Bill is almost wildly interdisciplinary—his interests range from ecology to art, religion and anthropology, ritual, poetry and philosophy. He studies all this and more, deeply, incorporating all into his being joining them fluidly as if there were never any separation between them. And in fact, there never has been. Silos are a fiction—a fiction most often employed towards some form of instrumentalization. Usually profit.
Bill strips away the fiction and aims to see interconnections and relationships—and to speak and write about these in ways that touch humans deeply. He has done this here, in his new blog, Environmental Prospect, and in particular with his work on "The Values Project".
In order to understand the world we have to place ourselves in it. From there we must determine what is of value to us—true value—which is, in effect, asking what it means to be human. Part of this work is to ask where values come from…and so follow Bill and his work. It is my work and yours as we move through, and try to remake our home in the Anthropocene.
Excerpt from The Values Project:
The Dark Path to Beauty
In this department of Environmental Prospect we are exploring a theory of values, based mainly on the work of literary critic Frederick Turner, that we believe has important implications for environmental thinking and practice and so, ultimately, for the future of our planet.
- That the experience of value begins not with simple delight in nature, relationships or the experiences of beauty, mystery or meaning, but with the darker aspects of experience, crucially, for Turner, shame—that is, not guilt, which is the response of the conscience to moral transgression, but the response of the self to its awareness of and dependence on an others-than-itself, beginning with the body itself.
- That ritual and, more broadly, the fine arts, or what I have called the technologies of the imagination, provide the tools we need to deal with this troubling aspect of experience in a productive way, passing, as Turner writes, through shame to beauty.
To introduce this idea, we can do no better than turn to the “climate change” scene in Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”.