"Beauty offers us order, coherence, unity..." and hope
— by Susan Eirich, Ph.D. —
Since we started Earthfire Radio conversations our audience has grown, and we in turn are receiving invitations to be interviewed. We are including one of those conversations here, with Carolyn Baker of the New Lifeboat Radio.
None of us know what the future holds. We each have to take our best guess and do what we can to mitigate what we see. Carolyn’s mission is to “create islands of sanity in a sea of current and impending global chaos.” Earthfire’s mission is to work towards a fundamental paradigm shift in how we see life, with the belief that from there change will naturally follow. Who knows who is right, or if we both are for different times. Which need will rise to the surface at what time.
My own approach is to work towards a vision of hope—not blind hope, but hope based on the incredible creative force that is Life and the stabilizing quality of beauty that is all around us. In The Invisible Embrace of Beauty, John Donahue writes, “Beauty infuses a landscape with an unexpected intimacy that satisfies our longing. The beautiful offers us an invitation to order, coherence and unity. When these needs are met, the soul feels at home.” According to Frederick Turner, “Beauty…is the highest integrative level of understanding and the most comprehensive capacity for effective action. It enables us to go with, rather than against, the deepest tendency or theme of the universe.”
Thus Earthfire focuses on beauty, despite all the ugly, discordant things that are happening, we must focus on those as well, to take what actions we can, but we can get lost in the ugliness. We must never lose sight of the balancing effect of seeing the larger; the sense of order that beauty brings and that is all around us in myriad forms, taking us out of the discordant into the flow of Life itself. From there we are calmed. We make better and more creative decisions.
In this conversation I share some of the fundamental insights and perceptions gained during my years with the animals. Primary among them is that there is beauty, intelligence and companionship everywhere when we learn to see it, and it is a source of great joy, healing and wisdom. From that awareness we can make environmental decisions that will lead to dramatically different results than we are seeing now. Those decisions flow naturally with a connection with all life.
Dr. Susan Eirich is the Founder and Executive Director of Earthfire Institute Wildlife Sanctuary and Retreat Center. A licensed psychologist, biologist and educator, her goal is to widen the circle of conversation about conservation to include the voices of all living beings.