Practical philosophy expands our ecology of mind – attuning us to wisdom, love and beauty so we can live well with the Earth

Skilful ways of knowing are key for creative insights that align with ecological and social values.

Philosopher mentor-coach Dr Nikos Patedakis (formerly UC Santa Cruz, California) contributes practical ‘ecology of mind’ philosophy for my work and my ecoliteracy courses

I was delighted to receive an unsolicited review article on LinkedIn from Californian based philosopher, friend and mentor-coach Dr. Nikos Patedakis. In the article, Nikos enthusiastically responds to my recent article about my work that I had written for the US Minding Nature journal and online site (Winter 2019).

Encouragingly, Nikos frames my ecological art practice and my developing Haumea ecoliteracy courses to an expanding ‘ecology of mind’ – the term promoted by the original systems thinker, Gregory Bateson. Bateson in the 1970s, clearly identifies that the root of the ecological crises begins from our wrong perceptions of ourselves that enable unsustainable and unjust living. Western culture’s priorities too often ignore the plight of other peoples and the wellbeing of the greater Earth community. Bateson and others’ philosophical critiques of the ecological crises are an important part of my ecoliteracy teaching and I have valued mentoring from Nikos for my work in recent months.

Cathy’s “Haumea site will be of interest to a broad audience, including artists, educators, policy makers, and anyone concerned with increasing our ecological intelligence. Be sure to look at the blog, where Cathy posts about a wide range of issues and activities related to ecology, ecological sanity, and how we can wisely and gracefully navigate the climate crisis” (read Nikos’ full article here)

Dr. Nikos Patedakis (2019) The Art of Mind and the Path of True Success

Nikos has generously deepened my knowledge of understanding how ecological insights present an unprecedented paradigm shift for modern society. Of special value, Nikos has alerted me to recent neuroscience and philosophy advances that confirm meditative compassion practice can significantly help us as individuals approach the ecological emergency with calmness and insight (When Nikos taught at Univ. California in Santa Cruz he never taught philosophy about the ecological catastrophe, without first inviting students to develop practices of compassion for themselves).

Such self-care practices are so vital in whatever field we work in and are still so little addressed in mainstream discourse of the eco-social emergency (UK Prof. Jem Bendell’s Deep Adaptation Network Profession’s Network that is inviting input from leading eco-psychologists and others is another important arena for this developing discourse).

In my work, I have met creative workers and art educators who feel overwhelm and despair about the environmental-social catastrophes that are unfolding. Often sensitive to the social injustices and ecocidal destruction to begin with, they tell me it doesn’t feel inviting to engage in this topic or they worry that engaging in this topic would instrumentalize their creative energies to merely illustrating the science or solutions. These are valid concerns, but what the planetary emergency invites us to consider is that our entire modern culture will need compassionate reflection and creative insights for exploring ways of living that complement life. We will need creativity informed with ecoliteracy to foster the more beautiful, ecological era we know if possible.

From much reading and personal experience, I also know if we turn to face these troubling realities with a mind of compassion, we find opportunity for healing and many new insights for doing things differently. Most strikingly, creatives and artists are well placed to process the grief, cultivate love and remind us of the beauty of the Earth, through creative activity, and particularly when we work with others. Nikos’ has shared from cognitive science advances that self-compassion practices help us turn outward (they foster pro-social activity). Instead of sitting alone with the pain that leads us to feel hopeless, isolated or depressed, compassion practices can help us face realities but allow us to function in productive, collaborative and creative ways for personal and community wellbeing.

I am very particularly delighted that Nikos has generously offered to advise on some aspects of my workshop and soon to be launched pilot online course too. If you are interested in philosophical coaching, read more below

Interested in extraordinary one-to-one philosophical coaching-mentoring?

Nikos now offers mentoring-coaching in philosophical wisdom for deeper, more meaningful success for work in any field, from creativity to business, with a particular emphasis on skilful thinking for the emergent ecological era.

In the art and ecology field I work in, I can’t emphasise enough how Nikos’ mentoring has enriched my understanding that skilful thinking is incredibly necessary to align our creativity for ecological values and well-being beyond the individualism so often emphasised in some contemporary art training.

If your are interested in mentoring for your work, do contact Nikos at (Nikos especially likes working with creative people and also offers practices for those who own horses!) His resource page contains contemplations (podcasts) on the value of philosophy for living well today and several examples of compassion meditations – free to use. The generosity of these resources give a great overview of the special ways Nikos works.

Thank you so much Nikos for your work and this incredible, accessible and generous growing resource which is essential for anyone requiring practical, down-to-Earth philosophy – that is, more skilful love-wisdom practices – for these challenging times.

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