Summary of Chapter Four

What does agency as realisation and the realisation of what is ‘good for’ systems mean in practice? In this chapter, I go through the various implications, from the implications for how we talk and think about agency, about enmeshment and about the ecological systems themselves, to what the practice of realisation means. I show that this has implications for how we relate not just to the context we find ourselves in – noticing that we are enmeshed alters our enmeshment profoundly and yet we are still enmeshed – but in terms of our attitudes. We can see that the practice elicits an attitude of compassion and forgiveness and we can see how this itself is ‘good for’ the systems within which we are enmeshed. We can see that we need to be quite particular and specific and non-general about what is ‘good for’ systems, that this will change depending on perspective and focus and that we need to become less judgmental in discerning what works in a particular context. We need also to recognise what it means to step back, to see the conditioned view, and to work from beyond it, and how this is really the key to dealing with attitude polarisation. However, we also need to recognise the limitations of this approach, the reality that we tend to revert to the conditioned view, and so the recognition that effort is required.

I explore the implications for some of the more violent aspects of our enmeshment. The focus, as always, is on the way that we realise each time. There is no end result, no point at which we are not going to be enmeshed (at least for as long as we are alive, and in this I differ from Zen Buddhists who say that we can be entirely liberated. We can be liberated in attitude, but we are still within systems).

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