Please look at the ‘Postdoctoral Proposal’ page to see how I am putting the theory into practice.
This blog relates to the philosophical theory that I developed in my PhD thesis, entitled, “Realisation as Agency in Response to the Ecological Emergency”. Initially an analysis of Paul Taylor’s biocentric theory laid out in his 1986 book, Respect for Nature, it became an investigation of free will, or more properly, agency, and to what degree we might be able to respond, and be held responsible for, the ecological emergency. I deliberately used the phrase “ecological emergency” rather than climate change, because, to echo Tim Morton, I think we are enmeshed in a far bigger crisis than the external one of climate change, or pollution, or deforestation. It’s our attitude that needs to shift, and, after lots of research and thinking (and meditation), I took a non-dual approach.
When we reflect on our current personal situations, as well as the situation in which all humans, and indeed all other kinds of existence, find them- and ourselves, we ‘realise’, as in, come to an awareness of, or understand, that we are enmeshed in an inevitable web of cause and effect, action and reaction. But the moment of awareness, the realisation, allows us to elicit an attitude, and the most rational attitude that we can take is one of compassion. Compassion, then, doesn’t come from inside us, so much as allows us to tap into the qualitative aspect of the universe. It is the human manifestation of the cooperative principles that lie behind all interactions of all systems. But compassion, or love, is not soft, or passive. It is tough, creative, innocent, curious, and resilient. Indeed, it has all the qualities that natural systems have, and it allows us to align ourselves with other systems, and to co-create with them in a way that can then develop responses, and solutions, to the critically urgent issues we face, including climate change, etc, but also social justice issues, issues in our relationships with others, and issues in relationship to ourselves.
This contrasts with our traditional view of agency, that it runs along the parallel lines of a dualistic set of events, involving a mental deliberation, leading to a physical action. I think this picture, or ‘narrative’ of our agency is a hangover from the Cartesian, dualistic understanding of the world, and without knowing that we do so, we still carry that picture of the world, or rather that paradigm, as the underlying structure of our understanding. We see ourselves as dualistic beings in a dualistic world and this sense of having a mind and a body, and sometimes even a mortal body and an immortal soul, colours our perception of every other relationship we have.
I’ve revised and edited my thesis quite extensively and am about to publish it with Vernon Press as a book, entitled Love is Green. I’m looking for work that I can do to further share and discuss the ideas in the book and I would appreciate contact with anyone who might come up with any opportunities to develop research projects that apply the practical elements of the theory and show that we can in fact respond with compassion to the ecological emergency, and make humanity both wise and humane.
I live in North Cork, in Ireland.