Transformative Learning through the Senses
In November 2011, a small group of men and women – all having connections with Schumacher College – gathered in the Spanish Asturias Northern Spain to begin working together through Trans-formative Learning with the aim of addressing the global crisis that humanity, and all of life on our planet, are facing. We are inspired by leading ecological thinkers and activists such as Vandana Shiva, Satish Kumar, Brian Goodwin, Fritjof Capra, Arne Naess and David Abram, who acknowledge the nature of the global crisis to be fundamentally one of perception, and have become integral parts of an emerging field of holistic thinking and cultivated deep ecological awareness. We see ourselves as part of this growing movement involving an important change of world view.
We perceive our current global crisis as a myriad of socio-ecological conflicts that threaten to affect irreversibly the life supporting system of our planet, named ‘Gaia’ by James Lovelock and Lynn Margulis to reflect her status as a complex self-regulating entity.
‘Ultimately these problems must be seen as just different facets of one single crisis, which is largely a crisis of perception. It derives from the fact that most of us, and especially our large social institutions, subscribe to the concepts of an outdated world view, a perception of reality inadequate for dealing with our overpopulated, globally interconnected world’.
– Fritjof Capra, The Web of Life
For us, this speaks to the fact that as a species we have succumbed to an illusion of disconnection from the rest of life on Earth. A long evolution in human thinking has brought us to a point where we see ourselves as detached from nature, whereas in truth we are nature. This world view has become so thoroughly embedded that we largely forgotten how vital our connections are with the rest of the natural world. We have forgotten how to interact with the rest of life on earth, and so slowly that we didn’t see it happening, we’ve developed a culture in which it’s all right to destroy habitats and species for our own short term gain. We’ve somehow lost sense of the interconnected whole of which we’re a part – and now through our amazing activities we’re putting that glorious whole at grave risk.
Our small group shares the positive and constructive feeling that the paths needed to resolve the socio-ecological conflicts of today can be navigated by new (that is, long-forgotten by humanity) ways of knowing, understanding and valuing our living world. We plan to support each other, and those who join us, in developing attributes that simultaneously co-create a deep ecological perception and awareness.
‘The problems that exist in the world today cannot be solved at the same level of thinking that created them.’