The Eclipse of Life - the Ice Queen reigns

Responding with a phenomEnological Social PRACTICE

A presentation by Peter Westoby

Thursday February 1st, 2018  7.30 —9.30pm
The Quaker House, 10 Hampson Street, Kelvin Grove (park on Prospect Terrace)           Members/Concession: $10 Non-members: $15

The Jewish philosopher Martin Buber talked about, living under the shadow of Auschwitz, that humanity lived with the ‘eclipse of God’. I now wonder if we have moved beyond this ‘eclipse of God’, or as Nietzsche would say, ‘the death of god’, to a time of the ‘eclipse of life’.

We live in a time where political life has usurped the social and ecological life-worlds, rendering unbelievable violence towards people and ecosystems. The decay of democracy is underpinned by unprecedented collusion between corporations and government, and is allowing, or facilitating, the manipulation of the masses. The oceans are dying, and there is a proliferation of the death of many species.

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The core of the problem, enabling this kind of violence and death, is a predominant worldview in which the world is understood as mechanical and dead – observed and experienced in increasingly abstract form. In this way of being, the world and the ‘other’, cannot be loved.

In this, the mythical ice-queen is a victor. She rules the land and it turns to ice. And she is everywhere, hell bent on destruction and making the land barren.

Revering abstraction, this lecture from dialogue, to soul, through to phenomenology, will consider my most recent work in both Creating Us: Community Work with Soul (Tafina Press, 2016), and Soul, Community & Social Change (Routledge, 2016). Drawing on a three-fold framework of soulful practice, ‘soul-of-the-world’ and ‘soul-force’, the works of R. Tagore and J. Hillman are examined before arguing for a phenomenological way of re-thinking social practice that is life-giving, and works from the ‘inside-out’. Henri Bortoft of Schumacher College, Mary Watkins of Pacifica College, and Allan Kaplan of The Proteus Initiative, provide signposts for a way forward in this ‘inside-out’ and phenomenological way of practice.

 

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Peter Westoby is an Associate Professor in Social Science-Community Development at the School of Public Health/Social Work at Queensland University of Technology (QUT); a Visiting Professor at the Centre for Development Support, University of Free State, South Africa; and a director with Community Praxis Cooperative.

He teaches and researches on community and social development theory and practice, dialogue studies and forced migration studies. He has worked in youth, community and organisation development for 28 years, within South Africa, Uganda, Vanuatu, PNG, the Philippines and Australia. He has published ten books, and 40+ professional journal articles. He is known for monograph’s such as Dialogical Community Development (2013) (Routledge), Soul, Community and Social Change (2016)(Ashgate/Routledge), and The Sociality of Refugee Healing (2009) (Common Ground); and has also edited several volumes including, with Shevellar, Learning and Mobilising for Community Development (2012) (Ashgate).

Peter particularly loves bush walking, swimming, hanging out in independent book shops, drinking good quality coffee, and home-making.