“Rest in reason and move in passion.”

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wood sorrel out this week, photo by me.

The primroses are heavy yellow just now, and the first of the wood sorrels are opening out to Spring’s luminosity. I can see them ~ the colours, the freshness ~ yet all feels rather grey.

It’s been a dark Winter for me and I am glad it’s all over. I expect to repay a personal and professional debt deep into the year, none-the-less, for over-zealous expectations and bitter disappointments. 

Reason and passion can provide us with a strong sense of purpose. And having that meaning in life, and in love, is grist against a flood of uncertainty. At all scales, I perceive great uncertainty.

The poet Kahlil Gibran wrote:

‘Your reason and your passion are the rudder and the sails of your seafaring soul. If either your sails or your rudder be broken, you can but toss and drift, or else be held at a standstill in mid-seas’.

Keeping ship-shape isn’t easy for me. My limbic system is both a burden and a blessing, and for reasons I’ve explained before. It’s definitely something I have to monitor, the riotous pain and raw sensibility. 

Too much reason is deadening. It takes away all the colour in life and love. And I need colour. Yet too much passion can burn me up in flames.

This last few months, I have purposefully allowed my passion-sails to fill with imagination and creativity. It’s been a very productive time in terms of my work. But I’ll take heed of Gibran now, resting in reason and moving in passion, because I’m just so tired of feeling adrift.

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Posted in Fluminism | 2 Comments

Floloca ~ A Reformation of Landscape.

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Red Kite over the Common. Photo by me.

I’ve been looking through the noun ‘landscape,’ as if it were a clear window to times past. The views have been sculpted like soft clay, utterances as form, receding to early human roots.

The earliest scene glimpsed through the word-window seems to be an area of open heath, stemming from the ancient proto indo-european word, lendh. There are no particular human-value connotations, though ‘open’ may imply an area wooded then cleared. Scape is derived from proto-germanic skapiz, meaning shape or condition. Old English sciepe, skipe, to Middle English, re-sculpted, maybe due to accent and pronunciation, to shippe. We now suffix words with ‘ship’ to mean something shaped or crafted. Land, shaped. But by whom? The Dutch use of schap and schape became influential in the art world, hence our more modern return to the ‘ape’ sound rather an ‘ip.’

Lendh Skapiz ~ Lant Scap ~ Land Schippe ~ Landscape.

So, as of today, the word landscape manifests all the visible features of an area of land, mainly in human aesthetic and cultural contexts. It can be poetic, artistic and passionately emotive. Landscape is also an adjective, a kind of socio-political policy, a designation, and with sense of scale often circumscribed on a map. At this scale, organised planning can take place. Design. Land management shaped to meet whichever goals agreed between (human) stakeholders. All at once, ‘landscape’ is packed with human value systems, sometimes in competition.

In attempting to be value-neutral ~ reductionist ~ I may describe an existential ‘landscape’ as a complexity of organic and inorganic assemblages, in and around geological features and anthropogenic constructions, perhaps bounded by 360 degree view to the horizon, but specifically from a human point of view. There is no heart in this description, of course; it does not reflect the reality of life, the intrinsic fluministic interconnectedness between species. Here’s where I begin my challenge. Landscape is an anthropocentrism. It is, therefore, loaded with potential to erode organic flows, causal to planetary harm, corallary to our proven misconceptions of a functional biosphere to date (The Anthropocene).

If we plan all at our own scale from human-eye-level, we are, ipso facto, co-ordinating actions for our own means. Such designations set boundaries defined by humans alone. Where does a landscape begin and end? How much is in our minds, derived from our sensibilities, experiences and memories? A line on the map delineates both beginning and end, similarly, National Park, SACs, SSSI and MCZ designations. Who are we to assume beginnings and ends? My research into ecological interconnectivity has blown apart the mere idea of such fabrications. We may perceive an edge, but species bind and overlap habitats as naturally as they do metabolise. There is ‘magic at the edges.’ Even the word ‘ecosystem’ falls away by the reality of life’s expansive porosity, both within us and without. Since the human imprint on this Earth has already reached such levels as to cause a global Heat Age, with extinctions and depauperations that will ensue for the next few thousand years, isn’t it about time we became a little more humble?

And yet landscapes exist to us, and we are nature. What about cultural values of landscape? Yes, of course they count. I cannot disregard them. As nature, we bring our pluralistic cultures to bear upon the world in which we live and the words that we use. There are good and bad, when it comes to biodiversity and abundance. To find fault with ‘good’ kinds of landscape, is at odds with my own views on wildlife interconnectivity ~ advocating interconnected corridors and riparian buffers in the face of unfettered human development. There is a strong case for forcing the pace, at landscape, nay, bioregional scale, to allow wild beings place for genetic diversity, foraging, climate refuge and resillience by abundance. But it is the word ‘allow’ that grates upon my fluministic tendencies and ‘landscape’ is way too generic.

Imagine a cake on a plate. We take a slice. The rest of the cake remains for others to share. Now imagine an empty plate, and it is our choice to add back a slice, when and how we see fit. First, to fill the plate with cake. And this will require self-restraint. But remember, we have also imagined the size of the plate! That we can map, but then model future outcomes on that map connotes intense anthropocentric ‘stewardship.’ Stewardship remains an intense form of dominion and human value conflicts clash as to what good and bad stewardship actually is. Again, the same human chauvenism manifests at the root of so many problems upon this good Earth ~ even if we choose to fill any sized plate with cake, it remains our choice alone.

Now, this goes to the heart of a key debate in environmental ethics ~ is anthropocentrism ever a good thing, or are there other ways to understand and value life? We are human, after all, and cannot pretend to be anything else. To value anything intrinsically is also a human value. But I argue (with others), it is also a universal value beyond human existence. All species have worth, because all is interconnected and this is life. It is the interconnections that create the complex organic life in our biosphere, and perhaps even beyond.

Many rationalists impress there is no other way to perceive this world ~ that’s it. We have our senses, a brain and the ability to create tools to enhance those senses. If this is so, we have little choice but to acknowldge landscape as a human construct and tailor it to our own desires.

But wait. We have evolved with imagination and empathy. Combine our ecological understanding with these key evolutionary traits and we may stand away from making such human-oriented decisions. We can imagine and empathise with a fly pollinating a flower, or a bat hunting for moths, or a scrub trying to succeed into woodland. And then we can let these things ‘be.’ I think I answer my own question, at least in part, by the idea that passivity in conservation and preservation is just as important to a fluministic world view, as hands-on proactivity. Any pro-activity primarily needs to be in stopping the anti-fluministic world view, instead working along the grain of nature in what we need to flourish, and no more. The rest may run wild, Earth’s biosphere being the ultimate plate-size.

More. New science and technological tools now inform we are holobionts, with symbionts within and outside of us, a community of mind microbial/viral and sometimes parasitic metamorphising species. With the discovery of the microbiome-gut-brain axis, ego-boundaries are somewhat of an incomplete picture, our selves being more porous as part of the dynamic flows of life process. When we refer to ourselves as “I” we really mean “we.” Humans have not always had the technical ability to create tools to extensively enhance our senses in trying to understand nature, even the nature within us. In the absence of such tools, other cultures, often older cultures, unify with the natural world in spiritual modalities. Some assume(d) animistic perspectives, sometimes gained in trance-like or spiritual states that may restructure prior knowledge, breaking down mental and ego boundaries. These moments are often induced by ingesting chemicals found in the natural world; hallucinogens, psychadelics. Those experiences are just as culturally valid an aspect to ‘being’ nature as using an electron microscope or involving oneself deeply in reading profound ‘nature writing,’ especially if they induce planetary wellbeing, of course.

There is a difference between land condition, as found, and land craft as a human skill. But if we also imagine early human cultures as intensely connected in natural flows of life, we might guess old or lost words may have implied the craft of all life, not just simian, not just human. Of course we now use landscape as a verb to describe human action ~ we “landscape” this world, with either soils or astroturf. All is at our mercy, and that’s a problem.

Interpreting the world from multi-species points of view, using imagination and empathy, I impress, is an important form of knowing. And that understanding feeds back in reflexivity to our own perceptions of existence.

Ponder for a moment, that new insight is emerging into ecological symbiosis and interconnected relationships as flow to an enhanced level of understanding organic participation in living processes. Imagining perspectives of other species in relation to flow surely is a pre-requisite. Some may argue that we are going beyond our remit in imagining the perspectives of other species in order to manage our own behaviours. Others say we would only anthropomorphise, regardless, especially those of a more reductionist perspective on life. From a human point of view, landscape is generally seen to the horizon. What if one was a migratory bird or a soil microbe? The views alter and, therefore, the best actions for the dynamic flows that exist between the two.

One can orientate by the Sun and the Moon, assess unique aspects of place, such as prevailing winds, humidity, to be celebrated, and be mindful of the connectivity of living systems. Each view we take-in during our lives is unique. Even if our feet were bound in concrete, the scene around us to the horizon would shapeshift through seasons, through death and also new life. Now climate change is upon us, to add even more uncertainty to the dynamism. Memories, imprints, now linger in our grey matter. And sometimes we embelish in a form of nostalgia or psychological fusing according to our emotions. Often, ghostly images or sounds merge in our minds to overlay a vision of a landscape, so that it is familiar. We may never have even experienced such landscapes.

The Dutch idea of landscape, a format in art lessons, a charicature of the Gilpinesque picturesque*, with golden rules of thirds, illusions of depth and a hint of the wilderness is till a prominent cultural influence. It has a frame around it, like a window, and I think we’ve framed the word ‘ecosystem,’ similarly. I now find the word landscape a kind of detachment. I would rather leave it in a Dutch gallery.

How does a blind person respond to a vista, seen through a lens, within a frame, flattened to two dimensions? When I am in that landscape, the word landscape falls sharply away. Whether this is home or somewhere new, there is community of living (and dead), beings. I may feel a part of that ecological community, or not, but it always affects my viscera, like a shockwave. I call it sanguimund, a feeling or emotion. It may well be that my sensibilities are receiving signals from the life within that community. It may well be those lives are perceiving my presence and responding. Perhaps, it is the consciousness of love. But I am glad I am aware of it, at least. I think all can find that awareness, even if all the questions are not answered.

So I offer floloca, in perceiving ‘place as flowing’, not simply as human, but conscious imagination along the dynamic matrix of life and death, and at a spectrum of scales. I also think it is a lovely word to say, adaptable, with no beginning, middle or end, and with the potential for plenty of reflexivity. But perhaps this is just me. Try saying it aloud and see what you think. I would be interested to hear your thoughts.

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*  Gilipin’s influential 18th Century vision “Observations on the River Wye” published 1872.

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Ben ~ the week after.

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My Ben came to the end of his life a week ago to the day. So many mixed emotions, but there was nothing else I could do. They come to you. They get old; they die. My daughter and I stroked his velvet ears, at home, as the vet injected him for the very last time. Painless and quick.

My mind, full of memories, has been in flux ever since. And it is a conscious effort to process all the questions that bubble up whilst submerged in grief. Most remain unanswered. The pain is searing, the whole thing so physical.

We lived closely at home, work and play; foot to paw. I knew every ripple of his coat, his transforming colours in the sunlight, the flecks in his irises. I knew his anxieties and frustrations. And he knew mine.

Ben loved the horizon. He could sit for hours and stare for miles. It was beautiful to watch. But he loved to track scent, yes, the wilder the better. On three continents, we explored. You might imagine.

King of the Wye, he was water boy. And he knew every scrap of Westhope Hill. He knew particular plants. And the Begwyns. And latterly, Sully Island. And Dunraven and Monknash. And Lanlay. And the canal, and then just the park. With my ex husband, it was a little different ~ Offas Dyke summits and Radnor pine forests for them. And moors and heather. A little more rangy, further, distant…

And Ben ran swiftest, like an arrow, with plants and soils underpaw. His favorite task was to explore new terrain in good company, the pack running ~ a seemingly unlimited flow of joy eminating from his timeless brown eyes and waggy brush-tail. So many moments and so many stories; bears, coyotes, porcupines, possums and even the most elegant monarch butterfly landing on his nose.

All we can hope for is to enjoy the best life with them, to care and love them as dogs. They aren’t chattels; they are deeply emotional beings with long memories for the pack and its forays. They don’t respond well at all to meaness. They like routine and need to feel part of the pack, never separate unless it’s their choice. Contact is essential, but not total dominance. When they are fearful, they get angry. There is trust, but it is earned. They love a sense of purpose. They bond via licks.

My Ben. I lived with a being that was 99% wolf for 16 years, whom I cared for as deeply as it is possible. If we were apart, we pined. Now it’s just me. We lived the life-shocks and lulls. He’s my blood.

He grew old and died. His name was Ben.

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The Queen’s Nectar Cup.

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Bombus lapidarius, the red-tailed bumblebee, photo by me.

“Quality is never an accident. It is always the result of intelligent effort. There must be the will to produce a superior thing.”

― John Ruskin

The banks of the river fell sharply away, just as Cormorant sunk beneath the surface like a lead weight. I traced her bubble fish-hunt until she popped up again like a charred log. With a smile, I acknowledged her ability. How did she learn this? Was it something innate, observational or was it by instruction? I returned my attention to the steep river bank, lowered myself over tussock and bramble, to find the sturdiness of a small shingle-cove. There I stood, rooted, feeling the vibrations of a rolling Afon Taff through my boots and into my bones.

I heard the buzz again; she was here somewhere.

I took a minute to observe the water. Sometimes at the river the best things happen when I have my back turned to it. This requires trust gleaned through experience. I’ve spent thousands of hours by rivers and they can be dangerous. Usually, I watch the flow for a good few minutes, and when all patterns are relatively steady and predictable, I’ll turn and face the hinterland.

Somewhat self-assured, but not entirely (I was in a hurry), I turned and leaned close to the bank to find my Queen. With one foot on the shingle and the other on tussock, my landward knee took all my weight and a pain shot through the ligaments. I winced and pondered; I am getting too old to be clambering about on tangled riverbanks. The thought terrified me, so I quickly threw it in the water with an old pebble I found in my pocket.

Queen Red-Tail, on the other hand, was born just last summer, as a gyne, a virgin bumblebee queen. She’d matured enough to fly and mate before winter, and after a lonely hibernation, has emerged to find reviving nectar and a new hollow somewhere along the Taff. For the last twenty minutes, I’d watched her forage among the daisies. Glistening wings blurred over her downy, black sphere, adapted from a long line of ancestors for cooler, lengthier, seasons. Perhaps, an inch long, her plump form is dusted, rear end, as if dipped in cinnabar.

My eyes strained to watch as she crawled through a few ivy leaves, wings beating at a low resonance. I could hardly tell her apart from the shadows. But then she disappeared down a black hole and was gone. Alice-like, I followed her into this strange under-world, a realm of springtails and earthworms and all manner of semi-aquatic life we humans cannot see. I had never thought of a queen bumble bee as a potholer before. But spelaeologist she is; a cave dweller, of her own scale, in a depth of blackness, water, and organic and mineral-matter.

Here, she will live in symbiosis with her own microbiome and other soil-life, making it comfy and warm, using soft fibres for lining. Here, she will be all-purveying through the colony’s social phase ~ producing worker daughters. Present, she is Bee-as-Dasein (Heidegger/Tao), existential of this world, active in caring now and for what comes next.

Leaning in again, I put my ear to the ground. When her delicate shuffling sounds dampened and stopped, I noticed a ball of wet moss and twigs to the side of the entrance. I couldn’t resist rolling it sideways to see what I could see. The ball of moss went deeper than expected, a good few inches, and with a pang of guilt searing through me as I observed my Queen in her hollow. I gazed for only a couple of seconds and her eyes glinted. Right next to her was a little wax pot full of nectar.

I quickly replaced the moss to avoid more disturbance, so what I write next is my memory from that moment of voyeurism. A cup is a better description than a pot. Its surface was reddish and marginally scaly. Curvacious to organic perfection, a wide brim narrowed to a smaller flat base, but its thickness was fairly uniform. Inside, a dark liquid shone like molasses.

This is her fuel; a honey store of energy for colder days, when she is bound to stay inside, dipping her feathery tongue into its goodness. She’ll need it for incubating eggs and keeping all warm by shivering her muscles. Together, the cup and the nectar are mindfulness manifest (McEvilley); more than art and techne. This is Queen Red-Tail Phronesis, an evolved practical wisdom, and I contend as high a knowing as any epistemological concept. And she will make more cups, in time, and fill them for the good of the colony ~ an enactment of care for process; essence of intelligent bumblebee, and on through her genetic line.

She has made it from a waxy substance secreted in small flakes from between her chitinous, abdominal plates. With her feet and, perhaps, her mandibles, saliva and microbes, she softens the material and crafts this vessel with utter devotion. Her masterpiece is of her own body. It is part of her. This IS her: Matriarch. The wax itself emits scent, pheromones, cues, that control the fertility of her worker daughters in the language of chemistry. Without her bee-biosemiotics, the colony would overpopulate, malfunction, with disorder and suffering due to shortages of food.

How does she know what to do, why and how to care for herself and her family in this way? Is it learned very early from others whilst in larval stage the previous year, or is this something deeply innate, hard-wired, like a human baby seeks her mother’s breast at birth? Queen Red-Tail has also crafted pollen balls upon which she lays her eggs to hatch out and feed; such preparedness for what comes about in the following months. And in doing so, she will pollinate many plants. It is a pure devotion to her cause and that of her offspring. It is love. Why not? Bees are emotional beings.

On she will go for a while, making more nectar cups and foraging food for her offspring. She’ll keep them warm until matured, and then they’ll assume many of her tasks. They will cool the nest in high summer by wafting fresh air inside from the entrance, and find food for the colony, leaving more scent trails on flowers as signals to others.

But Queen is now bound to her underground existence, never to leave again. She will produce the next brood using sperm stored in her body from last year, new gynes and males who will abandon the nest to find new mates and start anew. Then she will die and her end will come in Autumn. All will wither, including her nectar cups, to return to dust to begin once more as life, unchartered. This is her gift to the soil.

I gazed at the ball of moss for a while longer and all remained still. Queen was underneath, getting ready to lay eggs, my guilt feeling a little assuaged. I turned again to the river. Plastic drinks bottles bobbed in the shallows and a mallard furiously peddled away from me in a downstream-diagonal. I waded in to retrieve the rubbish, as slabs of brown Taff water slumped south towards the artifice of Cardiff Bay. From there, the water will make its way to the sluish gates and drop to the monster tides of the Severn Sea. And I considered, from bee to sea, there is presence, lives in process, an intelligent, interconnected craft. It is a superior thing, fluminism, and inspires our own participation and wilful devotion to life on this rare planet.

With love.

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The Manukau Light ~ a little (true) story.

There once was a time when I was out of my head on benzodiazepines, and as sleepless as the City That Never Sleeps.

Delivered by pumpkin-mice-magic (I can’t remember the car journey), I had found myself at the Cardinal Clinic, Windsor, to be treated intensively for PTSD.

Peak Fall. Crisp, clear days; the birds sang brightly and squirrels danced in the trees. But I could not engage. I could neither look nor listen. Burned into my memory was the vision of my mother, dead from suicide, in a blue nighty I’d bought for her birthday.

My Prince, based at the clinic that was once a King’s hunting lodge, was an ex-Gurkha Regiment psychiatrist. A specialist in trauma, he rescued me with Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing.

Nothing had felt real. I had dissociated with everyone bar my daughter and dog. But they were far away from me now, protected from my despair.

My body was a blithering, vigilant wreck. Electric-edged dreams woke me at every turn, and in just three months, I’d shrunk, dear Alice-in-Trauma-land, from my usual size 14 to a 10. Everything blue was trigger, even the sky.  I thought I would follow my mother.

EMDR began working, and I found sleep again. There but for the grace of God go I.

I still felt lost and disconnected.

And then, one morning, a Fairy Queen appeared in the group therapy room, like a vision. A therapist in creative writing, she conjured the idea in me that I had a future. She offered me her pen, like a wand.

Only the year before, had we had been living in New Zealand. I cherished my time with my little girl in West Auckland. Whilst my husband worked downtown in an office, we would explore the rich, Waitakere forest, full of birdsong, as it tumbled south to the Munukau Harbour and its northern shores. We’d visit the beaches ~ Armour, Kakamatua, Cornwallis and Huia ~ per chance to glimpse a Maui’s dolphin (we never did).

From high over Whatipu, we would gaze south out over rolling waves; the harbour straights and to the Manukau Heads Lighthouse. As night fell, a strong beam of light reached far out over the Tasman Sea, as if trying to find something lost.

A visit home to my mother for Christmas, and I noticed the light had dimmed in her once sparkly eyes. My daughter, in her arms, put that sparkle right back. There were other reasons too, but we sold-up and arrived back in the UK to help. I was mistaken. I could not help. My mother worsened and she slipped through my fingers. I was devastated.

And so here I was, in a group therapy room with a pen-wand and a blank page.

And I wrote a story, for my daughter, in spider-writing, and I called it The Manukau Light.

Later that day, in front of a raging, log fire, surrounded by sensitive souls, I was asked to read the story out loud. When I was finished, they applauded. And, at once, I felt legitimate, reconnected and safe.

One fellow inpatient, a talented artist, asked me to draw the scene; the waves, the lighthouse and the light. She warmly offered me art materials. So right there, I drew a sketch. She asked if she could keep it. So I gave it to her.

A few weeks later (these things take time), I came home to my little family. My father, still grieving himself, bought each of his daughters an art desk for Christmas. My sister continued to draw until her stroke last year. I illustrated the Manukau Light, for my daughter, then folded away my desk as soon as it was done.

The magic was over, and it was time to continue real life, no matter how hard. And I am still on that continuum.

The Manukau Light?  My daughter loves the story, still, and we hope to publish it one day. Meanwhile, as darkness falls, we imagine the light reaching far over the Tasman sea, at last finding that lost something, after all.

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Illustration by me.

(A young girl runs towards a small lighthouse, ferns and a monarch butterfly on milkweed flowers in the foreground).

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Shirley, my good friend, was a fellow inpatient at the Cardinal Clinic during my stay… she has kindly given me permission to post here.

Shirley: Oh, Ginny, you have such a wonderful, descriptive style. That coupled with your gentle voice makes anything you write, such a joy to listen to. That was memory-provoking for me; I was flashing back in my mind to the scenes and groups that you describe. I remember your drawing too! The fact you can narrate such devastating and painful experiences shows how far you have come on your journey. Kudos to you for your strength of mind and soul. You are a true gem in a world of grey stone. xxx

Ginny: Shirley, this is so kind and thoughtful! I wondered whether you would remember. We all have our stories. That living room was a safe place for me, surrounded by you all, reconnecting with you all. I am trying to get the story published now. It may take some time. I hope you can find solace in that we are both still going despite the bumps! Sending love to you. Xxx

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Abstract ~ Love and ecology as an integrative force for good and as resistance to the commodification of nature and planetary harms: Introducing Fluminism.

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Shiro of Hyphae, by me.

ABSTRACT

Key planetary boundaries are being exceeded by anthropogenic impacts, and at some pace (Rockstrom, et al). Climate change and biodiversity decline, consequences of hu- man/nature discordance, are impacting all aspects of human and non-human life and in all places on the planet. Human dominion has extended in the form of socio-political orientation towards the globalised, capitalist economy, and in particular to the ‘tragedy’ of limitless growth (Plumwood, Castree). In the UK, the principal approach to nature conservation from the scientific community is now hegemonic financialisation and Nat- ural Capital accounting (Daily, et al), a glove to fit the neoliberal ‘invisible hand’ (Adam Smith). Depersonalisation and reductionism persists as non-human nature is simply deemed utility to humans ~ Natural Resources ~ when in fact nature is an ever dynamic and complex matrix/flow, of individual lives and supporting elements, forming inter- connections, of which we are a part. I present Fluminism, a new love ethic and philo- sophical position, alternative to biocentrism (Taylor), ecocentrism (Naess) and anthro- pocentrism (Passmore), and innately insubordinate to the consumption patterns of a di- visive and distorted socio-political and economic value system. Emotion and rationale are inseparable (Milton), and in terms of axiology, love is largely incommensurable with commodification and, therefore, I propose Fluministic love serves to resist the debasing of nature by market force. I defend the use of neologisms and introduce Spring Theory to help redefine human language as evolutionary and part of the flow.

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Ginny Battson, University of Wales Trinity Saint David, Lampeter.

31 January 2018.

MA Applied Philosophy.

 

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Eco-Feminist? Notes.

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Female mallard, by me.

UK nature, animal and conservation charities ~ some founded and inspired by courageous Victorian women such as Octavia Hill, Beatrix Potter, Anna Sewell, Alice Drakoules, Emily Williamson, Eliza Phillips ~ have been increasingly dominated by a patriarchal economy and scientific reductionism.

I’m here to say that emotions are absolutely vital. Cast off as irrational, the domain of the inferior female mind, weak, unreliable, emotions are far from it. They are evolutionary drivers of change. Lest we forget.

As humans, we are part of nature. The love we humans feel is a also a force in non-human ecological relationships (I argue via my soon-to-be-submitted Masters thesis), and a powerful one; a force that is inherent in life’s positive, generative interconnections and processes (Fluminism).

This is my secular perspective, based on ecological studies of mycelium/tree biosemiotics, cross pollination and the microbiome (within to without ourselves). I propose there is, and always has been, more relevance of co-operation over competition.

Biocentrism, Ecocentrism and new Anthropocentrism are cited largely by men in this field (Taylor, Naess, Fox, Sessions, Attfield, Passmore, et al). My work contributes to the academic field of enviroethics, in that it is the interconnections that are of primary value, ulitimately preserving both individals AND the whole, co-operatively, as opposed to a competitive-based fabrication of choice.

“Male-centredness (a good parallel in some ways to human-centredness), can be damaging to men as well as to women. It makes men insensitive to dependencies as interconnections, as well as devaluing women.” Val Plumwood.

Does it matter now that I am a woman, particularly a British woman, presenting fluminism? I think so, though I am yet to explore this in detail and, hence, vigorously defend. What do you think?

What I am sure of is that love, as a doing word, and an ‘ethic of care’ (Carol Gilligan), ensures continuance & proliferation of natural relationships, interactions and processes.

Everything merges, overlaps, blends, co-exists. Boundaries once thought impenetrable are now being found porous. Even taxonomists are finding this out. Life is complex; cosmological to quantum, and our values need to catch up with that reality.

 

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Poem for Buzzard

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We played the common land this evening,

dipped the bumps: the hawthorn pits,
while a buzzard observed our sport
from a noble branch of sloe.
Buzzard reserved her verdict as the aviary ceiling
closed above us, swallowing the stars.
When she had vanished, we strolled
far into the dark, hollow grove
recalling her quiet perceptions.
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Poem and image by me.

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But a tiny grain of protoplasm…

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Woodland Edge, photo by me.

“As our mother earth is a mere speck in the sunbeam in the illimitable universe, so man himself is but a tiny grain of protoplasm in the perishable framework of organic nature. [This] clearly indicates the true place of man in nature, but it dissipates the prevalent illusion of man’s supreme importance and the arrogance with which he sets himself apart from the illimitable universe and exalts himself to the position of its most valuable element.”

~ Ernst Haeckel, The Riddle of the Universe

Prometheus Books, 1900

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Fluminism: Summary of its place in epistemology of environmental ethics.

In correspondence with my tutor…

“The big point I am making, is that unlike holism, deep ecology, Naess, I am suggesting it is the interconnections/processes, the doing, the perpetuation of life, love as a doing word, not the overall ecosystem which require the vital protective emphasis and focus. The problem with holism is that it reduces the worth of the individual. For example, farming is a kind of holism, ecocentrism (Leopold), but species are worth killing for the good of the idea of what is ‘whole’ by the farmer. Instead, by valuing the processes, individuals are generally indispensible. I disagree with the main tennet of deep ecology that the whole, including non-organics, is worth more than the individual. I have been highly biocentric as a rule, but I also think that biocentrism does not recognise the dynamic nature of nature. So I have come up with something I cannot find reference to. It is new, I think. This is the reason for the neologism, fluminism.”

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