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In discussing enlightenment, it is necessary to consider the change in perspective that accompanies such a radical shift. We are beset by dualistic thinking and the way we frame our perspectives, our personal and impersonal experiences, is beset by this philosophical bedrock. So what are the alternatives to the subject-object dualism we inherited from Mr René Descartes? In the latest episode of the Post-Traditional Buddhism Podcast, we interview Professor Adrian Ivakhiv, who shares his thinking around an alternative perspective, one based on viewing the world as process and as always in relationship. This view has much in common with Buddhism in which a truly separate self has no place and impermanence and inter-connection form the basis for our experience. The metaphors that emerge from viewing the world in this way lend themselves to the abandonment of anthropocentrism. This coupled with greater concern for the ‘us’ over the ‘I’ leads us inevitably towards greater environmental concern and deep questions concerning co-existence not just between races and nations, but with the other living and non-living creatures that inhabit this Earth.
Adrian is a Professor of Environmental Thought and Culture with a joint appointment in the Environmental Program and the Rubenstein School of Environment & Natural Resources. His research and teaching are focused at the intersections of ecology, culture, identity, religion, media, philosophy, and the creative arts. He is the author of Claiming Sacred Ground: Pilgrims and Politics at Glastonbury and Sedona (Indiana University Press, 2001) and Ecologies of the Moving Image: Cinema, Affect, and Nature (Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 2013), an executive editor of the Encyclopedia of Religion and Nature, a former president of the Environmental Studies Association of Canada, and on the editorial boards of several journals including Journal for the Study of Religion, Nature, and Culture, Green Letters, The Journal of Ecocriticism, and two book series in the environmental humanities.
Adrian’s interdisciplinary background includes work in the humanities, creative arts, and social sciences. Canadian by birth, his research on culture and environment has taken him to Kyiv (a.k.a. Kiev), Ukraine, and the Carpathian mountains of east central Europe, Cape Breton Island and Haida Gwaii off either coast of Canada, the U.S. Southwest, and southwest England. In a previous life as a choral conductor and ethno-psych-avant-garage-folk-punk-fusion musician, he performed at monasteries in Egypt, concert stages in Ukraine, and at the Canadian Parliament Buildings in Ottawa (honestly, once). When he isn’t teaching, researching, writing, or serving on committees (aargh), he makes music, hikes in the Green Mountains, eats Vermont’s artisanal cheeses, and reads The Nation, Grist, Spacing, and Ji Magazine. He has lived in Burlington since 2003. From his west-facing window he watches for Champ. He is the author of “Claiming Sacred Ground: Pilgrims and Politics at Glastonbury and Sedona” (Indiana University Press, 2001), “Ecologies of t he Moving Image: Cinema, Affect, and Nature” (Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 2013), an executive editor of the Encyclopedia of Religion and Nature (Thoemmes Continuum, 2005), and a former president of the Environmental Studies Association of Canada. His current writing projects include a book of popular philosophy entitled “Against Objects: Philosophical Living in the Shadow of the Anthropocene” and a book-length analysis and assessment of the environmental arts and humanities. He blogs at Immanence: EcoCulture, GeoPhilosophy, MediaPolitics (blog.uvm.edu/aivakhiv).
The sites below link to his work.
University website http://www.uvm.edu/~aivakhiv/
Immanence website http://blog.uvm.edu/aivakhiv/about/
Academia link http://vermont.academia.edu/AdrianIvakhiv