure to do philosophy. The word scholastic comes from schole which means a certain kind of leisure. It doesn’t always bode well socially or politically. Especially in those times where class distinctions were really inscribed in stone. Just today I posed this question for the first time, and I am glad we talked about this. I was wondering how we could divide, if we needed to, these writers. Fiona said it was not fair to compare Griffin with any other writers, there is no comparison. Then the class got into their “raising the hand” fight.

I am going to say a few words about Shiva’s work. This book reflects eco-feminism in practice from women who were opposing the construction of dams and Shiva was really a nuclear physist who got involved in environmental activism and now she is an environmental sage. This book tells the story that, at least in India, women are the spontaneous ecological experts from having been so close to the land, burdened as it was, but they know the land close up. One of her thesis is that apart from ecological science, the primary position should be taken by people who know their own region and she calls this local ecological activism. Her whole book is written from loco-activism and she is consistent in this theme. If you take the most recent book of hers, Earth Democracy, you will see the same theme. Living economies are built on local economies. Localization of economies is a social and ecological imperative. Only goods and services that cannot be produced locally should be brought in. Earth democracy is based on vibrant local economies that support the national and global economies. In Earth democracy the global economy does not destroy or crush local economy nor create disposable people. Living economies recognize the creativity of all humans and create spaces for each to develop their full potential. In the earlier book the emphasis is on the feminine principle in work at the local level, whether it is men or women, that is not the point. It is not tied to sex and gender is socially constructed. She calls it the feminine principle, still, and she thinks it is the only principle that is going to be sensitive to Earth and ecological issues, and especially sensitive to oppression of earth and women as a covalent matter. Something happening at once and together. She picks up Griffin’s theme that if you are gong to take a repressive attitude to the natural world through control and manipulation, then it is very likely going to end up controlling and manipulating women. Wow, it is still happening. You don’t have to go to Europe to see this. It is happening in India. I find this part of her work really remarkable.

Another way to put this is to say this is a matter of local knowledge. The feminist principle means acting on local knowledge, by men or women, something you know close up. Griffins emphasis on body, knowledge and earth are here thematized and stated in Shiva. You can move back in forth between these two writes even though there was no collaboration between these writers that I know of.

You cannot have partial liberation and you also have to have men’s liberation, Shiva adds, in what she calls an environment that is not now developed…we have to be able to assert both forms of liberation. Recover the feminine principle not just of women but of nature and non-western cultures, even men who have sacrificed their own humanism. She goes back to Ghandi and draws him forward into environmental thought. Ghandi, after all, was a man…apologetically. She is not talking about women as bodily beings as such, she is more open than this. Sometimes she says, equality in diversity. Not just equality. Not just diversity. But equality IN diversity. This is the way we should regard all species and human beings, and ourselves in regards to class and gender differences. That is her mantra. Her task is always to marry these otherwise disparate directions. How to find equality and diversity in every circumstance. What we call colonization, she goes on to say, is really the undermining and denial of the feminie principle. It is turning people into objects who are indifferent in regard to their gender distinction and so colonization and environmental deprivation go hand in glove. It isn’t only depriving native peoples of freedoms and rights but also disrespecting the place they are in. The notion that exploitation is everywhere in colonization, there is no respector of species it affects every living being in a colonized environment.

Every blow at nature is a strike against women. Women receive the brunt and typically the first blow even though it expands everywhere. This fits with Griffin’s explanation, and so the assertion of the feminine principle has to be asserted FIRST since they are the most vulnerable in virtually any circumstance. Women are the real water experts. If you have been to India you know that women still carry water in jars on their heads, even on the main road from Delhi. It is a little shocking. These women were walking a long distance to a well that was 10-20 miles from their home village. And it is dangerous on a major highway! We feared for the lives of these women. So Shiva turns this around and her effort is to turn an exploitation into a positive cry for local knowledge. She has been consistent in her work in this regard. Another way to put it is, who are the active participants in that environment? Who is really doing the environmental work, not simply what is happening to the environment but rather who exactly is engaged in a given local environment, prosperous or not? Who is in proximity? Doing the walking, moving, transporting, all that. Think like a river. This is parallel to Arne who said think like a mountain. Shiva says you should think water from within. Think like water. Think yourself to be water. Imagine yourself actively to be a water way, and if you were dammed up you would know something was wrong. They displace people and turn a profit for an elite somewhere else. She is one of the most effective speakers on dams. In spite all of the hoopla in deference to dams, it is never worth the money and human price that was paid for their construction. She thinks America is unthinking and has more dams than any country and we have put ourselves up the river because of it. Human culture intervenes in nature and stops the flow, and I myself was mystified by this. We had few natural lakes in Kansas and dams created swimming holes in places, and it seemed good. But I never really thought it through. In too many cases, contractors benefit, etc. but it doesn’t benefit the locality.

You see this from an airplane travelling over the Southwest. California becomes the beneficiary of the damming of the Colorado River, using ¼ of the river for 1.6 of the whole bioregion. She uses that as an example of the displaced benefits of damming, water that is sorely missed in the original region. Tom says water is a perpetual fight between Texas and Colorado and New Mexico is right in the middle. There is a text on violent waters by John Wesley Powell in the reading…about his travels down the Colorado along violent paths. The new dam in China will be larger than Hoover dam. The film I mentioned earlier is about this. Shiva really makes you ponder things you take for granted, i.e., the rationalizatons that are given for it. One of the cruelest scenes in the villages are that the inhabitants are required to take apart their own home brick by brick. Thereby robbing them of their history, says Victoria. Many many villages are at stake, but I found it particulary cruel that the State would ask you to tear apart a house you are starting to mourn for. Then the showed the dreary new places they were being sent to. One family held out until they received something comprable to what they had. There is an old lady in another place who refused to move. The Chinese government doesn’t know what to do because she became internationally famous. If water were locally managed…

There is an area in New Mexico where water is managed locally. Now we are moving into Water Wars. How to survive? It’s an older tradition that came from the Moors of Spain. Mayor Domos control the water that come through, telling you what day you will get water. Land is getting so expensive. Where Tom lives the water rights are more valuable than the price of the land. There is all this piracy of the water rights in the deeding process.

Let’s plunge into Water Wars and Shiva’s retracing of the history of riparian rights, particularly the idea that goes back to ancient English law. If you live on the edge of a river you have a temporary users right but the river itself cannot be bought or sold, it is completely sacrosanct. Water as a Commons which refuses to be comodified and sold. The doctrine of riparian rights is traced back to a primitive syllable…water can be used but not owned, but that doesn’t mean it can be comodified and rights to it sold (which is happening all over the world especially in South America in Bolivia).  Who owns water? We first encountered that question with Thoreau in regards to the landscape. Now Shiva will have none of it, she thinks it is unownable. It is worse than disrespect. Water is something here on earth to be shared. It is a peculiar type of substance given its solidity and way of reaching into every corner of any container. It seeks out the edge and will fill it, and it is a democratic element and is very vulnerable to exploitation. We receive water freely from nature, and we ought to keep it clean and in adequate supply as it is a source of life for all species. Water is a Commons, it is not a human invention. It cannot be bound and has only temporary boundaries, she means no boundaries of its own. It is by nature a Commons give that it spreads equibly wherever it may be. There is no substitute for it. So we are in a water crisis. The book is driven by her perception of this, and this was written 5-6 years ago. The crisis is not only water itself, but the fate of water and if it becomes privatized, and then we will lose everything that belongs to water and it may be the greatest loss of all. This will be serious. Only last week the UN intergovtal agency predicted as many as 100 million people may die from water deprivation in the next 50 years. These are sober scientists. Another hundred million may die from flooding. We are going to have both flooding and aridity. The aridity will come from privatization of water rights and water itself. Flooding will result from global warming. A scene of double disaster. She foresees the hurricanes becoming more common, ever more certain (Katrina is just a wake up call). The U.S. Gov’t was completely negligent in not strengthening the levees years ago.  Politics, water, land, global warming all happened in the Gulf area. If you want to do a further analysis using Spike Lee’s movie as data, not to mention rampant racism and displacement of people from their homes. It is an altogether too revealing circumstance.

So, we are really in for troubled waters! Shiva is a voice that we need to hear at this historical moment. Being very practical she, at the same time, insists upon the sacred dimension of water. 30 million people in a small period of time visit the Ganges every year. Although her reading of the Ganges is curious. All the poisonous chemicals neutralize each other, just plunge in. I was on the Ganges and there were a lot of carcasses floating in it. Wind is the major destructive element in hurricanes, reminds a student who lives in Florida.

Another dimension that Shiva insists on challenges the reader, the sense that the river is a sullen, brown, God. A god, nevertheless, and what to do about it. Unless you have that, you won’t have the deeper motivation to do the hard ecological work. You have to appreciate the sacred character of the River, the Ganges has 108 names. Bachelard says water amasses all ambivalences and Shiva bears it out in spades in these 108 names all attributed to this one river. The Ganges has positive power. Here is a dimension that most us lack when it comes to American water. Does it mean we are not going to be motivated to fight the good fight here? I think it is seriously missing. I don’t know if it belongs to Spirit or Soul. It floats uneasily between them. The dimension Shiva describes. There is another Indian water scientist who is an active Hindu who says the same thing. Can we in the U.S. get there? I have a hard time getting there, but I am not in touch with these sacred dimensions as a late, modern American. Can I save it then? I worry about this. Her position raises the awareness of our inadequacy in this regard.


World Watch Institute in the 70’s, Victoria  suggests, pre-dates Shiva.

Steven (the other one) talks about a dissertation by James DeMeo  Saharasia: The 4000 BCE Origins of Child Abuse, Sex-Repression, Warfare and Social Violence, In the Deserts of the Old World, whose  “Basic Assumptions, Observations and Probable Mechanisms for the Genesis and Global Diffusion of Armored Patrism” [based upon Reich’s Speculations on the Origins of Human Armoring] include the following topics:

A. Matrism: Unarmored High-Pleasure Low-Violence “Rainforest” Culture

B. Patrism: Armored, Low-Pleasure High-Violence “Desert” Culture

C. A Preliminary Cross-Cultural Comparison

D. Geographical Analysis of Cross-Cultural Data

*Changes in Ancient Climate, Landscape and Archaeology

*Physiological, Behavioral and Social Effects of Prolonged Drought and Famine

A. Somatic and Emotional Effects

B. Competition for Food and Water

C. Migration and Nomadic Adjustments

D. Direct Effects of the Desert Atmosphere