To Know a Tree

This talk was part of the Philosophy, Cosmology, and Consciousness (PCC) Forum series, delivered on Sept. 20, 2018 at CIIS.

How do our relationships with non-humans affirm our humanity?

Trees are compelling others as they are often both older and larger that humans with a very different form of livingness, and they exist around us in innumerable ways not only in forests and lining streets, but in our products, metaphors, and mythology. It almost goes without saying that trees are highly impacted by anthropogenic environmental destruction through deforestation and climate change planet-wide. Our relationships to non-humans like trees create opportunities for reimagining who we are as humans especially within the Western tradition where trees are either seen as resources for human use or beautiful scenery. Using the tools of phenomenology along with recent scientific findings on plants, we can examine our consciousness in the presence of a being like a tree and better understand our relationships to non-human others.

Videography by Chad Harris of Archetypal View.