Nick Routledge: “If wisdom indeed sits in places, are ‘wisdom teachings’ estranged from a sense-of-place but half-wise?”

Having just read through the following profound comment on the “Ziraat” group page to which I belong, I was so moved that I just sent its author, Nick Routledge, a “friend” request. So glad to feel him and others in my world!

Two minutes later: Yippee! Nick just accepted my request.


Image: Michele Renee

What if “wisdom sits in places?”

June 29, 2015

by Nick Routledge

facebook comment

I have just spent a decade housed in tiny structures, in demi-Edenic gardens, the grass and flowers my quotidian carpet, the wide sky my ceiling. All of a sudden, I now live in a large house in a gritty, densely urban neighborhood in a big city. Luckily, I have landed among lovely, gentle folk sincerely given over to living and teaching many of the visionary technes associated with New Intelligence. That said, a relative observation. Where a key attribute of my new-found tribe is that they attend, host and teach a great many workshops devoted to inner and outer transformation, I am keenly aware that the defining pedagogy is largely city-minded: that is to say, it is profoundly divorced from connection with the natural world. Typically, for example, workshops happen within four walls. After endeavoring to ‘go city’ with this form for a little while, I now find my natural inclination, powerfully felt, is to avoid such gatherings.

I sense such reluctance isn’t simply a matter of obdurate prejudice. Rather, that it reflects a sensitivity to a foundational absurdity defining life in the city – to the totalizing, yet extraordinarily insidious form of autism peculiar to post-modern living, to the loss of a present awareness of the living experience of the natural world as integral to the immediate experience of right knowing and being.

Perhaps I come across as something of a neurotic to those I live among in the city – a pedantic eco-freak. Certainly, this epistemological snafu as I endeavor to describe it here is not easy to communicate to those who live, for the most part, unaware of a sum of psychological and material reality inseparable from a moment-to-moment coherence of our senses and thoughts in congruence with the embrace of Nature.

And yet, I don’t think I’m alone. Indeed, when earth-attentive cultures assert that ‘wisdom sits in places’, it seems to me they are not only claiming that root and branch are in dynamic interplay in a single helix of Presence, but that no matter how breathtakingly sophisticated the ontological depth and reach of the most refined iterations of contemporary styles of thought or non-thought (Quantum mechanics in the Arctic Circle…World-Christianity in South-Central…NVC in Nashville…Surrealism in Singapore…Vipassana in Vegas) all these fundamentally portable modes of knowing have, by definition of their very portability, broken with the integral immediacy of Earth-issuing intelligence peculiar to each and every context, ‘the genii loci’.

Is it any wonder therefore, that everything following blindly in the wake of our dominant religious, scientific, political, philosophical and other epistemologies – from our diets to our democratic processes to our religious practices to our sense of personal and collective identity – finds itself now, in essence, ‘unhinged.’

This begs the question, of course: if wisdom indeed sits in places, are ‘wisdom teachings’ estranged from a sense-of-place but half-wise? What is the deep ecology of non-violence? What shape is that personal and collective peace which embraces a co-creative dialog with the ‘genii loci’? Can any authentic covenant between people exist if it does not integrate an active, harmonious partnership with the larger ecology of which we are but a part? Might the shelter of Native Belonging be foundational to the co-creation of a social order in which humankind lives in harmony with one another and all that lives? Which forms of practice support our attunement to the infinitely penetrating and subtle forms of local patterns and archetypal forces? Can these be taught inside a classroom or church, temple or mosque?

What a dear being! Want more? Here’s Nick’s “facebook movie”:

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1 Response to Nick Routledge: “If wisdom indeed sits in places, are ‘wisdom teachings’ estranged from a sense-of-place but half-wise?”

  1. CindyW says:

    thank you, Ann, for sharing this post. I do not do Facebook for personal reasons, so would not normally have access to these materials.

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