Swans By Peter Reason


What does it mean to live on Earth as Gaia – that is to say, a living, vital entity in which many kinds of beings create meaning? a communion of subjects rather than a collection of objects, to borrow Thomas Berry’s felicitous phrasing? In the living cosmos panpsychic view, some kind of innerness – mind, sentience, subjectivity, the will to self-realization – is a fundamental aspect of matter, just as matter is a fundamental aspect of mind. This means that the world is capable of – actively seeks – engagement with us: if we invoke the world as sentient presence, we may be graced with a response. This communicative engagement with the world, we call ‘ontopoetics’. I have been part of a series of co-operative inquiries with Rivers as centres of sentient presence. Here are some of the stories of my own encounters.