Preseason Episode 1 – The Stories We Live

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This week, enjoy a sneak peek of our new podcast, Faith, Fern & Compass, as we explore nature spirituality in the digital age in Preseason Episode 1 — The Stories We Live.

We open tonight’s show with a discussion of David Suzuki’s transformative book, The Sacred Balance: Rediscovering Our Place in Nature, and its reexamination of the four classic elements. How can our relationship with earth, air, fire and water guide us to a healthier relationship with the planet? Environmental science can give us some insights — but we also need a new story about our place in the world. We learn more about the profound psychological aspect of our relationship with nature in Steven Kotler’s article, “Ecopsychology in Ten Easy Lessons,” where he comes face to face with the impact of global warming… and almost dies!

April is National Poetry Month, and to celebrate we talk about some creative ways to bring a little bit more poetry into your life. (We also give away the secret to what’s really going on at the Greenwood Space Travel Supply Co.Shhhh! Don’t tell!) In honor of one of our favorite poets, Mary Oliver, we share a letter from the tribute blog, Dear Mary, plus a poem of the month.

We also get a chance to chat about one of Jeff’s favorite animals: bees! In Smithsonian Magazine’s recent article, “The Secret Life of Bees,” biologist Thomas Seeley shares his insights about the mysterious workings of the collective hive-mind, and we spend some time speculating about what lessons we can learn about human brains and political hierarchies from the stories that modern science tells us about these familiar and fascinating insects.

Finally, Alison performs a reading of her short story, Yewberry, that was recently published in the fiction anthology, The Scribing Ibis, and we wrap things up with ‘Texan Jeff’ treating us to an excerpt from Suzuki’s book on the spirit of nature and the nature of spirit.

Join us next week for another episode of Faith, Fern & Compass!

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4 Responses to “Preseason Episode 1 – The Stories We Live”

  1. [...] show notes and links, visit: http://faithferncompass.com/001/ Share this:Like this:LikeBe the first to like this post. from → DwD Episodes ← [...]

  2. Liz says:

    Love the new show! Your reading of Yewberry was just beautiful!

  3. Lupa says:

    I’m just now getting a chance to listen to all these podcasts I’ve saved up! Really enjoyed this one and am looking forward to checking out the rest. I did have a few thoughts:

    I love the concept of rewriting our cultural story about our relationship to other species, particularly the idea that we have “dominion” over them. One of the things I really like about narrative therapy is that it focuses on the stories we tell about how things are and how they go, and how it uses a lot of similar ritual concepts to bring about change in the stories themselves. Looking at a situation as a story gives us more power to change it, rather than just accepting “this is how things are”.

    Regarding the cow research, I do have to wonder whether there was a confounding variable in the form of the humans tending to the cows. Were the cows listening to blues giving more milk because the humans were treating them better? Or was there some other factor not taken into account that was the actual causative factor?

    With regards to hierarchy, the presence of hierarchy in humans or any other species is an adaptation, but I disagree with the idea that it keeps all the animals in a constant state of emergency. A group of social mammals or birds that has some pre-existing organization as to who’s in charge of what and what to do when something happens (a hunt, migration, baby animals, etc.) is going to be stronger than one where it’s not clear what’s supposed to happen. Enforcing a hierarchy helps to keep that organization going even when nothing is really going on other than the day to day stuff, so that when big changes happen the group is prepared. Additionally, in non-human species the hierarchy is meant to only allow the strongest, smartest, and most capable members of the species to reproduce, thereby keeping the gene pool strong.

    Does this mean we have to keep adhering to strict hierarchies, especially those imposed for unfair or greedy reasons? Of course not. One of the advantages we as a species have is the ability to override, to an extent, our biological impulses. It doesn’t take away their effects entirely, but we have a lot more choice than we might otherwise have–to include the choice toward more egalitarian decision-making processes.

    Anyway, the short version is–great podcast :)

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