– Today’s crises result from modern societies’ story of separation, which assumes that our thinking mind is separate from our feelings and bodily emotions, that we are all separate from each other, that some humans are superior to others, and that we humans are separate and superior to the rest of the natural world, says Christine Wamsler, Professor of Sustainability Science at Lund University Centre for Sustainability Studies (LUCSUS). She is one of three coordinators of the initiative.
Efforts to support a better, more sustainable world, have historically focused on external factors and solutions: technology, economics or medicine. It is only recently that interest in inner factors has begun to grow. Important policy organizations, such as The UN’s climate panel IPCC and the UN’s development program UNDP, are increasingly arguing that transformation towards sustainability also requires an inner change, an inner journey. Both make reference to Christine Wamsler’s research that shows what kinds of inner capacities we need to act and support outer change, such as self-reflection, perspective-taking, compassion, and hope.
The ERiCi initiative is rooted in international research and work being done at the Faculties of Social Sciences, Medicine, Fine and Performing Arts, and the Joint Faculties of Humanities and Theology at Lund University and the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Sweden. It explores the role of contemplation, aesthetics and compassion to counter stress, fragmentation and loss of meaning that underlie today’s societal crises.
It supports existential resilience through integrated approaches that link art and health, nature and health, inner change, relationship-building and sustainability across individual, collective and global levels. Academic expertise is complemented by experience knowledge and collaboration with relevant professionals within healthcare, sustainability, schools and higher education institutions.
– We work with professionals from diverse backgrounds to create synergies and innovative solutions. We explore and connect contemplation, the arts and nature-based approaches to support individual, collective and planetary wellbeing, explains Christine Wamsler.
Note: this article is based on a longer article about the new Existential Resilience Collaboration Initiative, ERiCi, written by Bodil Malmström.
Read the article on lu.se