The Whole and the ParticularsJune 6, 2012 Leave a comment
The Three Goals
The first goal is to see the thing in itself
in and for itself, to see it simply and clearly
for what it is.
No symbolism, please.
The second goal is to see each individual thing
as unified, as one, with all the other
ten thousand things.
In this regard, a little wine helps a lot.
The third goal is to grasp the first and the second goals,
to see the universal in the particular,
Regarding this one, call me when you get it.
Last week I had the opportunity to spend time with and provide training for the Smith Fellows, a remarkable group of post-graduate students and early career scientists committed to the field of conservation biology. Theirs is the work of true passion for and love of “nature,” including it’s healing power for human beings.
On the first evening, hunkered down in a small apartment at SERC in Acadia National Park, we listened to and shared stories across generations. At one point, the comment was made that while there has been welcome movement towards considering ecology and whole systems approaches to conservation, it has come at the expense of academia no longer being so focused on the individual species or particular elements of those systems. Apparently, in some living science departments in this country, you can no longer find any of the traditional “-ologists.” The health of ecosystems, and any system, depends upon on understanding of the whole and its parts. For some reason, it seems difficult to hold on to both. Hence David Budbill’s poem above.
What have you done to hold on to both the universal and the particular in your change work?