Nature’s Voice: Health and Humanities
by Piero Formica
The voice of nature reaches us through bees and other pollinators. From them, we learn how to listen and understand it. Yesterday’s thinkers display the stage space by raising the curtain on tomorrow.
Only the evolutionary surge in culture can enable humankind to surmount the constraints of economic and lifestyle models that have led to the failure of its relationship with nature.
Piero Formica’s Nature’s Voice is a call for humans to return to the wisdom and sanity of nature, both outdoors and within our bodies, which have been separated since the Descartian split of mind, spirit and body from the natural environment. The European Renaissance, where science and the arts were catalyzed by the Black Death and other plagues, brought us blessings and curses: scientific specialization, global colonization, industrialization, and modern conveniences, but at the high cost of nature and cultures destroyed. With Covid-19 and climate disasters requiring urgent action, Piero urges us to reconnect with nature, our artists, visionaries, designers and planners who will decide whether our collective futures will be more quantitative growth or greater quality of life and biodiversity. Will we heed this call to “return to Eden” or will we miss this epic opportunity? As history has shown, and Dante described so brilliantly, we are creators of our own heavens and hells. The voice of nature reaches us through bees and other pollinators. From them, we learn how to listen and understand it. Yesterday’s thinkers display the stage space by raising the curtain on tomorrow. Only the evolutionary surge in culture can enable humankind to surmount the constraints of economic and lifestyle models that have led to the failure of its relationship with nature.
‒ Sheridan Tatsuno, Dreamscape Global
At the heart of Formica’s latest work is a call to arms to achieve synchronicity in our collective response to Nature’s challenges.
‒ Brian Donnellan, Maynooth University
This is a delicate read for people who don’t believe in shallowness and five easy steps to success, efficiency, agility and productivity. A challenge of business bullshit and consultancy lingo.
‒ Kenneth Mikkelsen, Founder of Futureshifts
A broad sweep of reflections on Humankind and the natural world ‒ a challenging guide to all our agonies, enlightenments, and responses to the pandemic and other manifestations of life today
I have learned from experience not to approach any new book or treatise offered by Piero Formica without sufficient time to escape following protracted consideration and re-imagination stimulated by his deep and agile mind and the breadth of his ability to join up elements of life and existence that are too often divided through the conventions and constraints that capture us all. To be ourselves is difficult indeed. Artificial intelligence, so much discussed, and machine learning have yet to match the power of narrative and storytelling in causing many of us to re-examine our status and the prospects of our futures. With a Foreward by Aaron Greenberg PhD and an Afterword provided by Brian Donnellan PhD we are treated to preparation, context, and perspective from two others of intellectual excellence which is suitably unsettling as a whole and will challenge the most confident and complacent to consider anew and re-evaluate.
My words are intended to persuade you to delve into this treasure trove of original thinking as you, like me stagger and reel at this exhausting time of the ongoing pandemic. As I write vaccines to deal with Covid 19 are just beginning to be delivered with much of human expectation of our generations hoping and willing, and praying if we believe in prayer, that this might be the beginning of the end. Piero, however, would have us believe rather that we have yet to arrive at the end of the beginning in ordering our minds to take account of how much has changed as the result of work of an organism some claim is not “living” in the sense of animal life as we generally consider it, cannot be seen or sensed in normal ways and has essentially thrown the world into disarray. And, says Piero – what a time this is for us to re-imagine so much relating to the transdisciplinary bridges needed for human beings to cross to find new ways of considering economics, how human activity, progress and success and failure can be evaluated following the shock in learning that GDP growth is not a given and ways we may have disregarded the context of our existence in the world at large – one set of beings within an ecosystem so wondrous and complex that “measurement” as our conventions have determined it, is meaningless beside the threat of unexpected disease and death about which we have been able to do so little.
Piero has ever been a stimulator for some of us of new thinking and the need to seek new pathways. His references are many and his reminder of the power of Steinbeck’s narrative at another time of a different kind of natural born disaster related to climate, is likely to send us back to our bookshelves to refresh with profound storytelling to inspire us anew. So much is addressed, and Piero does not neglect the areas we have come to expect him to explore with new thoughts – such as entrepreneurship and entrepreneurialism. And I always find myself drawn to deeper thinking by his references to “creative ignorance”. I love it. As an octogenarian who spends most of life working with students from around the world of twenty years of age or little more, and loving every minute of it, I was struck by Piero’s description of the young in this Covid and hopefully soon post Covid world who are “swimming in the waters of doubt”. In a sense, this treatise is a call to arms – and has made me consider the great importance of divergence and convergence – of culture, subject matter, technologies, art, and humanities. Connectedness, connectivity and “joined-upness” will surely be more important in the future than ever – but no less challenging. And I end with a word, not yet in the dictionary which I find myself using increasingly – “connectricity” – connectedness plus energy. One of the ways we may rise to Piero’s challenges and create the currents that determine the future.
‒ Alan Barrell, former Entrepreneur in Residence, Entrepreneurship Centre, Judge Business School, Cambridge