Saturday, December 19, 2009

Continuing Reinvention...

Thomas Berry's understanding of the nature of reality is dependent on several key concepts:

1. The Unity of the Universe.
The Universe as a whole is an interacting community of beings inseparably related in space and time. From its beginning the Universe has had a psychic-spiritual dimension. The Universe is a communion of subjects not a collection of objects.

2. Modes of Expression.
The Universe expresses itself at all levels of reality through differentiation (diversity), subjectivity (interiority, self-organization), and communion (intimacy, interrelatedness).

3. Cosmogenesis.
The Universe is a creative, emergent, evolutionary reality that has developed from the time of the primordial flaring forth, and is still developing, through a sequence of irreversible transformations.

The development and exposition of this understanding of the nature of reality is an essential part of the Ecozoic movement. This set of concepts has profound philosophical/metaphysical meaning. Teilhard de Chardin, drawing on his knowledge as a paleontologist, articulated these concepts. The most systematic elaboration of these concepts, however, is found in the writing of Alfred North Whitehead. Thus I propose that the Ecozoic movement would be constructively informed by Whitehead's process philosophy. Understanding this philosophical framework permits the application of the wisdom of the New Story to every dimension of human expression. Yet, as with Adams' work, unless process philosophy is grounded in an ecological context, it loses relevance, and, conversely, the process philosophy movement has much to gain from greater exposure to and understanding of the Ecozoic as articulated by Thomas Berry, Brian Swimme, Mary Evelyn Tucker, and others.

However, if the Ecozoic movement is to succeed, no one line of thought or set of understandings should become doctrine, not even Thomas Berry's. There are those who will disagree with the formulation of the nature of reality given above, and one very well known member of the Ecozoic movement has already objected on the basis that it is contrary to "emergent biology." Right living is far more important to the Ecozoic than right thinking. Yet, because we are human, our actions are guided by our thinking, therefore, as a movement, we cannot ignore dealing with our thinking, including those parts of our thinking that may be labeled "philosophical." Philosophy examines the basic presuppositions out of which humans operate and certainly those are in question and subject to examination and development in the move to the Ecozoic.

(Read entire article here.)

{Images Linked/Art by Jacek Yerka/Programming by DPC}

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