Ecosophy is a wisdom that is danced, sung, painted and otherwise expressed and conveyed in forms and movements as diverse as the Earth itself. These media transform values, attitudes and perceptions so that one’s whole being can be better attuned to the dynamics of the Earth.
<p>This issue of Ecospirit will consider the works of two artists who have assimilated the wisdom of the Earth and conveyed this wisdom with creativity, clarity and power–Paul Winter, musician, and Ansel Adams, photographer. It was a performance of Paul Winter’s Missa Gaia: Earth Mass that convinced this writer of the indispensable role the arts must play in expressing and evoking the ecosophical vision. For one brief moment, the Cathedral of St. John the Divine became a microcosm in which the myriad voices of the Earth were raised in celebration of the mystery and plenitude of existence on this planet.</p>
<p>Contemplation of the art of Ansel Adams can have an equally profound if more tranquil affect. This tranquillity, however, is a fire that purifies and empowers. It purifies by clearing the mind and heart of the clutter of egoism and bestowing an ecological humility. It empowers by turning pain and anger into moral commitment when confronted by the non-art of demented developers: hollowed mountains, denuded rainforests, toxified land, acidified lakes, dried wetlands and paved pastures.</p>
<p>As stated in our first issue, the Institute considers &quot;that the earth has intrinsic value apart from its instrumental value for humans. Human action should be guided by a respect for and recognition of these other values. We are part of a web of interrelated and interdependent beings. Hence, we cannot realize our own identity or fulfill our own destiny, even in the realm of religion and spirituality, apart from these other beings and the whole earth. Thus, to paraphrase Whitman, all human activities, including economics, politics, (art) and religion must be judged according to how they reflect and corroborate the wisdom and dynamics of the earth.&quot; Certainly the art of Winter and Adams must be judged as superior. The same must be said of the poem by Cayle in this issue which seeks a shift in our conception of deity in the west.</p>
<p>Don St. John</p>