pathways that lead us to becoming planetary physicians. In assuming this, I studied theecology around the cob house in Sebastopol, California and asked the following questionof it: "What are you striving to be and how can I best help you?" From this I hoped notonly to gain local ecological knowledge that could be useful in landscaping appropriately,but also to gain more universal knowledge of Gaia.
I assume that the Earth is one living organism, called Gaia, and is self-regulating just like any animal, plant, or human. I also assume that through holistic modes of perceiving as laid out in Goethe's way of science, it is possible to access the thoughts of Gaia, if you will -- to perceive the universal in the particular and expand our knowledgeof ecology. It is also an assumption that my interpretation of
and allowing myself to be an
organ of expression of the phenomenon
areaccurate.I subscribe to animism, the belief that all things are alive in their own way andhave spirit. I believe that all things (animals, plants, microbes, fungi, rocks, water) haveconsciousness and intelligence. I believe that the bracketed ecology (and elementswithin) in the study should be approached as a sentient being(s) with its (their) ownintelligence and awareness, and should be treated with respect. I assume not only this,but also that it is possible for me to converse with the ecology in intersubjective dialogue.Beyond this, I hold the assumption Mother Nature knows best, in the sense thatthe system knows how to get its needs better than I can provide for them. I assume thatnature is wiser than I, and that "benign neglect" is the best strategy -- the less I interfereand the more I provide the system with the means to help itself, the better.Finally, it is my belief that archetypal expressions can be discovered, as well asgeneral principles illuminated, that can help balance an ecology with human need, wherethe action taken by humans can be "determined
by the landscape itself
" (Hoffmann, 1998,p. 167). A farm or garden can be an organ of the landscape, and can rebuild soil andwater ecology.I think these assumptions are necessary in order to be able to discover the type of knowledge that I am seeking, rather than inhibiting the study. Assumptions must bemade before any study, no matter what methodology is being employed. For instance,mathematics cannot be applied to nature until nature has been mathematized andquantified. First there must be an assumption of nature as being made of up of things allexternal to themselves and quantifiable. The assumptions that begin the study create aspace for the results of the study to emerge. I think of doing a study without assumptionslike trying to catch rain water without a bucket. The water being knowledge and thebucket being the assumptions. Indeed, the consciousness of assumptions is what I think 22