by Miriam Knight April 30, 2015
Original thinking by Glenn Parry
This book is modest and intimate in tone, but vast and lofty in ambition. History and folk tales weave through the narrative like warp and weft, while nature provides the ancient patterns that we have forgotten. Parry explores the devolution of our relationship with nature from regarding her as mother and teacher to becoming a source of riches to be plundered or an adversary to be mastered. Original thinking perceives life as an integral whole, fed by knowledge and inspiration from the natural environment.
There was a turning point in art history when the ability to depict perspective took us outside of the frame where we became the observer rather than an integral part of the picture. This illustrated both a conceptual and spiritual separation from what was observed that culminated in the age of reason, and the dominance of rational thought over feeling and intuition. While we gained the ability to develop science, mathematics and technology, it came at the cost of our estrangement from nature and from ourselves as spirit.
Not seeing ourselves as a part of the flow of creation and kin to all life cuts us off from the source of love that sustains our balance and vitality. Parry urges us to reconnect to the ground of our being with our roots firmly planted in the soil of compassion and love for ourselves and for all of nature.
Parry is very passionate about rethinking our system of education. When we look at the process of education as a way to learn from but not be bound by the past, we encourage curiosity and exploration of ideas, unshackled by academic conventions and received wisdom. Higher education is not serving us well because of the division of academia into more and more specialized disciplines; this encourages myopic thinking and leads people to lose sight of the interconnections among all subjects and the cross-fertilization that would leave all minds enriched. Parry urges us to see education not just as a path to earning a living, but as an initiation into one's life purpose. It should be a system that maximizes our creativity and encourages the use all of our human aspects – our spiritual, intuitive, mental and physical selves – as an integrated whole.
This book is a clarion call to nourish our roots before they wither. It has the air of ancient tales told around the fire, drawing us into the beauty that is our birthright, and a sense of relationship and community with all of life. Aho.