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Stephan Martin

Ursula makes a good point in highlighting the life/matter bias that has deep roots in our contemporary worldview. Ideas that matter/earth is sinful, fallen, ‘dirty’, etc… have a long history in western culture, and one that contemporary ecological philosophers such as Freya Matthews (For Love of Matter) and others have addressed by suggesting that the duality between the two may not be fundamentally real or helpful in creating a more participatory view and positive engagement with the world/universe. Matthews approaches this by suggesting that rather than maintaining a world of subjects and objects (which could represent living beings and matter in the present discussion), that we propose that subjectivity is inherent to the world itself. This lines up nicely with Brian Swimme’s view of the universe centrating into many unique centers of experience  and Thomas Berry’s “communion of subjects.” Perhaps subjectivity (to whatever degree it exists in various forms) might be a useful concept here in bridging the “participatory gap” between humans and the universe, rather than trying to demonstrate participatory engagement through common structures of life and livingness?