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Melanie Sehgal with Deborah Haaksman; Habits of thought, lures for feeling. On modern ways of knowing and the need for wandering.

Lecture and Talking Circle

This lecture takes us on a mind-brightening journey, identifying crucial elements that colour the mentality of the modern world. It sheds a light on the cultural taboos which implicitly restrict our spirit's desire to go 'on adventures of hope' and focuses on habits of thought that create stumbling blocks for spiritual practices.

In particular, we'll examine the modern notion of a scientific fact and its explanatory power, but also its power to explain away other modes of experiencing the world, like spiritual experiences, relegating them to the realm of the unscientific, the merely subjective, the private or, “the esoteric”. Through taking a stance that is at once historical and speculative, the lecture will trace how, from a modern idea of science and its having become a generalized standard for the collective validation of knowledge, familiar bifurcations set in: the bifurcation between knowledge and belief, the objective and the subjective, body and spirit, fact and fiction, matter and meaning.

The lecture will draw on the speculative philosophy of Alfred North Whitehead, a visionary philosopher and mathematician of the 20th century. It will start out from the question whether what he described as „a bifurcation of nature“ – the split into two concepts of nature that are incompatible with oneanother: nature „as such“, materialistically conceived, and nature as subjectively perceived – still shapes our habits of thought today. It will then look for alternative ways of thinking and raise the question whether spiritual practices could acquire a new importance in changing modern habits of thought. For Whitehead „modern science has imposed on humanity the necessity for wandering” - physical wandering but also adventures of thought and adventures of feeling – that's what Earthwalking is all about!

The lecture is followed by a guided talking circle to share our experiences as spiritual practicioners and professionals within the lecture's context.