1. Nature Is Sacred Medicine Second Discussion in the Nature and Medicine Series Dr.John C. Hughes, D.O. ACES at Hallum Lake Aspen, CO August 1, 2012
2. Nature is Sacred Medicine I. Introduction: We ARE Nature-Review II. Are you Sacred? What Does “Sacred” Mean? III. A Path to the Sacred: Natural Philosophy versus Baconian Science? IV. Is Nature imbued with Cosmological Purpose and Awe or Utilitarian Ends? V. Sacred Nature is Medicine
3. Review: Nature is Sacred Medicine We Are Animals (Mammals) We are like all Sentient Beings: Conscious and Alive We are Wild Beings We have Natural, Animal Minds If Nature is Medicine, the Medicine is You
4. Review: We ARE Wild Beings, Inside and Out Think about the minds of these wild creatures we seek are: Independent, yet part of the web of life Free to live out a natural destiny in accordance with their genes and habitat Subject to the laws of Nature Not caged in (including cages from a religion, career advancement, parents, philosophy, etc) But guided and taught by elders in accordance with their instincts, intellect, and intuition
5. Review: The Medicine is You: Nature in Present Form The Medicine is not about getting out into Nature, but rather it is embracing yourself as Nature As a Natural being, you are fully empowered by Nature: as a mammal (powerful and wild) with friends everywhere as free and yet interdependent upon the web of life as whole-minded and fully aware of your world as unafraid of Nature and able to take risks that increase your fitness
6. You ARE Nature: You ARE the Medicine
7. Are You Sacred? What is Sacred? Sacred: (Looks like “Scared”): worthy of respect or devotion; or inspiring awe; may be ascribed to places, people, times, objects, deities, etc. Raise your hand if you are sacred Why? Why Not?
8. Are You Sacred? What is Sacred? Sacred: (Looks like “Scared”): worthy of respect or devotion; or inspiring awe; may be ascribed to places, people, times, objects, deities, etc. Raise your hand if you are sacred Why? Why Not?
9. What is Sacred? What is Sacred in your life? Your beliefs, Your family, Your Country, Your Life, Your mountains? Hallam Lake? There is an inscription on a bench by Hallam Lake that goes “All that I see teaches me to believe what I cannot see.” Dag Hammarskjöld Ok, only the “Invisible is Sacred?” So only spiritual things (the invisible) are sacred?
10. What is Sacred? Is Nature Sacred? Or is it profane? Can it be either one? How we get to a sacred Nature? Can we understand Nature as a Sacred Mother? Do we Study Nature through Modern Science to gain her Sacred Medicine? Or is there another path?
11. A Sacred Earth
12. A Path to the Sacred: Natural Philosophy versus Baconian Science? What are we talking about? A path to the Sacred in Nature? An “epistemological” path? Epistemology means “How We Know What We Know” Baconian Science (and Naturalism): The belief that the only valid epistemology for humanity’s understanding of the entire universe is modern scientific inquiry For naturalists, modern scientific inquiry means the acquisition of knowledge that can be discovered only by the five senses (taste, touch, sight, sound, and physical feeling) through the scientific method.
13. A Path to the Sacred: The Scientific Method? Observe (through the physical senses) a phenomenon (I see blue color up in the air) Offer a hypothesis (The sky is blue during the day) Make predictions (The sky will be blue tomorrow in the day) Test the prediction with an experiment (Go outside tomorrow and look up) Repeat last 2 steps until predictions and experimental findings produce a theory
14. A Path to the Sacred: Baconian Science? All other epistemologies–belief, faith, intuitive feeling, love, instinct, contemplation, even reason (apart from the senses) have no place in the universe of the naturalist In the mind of the naturalist, “Reason”, and rational beings are supreme The physical world exists as a place to assert reason’s dominance (through a scientific method type of epistemology) Reason derives from within an entity called the “individual”
15. A Path to the Sacred: Baconian Science? In short, Reason equals “rational control over Nature” by the individual (an entity now separate from Nature) Control may be just another word for manipulation or exploitation all subject to the “rational” desire of one individual Examples of the path of Baconian Science may include pornography, prostitution, natural gas drilling, allopathic medicine, etc The goal of these activities is a utilitarian end
16. A Path to the Sacred: Baconian Science? In sum, Baconian Science (aka Modern Science) as a epistemological belief means: Rational control over Nature by human individuals Human use is the primary reason for Nature’s existence (utilitarianism) Humans are superior to Nature Humans are not Nature Nature has no inherent purpose
17. A Path to the Sacred: Modern Science? Offshore Oil Drilling A Hydraulic Fracking Truck
18. A Path to the Sacred: Modern Science? Hydraulic Fracking Mountaintop Coal Mining
19. A Path to the Sacred: Natural Philosophy? Another “epistemological” path? Natural Philosophy: Natural philosophy or the philosophy of Nature (from Latin philosophia naturalis) was the study of Nature and the physical universe that was dominant before modern science.
20. A Path to the Sacred: Natural Philosophy? Aristotle is considered the father of Natural Philosophy For Aristotle, the most exact science deals with 1st principles (nature of being) and ultimate ends Aristotle’s “ultimate science” has as its primary concern knowledge and awareness
21. A Path to the Sacred: Natural Philosophy? On the contrary, for Aristotle, “ancillary science” deals with the utilitarian and productive aspects of the universe and is thus less authoritative The pursuit of “ultimate science” begins with wonderment (of the stars, moon, origin of life, cosmology) which inspires one to acquire knowledge
22. A Path to the Sacred: Natural Philosophy? For Aristotle (along with other ancients like Plato), “reason” (especially scientific reason), is consistent with the order of cosmology That is, the cosmos has a particular, normative order–an order in which the moon travels around the earth, an order of how plants grow and develop, and even an order about how humans act
23. A Path to the Sacred: Natural Philosophy? Humans can understand, connect with, and participate in the cosmic order through “reasoning” thus become more aware In fact, for Aristotle the very purpose of “scientific reasoning” is greater synchronization with and awareness of the cosmic order The methodology of Aristotle’s premodern scientific reasoning includes what we know through deductive or inductive reason, contemplation, feeling, intuition, and higher ways of awareness (eg. revelation)
24. A Path to the Sacred: Natural Philosophy? In sum, the path of Natural Philosophy is one of: cosmological order and purpose rational synchrony with that order wonderment and awareness contemplation and intuition
25. A Path to the Sacred: Natural Philosophy? In sum, the path of Natural Philosophy is one of: cosmological order and purpose rational synchrony with that order wonderment and awareness contemplation and intuition
26. A Path to the Sacred: Natural Philosophy?
27. The Ultimate Question: Is Nature Imbued with Cosmological Purpose or Utilitarian Ends? This is this the jumping point. Is Nature is imbued with cosmological purpose, reason, and awareness (Aristotle’s Natural Philosophy) And does Nature inspire contemplation, awe and wonderment? If the above are affirmative, “Nature is Sacred” If Nature is simply utilitarian (subject to Baconian Science), it is not likely to be respected or held in awe (it may be seen as profane, other, and to be conquered)
28. The Ultimate Sacred Question: Is Nature Imbued with Cosmological Purpose or Utilitarian Ends? Also, if Nature is simply part of our scientific experiment, we (the experimenters) are separate from Nature (We are the objective scientists) And if separate from Nature, we must be entities not subject to laws of the body (the animal) or the earth itself Hence, humans can control everything else (including our bodies, animals, plants, and the rest of the earth) as means to our personal ends
29. The Ultimate Sacred Question: Is Nature Imbued with Cosmological Purpose or Utilitarian Ends? A great example of the Baconian belief system Jerry Falwell, Baptist minister and televangelist stated, “God created plants, oceans, and the beasts of the earth all for the use of man.” –Outside Magazine’s list of top 20 counter- environmentalists
30. The Ultimate Sacred Question: Is Nature Imbued with Cosmological Purpose or Utilitarian Ends? Nature’s only benefit and value is in its utility and efficacy to humans qua human rational mind In this sense, without a sacred essence and purpose, Nature is no more medicinal to humans than any other plastic tool, microwave dinner, or LCD screen
31. The Ultimate Sacred Answer? The IPAD
32. Sacred Nature Is Medicine
33. Sacred Nature Is Medicine If a man walk in the woods for love of them half of each day, he is in danger of being regarded as a loafer; but if he spends his whole day as a speculator, shearing off those woods and making earth bald before her time, he is esteemed an industrious and enterprising citizen. As if a town had no interest in its forests but to cut them down! –Henry David Thoreau
34. Sacred Nature Is Medicine: Help from a Romantic The Romantic Movement (beginning in the early 18th century) arose in response to the Modern Scientific perspective and includes authors such as Rousseau, Emerson, Thoreau, Wordsworth, Yeats, and Blake These authors stood in the face of the Cartesian dualism, utilitarianism, rational mechanistic control, emotionless empiricism, and the abuse of Nature by the Baconians They sought the reunion of body and soul through the honor of Nature and all her aspects
35. Sacred Nature Is Medicine: Help from a Romantic [Nature’s] enchantments are medicinal, they sober and heal us. These are plain pleasures, kindly and native to us. We… make friends with matter, which the ambitious chatter of the schools would persuade us to despise. We can never part with it; the mind loves its old home: as water to our thirst, so is the rock, the ground, to our eyes, and hands, and feet. It is firm water: it is cold flame: what health, what affinity! –Ralph Waldo Emerson
36. Sacred Nature Is Medicine: Do You Have a Deficit? Research today links our mental, physical, and spiritual health with Nature Thoughtful exposure of young kids to natural settings can be a therapy for attention deficit disorder (Louv, p.3) “The best predictor of preschool children’s physical activity is simply being outdoors” (Louv, p. 32) Joggers who exercise in green, natural settings with trees and landscape views feel less angry, depressed, and anxious than those who burn the same calories in the gym (Louv, p. 49)
37. Sacred Nature Is Medicine: Do You Have a Deficit? According to Jerry Hirshberg (head of Nissan Design International), American creativity comes largely from our freedom, our space–our physical, natural space and our mental space (Louv, p. 97) Detachment of education from the physical world (aka recess) has correlated with childhood obesity and diminished mental acuity and concentration (Louv, p. 100)
38. Sacred Nature Is Medicine: A Simple Course Take a course in good water and air; and in the eternal youth of Nature you may renew your own. Go quietly, alone; no harm will befall you. –John Muir
39. Sacred Nature Is Medicine: A Howling, Loving Mother Here is this vast, savage, howling mother of ours, Nature, lying all around, with such beauty, and such affection for her children…and yet we are so early weaned from her breast to society, to that culture which is exclusively an interaction of man on man. –Henry David Thoreau