“In his classic work Wholeness and the Implicate Order the physicist David Bohm develops a theory of quantum physics that treats the totality of existence, including matter and consciousness, as an unbroken whole”.
In the on-ground course in the third of the 6 weekend workshops for the course ‘The Traditions, Art and Science of Herbal Medicine’ and after two weekends of immersion into ‘Engaging the Phenomena’ in plants, this totality is emerging between the group as a whole, to their experience of seeing plant/environment as a whole and each participants relationship to that. I see huge potential in developing a different research project.
As one participant put it – an exercise we had just been working with “…was an exercise to collectively find the plants wholeness”.
What was also emerging was that each person approach and world view contributed to this understanding of the ‘plants wholeness’ and that the two are inseparable.
The process we use has its foundation in the work of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe ( 1749-1832)
Dr Mark Gyopari wrote this about this process;
“Goethe was Germany’s Shakespeare better known for his plays and poems, rather than his scientific method (he coined the term ‘morphology’ and developed theories of colour and plant development)
Goethean science uses a radically different knowledge system or way of knowing to that associated with modern science – it is intrinsically qualitative and values-based and attends to both detail and to wholeness.
The method is one of intense and structured empiricism – applying rigorous and systematic attention to sensory and intuitive experience and directing conscious awareness to the very process of engagement. This pulls practitioners away from the analytical-intellectual mind and into a space of process, relationship and participation to achieve meaningful insights into the natural world and its hidden coherence – but a space that intentionally avoids the subjective or arbitrary projections or fantasies of individuals.
It is a science because it can offer a methodology for gaining reliable knowledge about the nature of reality. (Dr. Mark Gyopari, MSc student Schumacher College, 2009-2010) .
If you would like to know more (and this is shameless advertising) you can enrol now for the on-line course ‘The Traditions, Art and Science of Herbal Medicine’ on http://www.HerbCollege.com or join me for the on-ground option next October 2014.
Gathering Hypericum perforatum
There is also a connection between this experience and that defined by Arne Naess – a Norwegian Philosopher as ‘Deep Ecology’. An understanding of Deep Ecology goes beyond the mainstream view of Ecology as a sub-branch of Biology and describes a worldview that places the natural world outside of an anthropocentric environmental view. This dominant view continues to see the natural world as a resource for human use and we are experiencing an increase in tension worldwide between the use of the resources for profit (many conservation strategies are also about this i.e as a tourist destination or experience) and the view that sees the natural world as having inherent worth outside of profit or use. The participatory experience of ‘wholeness’ does change the way people see the natural world.
Does that mean we don’t use plants for food and medicine? No of course not but how we gather and use these is important. Seeing/participating in the plant’s expression of all of its relationships influences our decisions such as when, where and how much we gather plants for food and medicine.
What is happening at Viriditas in early summer?
I have learned a lot about irrigation, the importance of water in this dry land and how to work with its unique properties and that only it alone can inform.
The vegetable garden flourishes ( I am eating lots of broad beans, peas, raddichio, beetroot, beet greens, onions, garlic, radishes and cabbage tree kale) and with the help of SP the tunnel house has tomatoes, peppers, chilli, aubergine, courgettes and cucumbers. I learn from my neighbour that if you put a couple of black plastic 20 litre containers filled with water in the tunnel house, it will release heat at night and reduce the effects of any frost.
I have lots of tadploes in the pond, a couple of Quail families, lots of lizards, Tui. Fantails, Chaffinches, Yellow Hammers to name but a few.
Ferret – friend or foe…
I saw it, a long, furry and sleek being with a beautiful cheeky black and white face. It ran across my path, into the pile of rocks, popped up its head and fully engaged me for five minutes. So is it friend or foe in this garden? I read that its food by choice is rabbit – perfect. I need to keep those destructive beings down BUT it will eat quail, birds and other beings if it is hungry. There is always a complex story about any life form.
I will celebrate Summer Solstice by sleeping my first night on this land – up in the rock cave-like place.
I had several emails after my last post saying “was I all right?”
I wrote that piece because I had heard that people were taking inspiration from this huge project and I just wanted to say that there are and will be challenges in being a participant in any project such as this. I am fine, continue to be excited by it all and love it.
Maybe Next Post: Lots happening, the shed, the dwelling and the careful nurturing of all that I have introduced to this land.
Perhaps an index of the posts to date might be useful for people?