Lisa H. Sideris, Professor of Environmental Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara, gave another interview for the AIOCS Conversations on 28 July 2023. The conversation returned to wonder, the topic of the previous discussion, but together with grief as another form of enhancing the self’s realisation of itself and its surrounds. Actually, if the viewers do not wish to get sad, they should perhaps not watch the last ten minutes of this recording 🙂
Additionally, distinction was made between awe and wonder, with Lisa explaining her preference for the latter term. Thus, while awe denotes terror, a frightening experience, wonder is broader and, while not excluding the sense of an unsettling or disrupting experience, points to the positive aspect of the fact of allowing oneself to be surprised by events, phenomena, etc.
A discussion ensued about contemplative practices, or spiritual exercises, with a special focus on Clement of Alexandria’s approach and a clarification that realisation and knowledge, when combined with humility, do not lead to elitism and arrogance. What triggered Doru’s clarification was Lisa’s point that knowledge can lead to elitism and the knowers’ temptation to isolate themselves in the ivory tower, as it were, remote from mundane concerns. The discussion led to a synthesis of wonder and contemplation, where the former instigates the latter while the latter enhances the former.
Here is the video recording of this conversation:
For the previous AIOCS Conversation with Lisa Sideris, see this.
28 July 2023 © AIOCS
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