This publication is the second volume of sonic meditations—related to and based upon the practice of Deep Listening—and a collection of other listening projects and exercises. The purpose is to help you develop sensitivity to and potentials for immersive ecological entanglement. The second volume builds on the first; important information for using this publication is contained in it: BKDN WKBK #3—Sonic Meditations: Immersive Ecological Entanglement, Vol. 1.
From the introduction:
What Is Immersive Ecological Entanglement?
1610s, “a tangled condition, a snarl of threads,” from tangle (v.).
mid-14c., nasalized variant of tagilen “to involve in a difficult situation, entangle,” from a Scandinavian source (compare dialectal Swedish taggla “to disorder,” Old Norse þongull “seaweed”), from Proto-Germanic thangul (source also of Frisian tung, Dutch tang, German Tang “seaweed”); thus the original sense of the root evidently was “seaweed” as something that entangles (itself, or oars, or fishes, or nets). In reference to material things, from c. 1500.
entangle (v.t )
to twist into a tangle, or so as not to be easily separated: to involve in complications: to perplex: to ensnare
The word “entanglement” carries an ancient meaning conveying a sense of getting completely ensnared in seaweed and the chaos that this creates for humans and other creatures. This is a good metaphor for how we are wrapped up in the world with more-than-humans and animated processes. How can you give your attention to your entanglement? What does it mean to consider and commune with the trillions of microbes in your gut flora blurring any lines or ideas that you are a coherent whole independent from other creatures? How do you begin to contemplate your deep grandmothers—thousands of generations of people who shaped you through their life decisions, migration, food choices, adaptation to their habitats, and other aspects of their lives? The water that flows near your house in rural or urban watersheds has traveled the entire planet for billions of years; what memories does it hold? How do you immerse yourself in these questions and revelations that they may offer? You are connected to these things, but have not participated in a culture that communes with them and helps you explore your entanglement with them.
People in industrialized societies, living in hardened landscapes and a petroleum induced space/time continuum, are largely cut off from their evolutionary inheritance and have had their mental and perceptual capacities for engaging and understanding the world severely restricted by these conditions. Couple this with an increasingly limited access to wild spaces particularly in dense urban centers where there is the pervasive lack of biodiverse, interconnected, wild land. The built environment—and the built self it shapes—are produced through processes primarily driven by the presence of petroleum and other fossil fuels in all aspects of your life. This leads to a sense of self I call petro-subjectivity. I have written about petro-subjectivity and efforts to work on the de-industrialization of the self in this publication: Petro-Subjectivity: De-Industrializing Our Sense of Self.
Humans evolved over millennia immersed in their ecological entanglements without the conception of a “nature vs. culture” divide. Becoming more porous and permeable to the subtle qualities of the world and things you are currently participating in, particularly in the wild spaces of your land-base and bioregion, is what this publication and others in this series advocate for. What this means is developing the tools, skills, habits, rituals, awareness, and utilization of the ancient evolutionary ancestors held in the vestiges of your person, that can make you aware of the degree to which you are able to engage your own wild capacities in communion with more-than-human wild.
I first started facilitating listening sessions in a concentrated way when I was invited to guide a week long camp in rural Italy in 2011. It was called Decompression Camp and was organized by a group from Milan called Radical Intention. The camp was stationed in a Medici-era villa in the Mugello Valley of Tuscany. The organizers stated that the camp, “[C]reates an alternative by trying to answer the following question: can the act of gathering form the basis for a new articulation of mutual learning, communal living, and group working?” I used the gathering to focus on empowering forms of listening that included Consciousness Raising, Deep Listening, activist tools like Discussion on Spectrum, the activist art group Ultra-Red’s particular form of Organized Listening and Listening Sessions6 (inspired by Paolo Friere’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed), and using Perma-Cultural material resource mapping as a visual way of “listening” to complex systems.
I am certified to teach Deep Listening through the Center for Deep Listening, at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY. I studied with Pauline Oliveros. Deep Listening grounds my efforts to help people immerse themselves in ecological awarenesses that their petroleum based lives do not permit. I constantly search to expand my work with listening to connect to the wild. There are several people who have expanded my understanding of listening: Joseph Rael, R. Murray Schafer, Gordon Hempton, Tom Brown Jr., and John Sneed & Joanna Macy. They put my experiences with Deep Listening into a broader context, that I have started calling Earth Listening. This volume is a step into presenting that work to readers. Further volumes will include more of their work and ideas.