Studies Have Shown
“Is it reasonable to wonder if there is
evidence of very large mental systems,
systems of ecological size and larger,
within which the mentality of the
single human is a subsystem?”
Gregory & Mary Catherine Bateson,
Angels Fear: Towards an Epistemology
of the Sacred.
And what about a classroom?
Environmental Studies studying
our environmental studies: conditions
& contextual atmosphere in which we
do our environed mentalism?.
How do we come to transform our ways of
thinking about environment & environmental
issues & concerns so as to address inconvenient
which is to say unconventional truths we are
faced with & not be sustaining the unsustainable
addictions and habits of minding that currently
shape our ways of knowing & seeing & ways of
talking which have brought about the very
conditions we would now rectify?
I presume the solutions are not merely at the
fundamental level of content and subject-object
matter: facts & stats & dates & maps & methods,
equipment, technology, evidence of environed
mental degradation, variations of hunger in
1st 2nd & 3rd world countries, emotional frag-
mentation, restless legs syndrome, early onset
erectile dysfunction, compulsive-obsessive
jogging, eating, binging, purging, washing-of-
hands, hording, body dys-morphic self-mutilation,
gated community homeland security measures,
cam-cording surveillance, reality show vicarious
heroes with a thousand facets, on-line plagiarism
etc.: signs & symbols of our concern but no more
indicative of the root source & cause than some
particular fractal, crop circle, or set of parallel
symmetrical tracks down a powder slope in the
Wasatch can tell us how come and why. .
But rather in terms of a Collective Frame of Minding,
Bias, Belief System & Attitude: our Human Nature
Nurturing our Mind set cerebral/affective environed
mentalism--root source shape shifting our symptom-
manic exponential run-a-away positive species self-
reinforcementality; & how do we set & be reset: our
homeostatic tolerances so as to suit & be suited to the
temper of the deep ecological EcosGaia we aim to
is the Enemy of
My students, when they are industrious, focus on The Topic.
Used to textual harassment—poem, story, theory, expository
essay, creative non-fiction: we aim to get it right, do it justice,
me asking faux Socratic questions to guide them toward
Look: explicitly: what's hap happening here—flat on the page,
right before our very gnosis?Say: what who when where and
why (if you can and don't mind speculating), at least to get
And then (as if we worked in sequence: let's get clear what's
happening before we start to interpret)..so… what?
Implicitly: what does it all all mean, signal, suggest,signify—
our explicit unfoldings?
Teaching Critical Thinking.
The text's the thing.
Dead Mind on a Page:
unpack & resurrect them
bones gonna walk about.
We ignore the environmental context inside which a text is
harassed—the habitat that supports my habit: 20 young
embodimental manifestations, say, scratching & sniffling
& exhibiting cultural relativities, media fashions as well as
their own particular diversities & experience the kind Richard
Blomgren celebrates each August to new parents to show how
we are not everyone: juggling in a circus, mission work in
selling Bibles...those not-everyones for whom this place is.
None of this contextuality factors-in to our critical thinking
about texts. The actual immediate environment -of-readers-
reading-together is occluded by the General Environment of
a textual harassment that characterizes much of hire education
and emphasizes the text to the sacrifice of context, like saluting
the figure and ignoring background.
What do we write about?
Clean air, endangered species,
alternative energy sources,
photo voltaic electric cell
driven gold carts, wind mills,
waves, polar melt down, walking
softly on the earth, place, local
food and diminishing my eco-
logical foot print tip toeing
thru the tulips…
Yes, of course: but just the opposite spirit is needed in class,
inside cinder block & under fluorescence.Extra vagrance:
spill the beans, guess & mess, turn it up and put it in play:
this poem some how reminds me of my grannie's underwear,
don't ask me why, hanging out on the clothes line along with
the rape awareness t-shirts I'm just telling you, tossing it in:
it reminds me of having to lie on the floor boards of our ‘38
Ford while driving past the Queen Elizabeth because I'd been
mean to my big sister & they hadn't invented Ritalin yet, setting
the vacant lot on fire while smoking butts from the steps of the
Catholic church—critical to thinking if not “critical thinking”
and there’s a difference there that makes a world of difference:
the ENVIRONMENT my environmentality is in.
Doubtless anyone could improve my terms.