6/8/11: Integral Ecology

In this reading the author provides some western historical context of the various values given to human interiors throughout the ages, and relates it with modernity’s conception of nature. He uses this context to discuss the different meanings of “nature” utilizing the quadrant model of Ken Wilber’s Integral theory (Wilber’s 4 Quadrants below).

From Integral Ecology


The author clarifies 3 distinctions of the use of the word “nature,” by utilizing different spelling/capitalizations to distinguish the meanings intended by the word. “All three kinds of “nature” –NATURE, Nature, and nature—refer to actual dimensions of reality, but problems frequently arise when these three realms are confused with one another.” Thus, as I see it, the purpose for and usefulness of making these distinctions. Our professor intended to utilize this reading to provide the class with a tool to help us communicate during our discussion about the subjects and experiences that relevant to nature in the conext of “Deep Ecology.” I think it was a good idea, although some would disagree.

I first read this chapter when it was assigned in February in the class “Systems Thinking and Ecological Worldviews” taught by our current “Deep Ecology” TA, Colin Heaton. Having already read Wilber’s “A Brief History of Everything” before that gave me some context and familiarity with Integral Theory and it was easier to assimilate and cognize this information initially when I read it in February. Seeing part of Wilber’s framework applied to Ecology makes sense to me intuitively. The orderliness that Wilber frames out in his Theory seems appropriately applied to the subjects of Ecology and Systems Thinking, and I think it is obvious that the three are closely related. Exploring deep ecological concepts is greatly aided by, and seems to sometimes require a basic cognition of systems thinking and ecology. Integral Theory then is a nice compliment to our exploration because it is inherently philosophical, which naturally lends itself to deep ecological discussions.

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