As humans, our senses of perception were formed and fine-tuned over millennia in a symbiotic evolutionary process with the more-than-human world. The sound of geese calling, or wolves howling was not the sound of inanimate objects in an external terrain, but a conversation that included humans as participatory members in the family of all things. This event is about reconnecting with the natural world, and with ourselves as nature. By re-tuning our senses to the more-than-human, and surrendering to the spell of the sensuous, the riotous wonder of the natural world can help us sense our way back toward being fully human.
“Humans, like other animals, are shaped by the places they inhabit, both individually and collectively. Our bodily rhythms, our moods, cycles of creativity and stillness, even our thoughts are readily engaged and influenced by seasonal patterns in the land. Yet our organic attunement to the local earth is thwarted by our ever-increasing intercourse with our own signs. Transfixed by our technologies, we short-circuit the sensorial reciprocity between our breathing bodies and the bodily terrain. Human awareness folds in upon itself, and the senses – once the crucial
site of our engagement with the wild and animate earth –
become mere adjuncts of an isolate and abstract mind
bent on overcoming an organic reality that now seems
disturbingly aloof and arbitrary.”
— David Abram
In this special 60-minute event you’ll:
- Discover the connection between the severed relationship with wild nature and the loss of our full capacity to be human.
- Explore the philosophy of phenomenology - the study of direct experience, which “suggests that the human mind was thoroughly dependent upon, and thoroughly influenced by our forgotten relations with the encompassing earth.”
- Receive practices for connecting with the more-than-human world through sensory attention and awareness.
- Sharing stories from his own life, he’ll show us how the more-than-human world speaks to and through us.
- Hear about the upcoming two-session Book Club with David, which he will personally host on Thursday, June 27 & July 11 at 5:30pm PST. We’ll be discussing David’s seminal book, The Spell of the Sensuous.
Praise for David Abram
“Abram’s Spell must be praised. It’s so well done, well written, well thought. I know of no work more valuable for shifting our thinking and feeling about the place of humans in the world.”
— James Hillman, author of The Soul’s Code
“The wind, the rain, the mountains and rivers, the woodlands and meadows and all their inhabitants; we need these perhaps even more for our psyche than for our physical survival. No one that I know of has presented all this with the literary skill as well as the understanding that we find in this work of David Abram. It should be one of the most widely read and discussed books of these times.”
— Thomas Berry, author of The Dream of the Earth
“A masterpiece — combining poetic passion with intellectual rigor and daring. Electric with energy, it offers us a new approach to scholarly inquiry: as a fully embodied human animal. It opens pathways and vistas that will be fruitfully explored for years, indeed for generations, to come.”
— Joanna Macy, translator of Rainer Maria Rilke’s The Book of Hours
“This is a landmark book. Scholars will doubtless recognize its brilliance, but they may overlook the most important part of Abram’s achievement: he has written the best instruction manual yet for becoming fully human. I walked outside when I was done and the world was a different place.”
— Bill McKibben, author of The End of Nature
“Disclosing the sentience of all nature, and revealing the unsuspected effect of the more-than-human on our language and our lives, in unprecedented fashion, Abram generates true philosophy for the twenty-first century.”
— Lynn Margulis, originator of the Gaia Hypothesis, author of What Is Life?
About David Abram
David Abram – cultural ecologist, geophilosopher, and performance artist – is the author of Becoming Animal: An Earthly Cosmology, and The Spell of the Sensuous: Perception and Language in a More-than-Human World. Hailed as “revolutionary” by the Los Angeles Times, as “daring” and “truly original” by Science, David’s work has been instrumental in catalyzing the emergence of several new disciplines, including the burgeoning field of ecopsychology. His essays on the cultural causes and consequences of environmental disarray are published in numerous magazines, scholarly journals, and anthologies. A recipient of the international Lannan Literary Award, as well as fellowships from the Rockefeller and the Watson Foundations, in 2014 he was elected a Fellow of Schumacher College. In the same year, David held the honorary Arne Naess Chair in Global Justice and Ecology at the University of Oslo. Dr. Abram’s work engages the ecological depths of the imagination, exploring the ways in which sensory perception, poetics, and wonder inform the relation between the human body and the breathing earth. His philosophical craft is profoundly informed by the European tradition of phenomenology (in particular, by the work of the French phenomenologist, Maurice Merleau-Ponty) and by his fieldwork with indigenous peoples in southeast Asia and North America. Abram’s writing has been nourished by his friendships with the archetypal psychologist James Hillman, the Gaian biologist Lynn Margulis and the radical social critic, Ivan Illich — as well as by his esteem for the American poet Gary Snyder and the farmer and novelist Wendell Berry. Abram’s ideas have often been discussed and debated (sometimes heatedly) within the pages of various academic journals, including Environmental Ethics and the Journal of Environmental Philosophy. Creative Director of the Alliance for Wild Ethics (AWE), David lives with wife and two children in the foothills of the southern Rockies.