Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Lure of desolate places
by Brooks, Adelaide H., Ph.D., Pacifica Graduate Institute, 2007, 239; 3281482
Abstract (Summary)

Desolate places hold a mysterious lure containing both fascination and fear. There is a magnetic nature of place that often arouses our curiosity and entices us to venture into unknown physical and psychological territory. Place surrounds us. It has witnessed the evolving activity of the human species. Desolate places provide a landscape for us to explore a deeper silence not easily found in the hustle of our modern world. Land, being present longer than most species on this planet, holds memories and footprints that contain secrets.

The purpose of this study is to discover ways to listen into desolate place, and to provide opportunities for the wisdom of the land to be heard. Through the use of five different lenses, an exploration into dialogue with the creative force of psyche makes available what I regard as innate, though often overlooked, knowledge embedded in the natural environment. By overtly engaging the connection that exists throughout the animate and inanimate world, we can experience an increase in feelings of respect, connection, and well-being. This is a journey toward health for ourselves and for the planet. With a larger perspective on our place in this world, we begin to feel a love for and responsibility to the land, and to all of its inhabitants.

This theoretical study uses a hermeneutic phenomenology method with organic inquiry to explore the different ways to seek the intelligence inherent in a desolate landscape. Through mythopoetic language, a creative spiral engages historical data, stories, ancestral markers, movement, film, poetry, and dreams. Meaning emerges as the interfaces between human and place are infused with the imaginal realm. As this engagement with desolate places brings forth a deeper understanding of the human-place relationship, the silenced voices find an audience.

Having a sense of our place in this universe surfaces an appreciation of self and others, and a connection to the sacred. There appears to be value in the presence of quietude and barren desolation. The awe, the re-enlivening of all things, and the power of being witnessed suggests that the future vigor of our species would benefit from submerging into these landscapes.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Downing, Christine
School: Pacifica Graduate Institute
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-B 68/09, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Philosophy, Psychology
Keywords: Ancestors, Ecopsychology, Witnessing
Publication Number: 3281482
ISBN: 978-0-549-23298-8
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