KEY IDEAS AND PERSPECTIVES

The trees are our teachers

 

The ecological crisis is an opportunity for consciousness; the 'crisis' is not just about the environment 'out there'

 

We need to develop new organs of perception and explore new forms of consciousness. This will contribute to perceiving what needs to be done and to developing new forms of being in the world

 

Aesthetic forms and processes - in the UoT - are 'instruments of consciousness' instead of objects of attention

 

Responsibility arises from an ability to respond. Connective, responsible consciousness cannot be enforced

 

'Another world is possible': We have the potential to realise our capacities as social artists, in order to shape a humane and ecologically viable world 

 

This place for new vision ‘grows' from the meeting between human beings and trees. Central to this is the idea that we need to develop ‘new organs of perception' as an important part of enabling us to connect with the world ‘out there'. University of the Trees involves an approach to science that recognises alternatives to the onlooker mode of consciousness.

The University of the Trees creates space for new vision concerning our relationship to the world - with the trees as our teachers. It is a form of collaboration between human beings and trees.

In this ‘university', perceptual and intuitive modes of consciousness complement the rationalist approach, linking imaginal thought to the process of becoming more response-able in our work to shape a sustainable future.

This long-term project emphasises the role of imagination in working toward an ecologically sustainable world. It involves a wide spectrum of people from different regions of the world to participate in individual and collective imagining processes, dialogues and potential actions that grow out of listening to the trees and to each other.

The project also takes forward the social sculpture strategies and commitments embedded in Joseph Beuys' ‘expanded conception of art', especially the awakened relationship to nature and the emphasis on ecological consciousness initiated with the 7000 Oaks.

The need for a University of the Trees is based on the view that such new vision can lead us to new sustainable forms of personal and social action and transformation, in which the forest becomes a place of connecting and not of escape.