Direct sensuous reality, in all it’s more-than-human mystery, remains the sole solid touchstone for an experiential world now inundated with electronically-generated vistas and engineered pleasures; only in regular contact with the tangible ground and sky can we learn how to orient and to navigate in the multiple dimensions that now claim us.
David Abram, The Spell of the Sensuous1
Much of my thinking which informs the content I present on this website owes a significant debt to the work of the author Andy Fisher who, in his 2001 book Radical Ecopsychology, managed the impressive feat of weaving together a personal and compelling account of the emerging field of ecopsychology by drawing on hundreds of key sources, from ecologists like Paul Shepard and Gary Snyder to existential philosophers like Martin Heidegger and Maurice Merleau-Ponty.
Andy’s book has been a trusty companion on my journey over the last two years as I have begun a profound and exciting process of weaving ecopsychological ideas into my worldview. In the following pages I outline the four tasks I am beginning to engage in as a budding ecopsychologist and which I describe and reflect on in my blog. These fours tasks make up the project of ecopsychology as conceptualised by Andy in his book. They are:
As time passes and I develop my senses in order to interact more and more deeply and meaningfully with the primordial dimensions of myself and with the more-than-human world, I hope to develop my own distinct voice with which to describe a journey which I believe will involve a process of remembering and returning home. For the time being however my discourse hangs (sometimes precariously) on the words of mentors, elders and teachers like Andy. I hope they will forgive my occasional misunderstandings and plagiarisms as the well meaning folly of youth and inexperience.
A research project
It may already be clear to readers that I intend to engage in this project in as thorough and scholarly way as possible. Therefore it seems appropriate for me to choose a research method with some academic weight. Fisher notes the problems associated with any attempt to use modernist discourse to describe ecopsychological concerns, because there is not currently a shared language available to effectively bridge the gap between what ecopsychologists believe truly matters and what is considered legitimate within modernist discursive practice.2 Therefore, the language of positivism and objectivism which quantitive research methods utilise are anathema to a project which seeks to create a new language with which to share and understand ideas which question the very basis of modernity, insofar as it supports institutional discourses which maintain an anthropocentric view of the world. For the same reason, heuristic enquiry, with it’s commitment to the open exploration of subjective experience and creative synthesis, provides an ideal framework within which to continue this project.3
- Abram, D. (1997) The Spell of the Sensuous. New York: Vintage Books. p.x.
- Fisher, A. (2013). Radical Ecopsychology: Psychology in the Service of Life. New York, Albany: SUNY Press. pp.29-31.
- Moustakas, C. (1990) Heuristic Research: Design, Methodology and Applications. London: Sage. p.31.