Modern humans suffer terribly by cutting ourselves off from nature. But this separation is an illusion. All of us can find our way back – here’s how…
Sensing by David Abram (Mindfulness in Nature) – a seminar given in Stockholm in 2010.
David Abram (born June 24, 1957) is an American philosopher, cultural ecologist, and performance artist, best known for his work bridging the philosophical tradition of phenomenology with environmental and ecological issues. He is the author of Becoming Animal: An Earthly Cosmology (2010) and The Spell of the Sensuous: Perception and Language in a More-than-Human World (1996), for which he received, among other prizes, the international Lannan Literary Award for Nonfiction. Abram is founder and creative director of the Alliance for Wild Ethics (AWE); his essays on the cultural causes and consequences of ecological disarray have appeared often in such journals as Orion, Environmental Ethics, Parabola, Tikkun, and The Ecologist, as well as numerous anthologies.
In 1996 Abram coined the phrase “the more-than-human world” as a way of referring to earthly nature; the term was gradually adopted by other scholars, theorists, and activists, and has become a key phrase within the lingua franca of the broad ecological movement.
Abram was perhaps the first contemporary philosopher to advocate a reappraisal of “animism” as a complexly nuanced and uniquely viable worldview — one which roots human cognition in the sensitive and sentient human body, while affirming the ongoing entanglement of our bodily experience with the uncanny sentience of other animals (each of which encounters the same world that we perceive yet from an outrageously different angle and perspective). A close student of the traditional ecological knowledges embedded within the cosmo-visions of diverse indigenous peoples, Abram articulates the entwinement of human subjectivity not only with other animals, but with the varied sensitivities of the many plants upon which humans depend, as well as our cognitive entanglement with the collective sensitivity and sentience of the particular earthly “places,” or ecosystems, that surround and sustain our communities. In recent years his work has come to be associated with a broad movement loosely termed New Materialism, due to Abram’s espousal of a radically transformed sense of matter and materiality.