Her wide-ranging work addresses psychological and spiritual issues of the nuclear age, the cultivation of ecological awareness, and the fruitful resonance between Buddhist thought and postmodern science.
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The many dimensions of this work are explored in her thirteen books, which include three volumes of poetry of Rainer Maria Rilke with translation and commentary. As the root teacher of The Work That Reconnects , Joanna has created a ground-breaking framework for personal and social change, as well as a powerful workshop methodology for its application.
Based in Berkeley, California, close to her children and grandchildren, Joanna has spent many years in other lands and cultures, viewing movements for social change and exploring their roots in religious thought and practice. These methods, incorporated in the Work That Reconnects, have been adopted and adapted yet more widely in classrooms, community centers, and grassroots organizing.
In the face of overwhelming social and ecological crises, this work helps people transform despair and apathy into constructive, collaborative action. It brings a new way of seeing the world as our larger living body. This perspective frees us from the assumptions and attitudes that now threaten the continuity of life on Earth. Over the course of her life, Joanna has given much thought to the moral and psychological challenges presented by nuclear weapons and energy production. Some of her writings regarding Nuclear Guardianship and Guardianship Ethic will be shown on this site in the near future.
This work can be done alone and has enriched many individual lives, but it is designed for groups. Its effect is deeper and more enduring when experienced interactively with others, for its approach is improvisational and its impact is synergistic. Workshops have varied in length from an evening to a full lunar cycle. From the first public workshop in it has been the aim of the Work to help people trust their raw experience and give voice to what they see and feel is happening to their world. The Work That Reconnects is informed by Deep Ecology, systems thinking, Gaia theory, and spiritual traditions especially Buddhist and indigenous teachings , as well as group wisdom from earlier workshops.
Common to all of these is a non-linear view of reality. It illuminates the mutuality at play in self-organizing systems, and unleashes the power of reciprocity.
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Furthermore, central to our use of systems thinking and the Buddha Dharma is the recognition that self-reflexive consciousness is a function of choice-making. Whatever the limitations of our life, we are still free to choose which version of reality —or story about our world— we value and want to serve.
We can choose to align with business as usual , the unraveling of living systems, or the creation of a life-sustaining society. This image was a gift to Joanna Macy.
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Use permission is granted except for sale or compensation. Please attribute to the artist, Dori Midnight. The experiential work follows a spiral sequence flowing through four stages beginning with gratitude, then, honoring our pain for the world, seeing with fresh eyes, and finally, going forth.
The Spiral is like a fractal, governing the overall structure of the workshop while also arising in its component parts. Within a given workshop, we can move through the Spiral more than once, and become aware that with every cycling through, each stage can yield new and deeper meanings.
The critical passage or hinge of the workshop happens when, instead of privatizing, repressing and pathologizing our pain for the world be it fear, grief, outrage or despair , we honor it. We learn to re-frame it as suffering-with or compassion.
This brings us back to life. WTR network website. Summer Spring It was Christianity that, after many centuries of struggle, applied the final criticisms to the various psychologies of antiquity, and brought their scattered elements of truth to full focus. The tendency of Christ's teaching was to centre all interest in the spiritual side of man's nature ; the salvation or loss of the soul is the great issue of existence. The Gospel language is popular, not technical. Psyche and pneuma are used indifferently either for the principle of natural life or for spirit in the strict sense.
Body and soul are recognized as a dualism and their values contrasted: "Fear ye not them that kill the body. In St. Paul we find a more technical phraseology employed with great consistency. Psyche is now appropriated to the purely natural life; pneuma to the life of supernatural religion, the principle of which is the Holy Spirit , dwelling and operating in the heart. The opposition of flesh and spirit is accentuated afresh Romans , etc. This Pauline system, presented to a world already prepossessed in favour of a quasi- Platonic Dualism, occasioned one of the earliest widespread forms of error among Christian writers -- the doctrine of the Trichotomy.
According to this, man, perfect man teleios consists of three parts: body, soul, spirit soma, psyche, pneuma. Body and soul come by natural generation; spirit is given to the regenerate Christian alone. Thus, the "newness of life", of which St. Paul speaks, was conceived by some as a superadded entity, a kind of oversoul sublimating the "natural man " into a higher species.
This doctrine was variously distorted in the different Gnostic systems. The Gnostics divided man into three classes:. Two features claim attention in this the earliest essay towards a complete anthropology within the Christian Church :. The dubious language of these writers can only be understood in relation to the system they were opposing. By assigning a literal divinity to a certain small aristocracy of souls, Gnosticism set aside the doctrine of Creation and the whole Christian idea of God's relation to man.
On the other side, by its extreme dualism of matter and spirit, and its denial to matter i. The orthodox teacher had to emphasize:. Tertullian's treatise "De Anima" has been called the first Christian classic on psychology proper. The author aims to show the failure of all philosophies to elucidate the nature of the soul, and argues eloquently that Christ alone can teach mankind the truth on such subjects.
His own doctrine, however, is simply the refined Materialism of the Stoics, supported by arguments from medicine and physiology and by ingenious interpretations of Scripture, in which the unavoidable materialism of language is made to establish a metaphysical Materialism. Tertullian is the founder of the theory of Traducianism, which derives the rational soul ex traduce , i. For Tertullian this was a necessary consequence of Materialism. Later writers found in the doctrine a convenient explanation of the transmission of original sin.
Jerome says that in his day it was the common theory in the West. Theologians have long abandoned it, however, in favour of Creationism, as it seems to compromise the spirituality of the soul. Origen taught the pre-existence of the soul. Terrestrial life is a punishment and a remedy for prenatal sin. Spirit, however, finite spirit, can exist only in a body, albeit of a glorious and ethereal nature.
Neo-Platonism, which through St. Augustine contributed so much to spiritual philosophy, belongs to this period. Like Gnosticism, it uses emanations. The primeval and eternal One begets by emanation nous intelligence ; and from nous in turn springs psyche soul , which is the image of nous , but distinct from it. Matter is a still later emanation.
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Soul has relations to both ends of the scale of reality, and its perfection lies in turning towards the Divine Unity from which it came. In everything, the neo-Platonist recognized the absolute primacy of the soul with respect to the body.
Thus, the mind is always active, even in sense -- perception -- it is only the body that is passively affected by external stimuli. Similarly Plotinus prefers to say that the body is in the soul rather than vice versa: and he seems to have been the first to conceive the peculiar manner of the soul's location as an undivided and universal presence pervading the organism tota in toto et tota in singulis partibus.
It is impossible to give more than a very brief notice of the psychology of St. His contributions to every branch of the science were immense; the senses, the emotions, imagination, memory, the will, and the intellect -- he explored them all, and there is scarcely any subsequent development of importance that he did not forestall. He is the founder of the introspective method. Noverim Te, noverim me was an intellectual no less than a devotional aspiration with him.
The following are perhaps the chief points for our present purpose:.
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Medieval psychology prior to the Aristotelean revival was affected by neo-Platonism, Augustinianism, and mystical influences derived from the works of pseudo-Dionysius. This fusion produced sometimes, notably in Scotus Eriugena, a pantheistic theory of the soul. All individual existence is but the development of the Divine life, in which all things are destined to be resumed. The Arabian commentators, Averroes and Avicenna, had interpreted Aristotle's psychology in a pantheistic sense. Thomas, with the rest of the Schoolmen, amends this portion of the Aristotelean tradition, accepting the rest with no important modifications.
Thomas's doctrine is briefly as follows:. Modern speculations respecting the soul have taken two main directions, Idealism and Materialism. Agnosticism need not be reckoned as a third and distinct answer to the problem, since, as a matter of fact, all actual agnosticisms have an easily recognized bias towards one or other of the two solutions aforesaid.
Both Idealism and Materialism in present-day philosophy merge into Monism, which is probably the most influential system outside the Catholic Church. Descartes conceived the soul as essentially thinking i. The two are thus simply disparate realities, with no vital connection between them. This is significantly marked by his theory of the soul's location in the body. Unlike the Scholastics he confines it to a single point -- the pineal gland -- from which it is supposed to control the various organs and muscles through the medium of the "animal spirits ", a kind of fluid circulating through the body.
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Thus, to say the least, the soul's biological functions are made very remote and indirect, and were in fact later on reduced almost to a nullity: the lower life was violently severed from the higher, and regarded as a simple mechanism. In the Cartesian theory animals are mere automata. It is only by the Divine assistance that action between soul and body is possible. The Occasionalists went further, denying all interaction whatever, and making the correspondence of the two sets of facts a pure result of the action of God.
The Leibnizian theory of Pre-established Harmony similarly refuses to admit any inter-causal relation. The superior monad soul and the aggregate of inferior monads which go to make up the body are like two clocks constructed with perfect art so as always to agree. They register alike, but independently: they are still two clocks, not one. This awkward Dualism was entirely got rid of by Spinoza. For him there is but one, infinite substance, of which thought and extension are only attributes.
Thought comprehends extension, and by that very fact shows that it is at root one with that which it comprehends. The alleged irreducible distinction is transcended: soul and body are neither of them substances, but each is a property of the one substance.