The social and environmental crises we face today are unprecedented: climate change, biodiversity loss, species extinction, deforestation, and air, water, and soil contamination. These material crises threaten the very basis of life and are indicative of what many believe to be a deeper spiritual crisis, rooted in misperceptions of our fundamental interconnectedness.
At this urgent and challenging time, The Arrow is seeking contributions for a special issue that explores this disconnection between nature and humanity, and among human beings themselves. The provocation is that ecological crisis and societal polarization emerge from a shared foundation: a dualistic logic of domination and exploitation. The objective of this special issue is to penetrate obstacles to our collective self-understanding in ways that could allow us to act with greater care toward one another and the planet.
The speed, atomization, and callous materialism of the modern world are grounded in systems of thinking and acting characterized by domination of nature and other human beings. These include colonialism and imperialism, with their logic of supremacy over land and “others;” capitalism, with its logic of materialism, selfishness, class superiority, and boundless exploitation of human and natural resources; racism, with its logic of white supremacy; patriarchy, with its logic of male superiority; and speciesism, with its anthropocentric logic of human superiority.
Though these may appear to be separate forms of domination and exploitation, they share an ontological root from which emerges a multitude of social and ecological crises. Living in the shadow of these systems, we adopt a narrow world view that foregrounds a sense of entitlement to take what is not offered, take more than one’s fair share, take more than can be replenished, and take until it causes hurt. These “takings” create vast inequities and threaten our collective ability for resilience, empathy, and interdependent flourishing.
We invite contributions from practitioners, scholars, and activists that explore these dynamics, as well as potential pathways toward healing and authentic community based on shared sentience. We particularly welcome work that advances inclusive dialogue on questions such as:
- How do dualistic perceptions of self/other enable domination and exploitation in our society? How does domination manifest in our bodies, lives, and communities? What are the personal, social, and environmental consequences of rewarding callous individualism, selfishness, or narcissism? How can we honestly examine and reject abusive relations when they are entrenched in our history, culture, politics, and economic systems?
- What guidance, practices, and experiences would lead us toward more sustainable collective forms of social and economic reproduction? How can we support human autonomy while valuing difference, building community, and enabling coexistence?
- How can we develop internal capacities to work with grief, powerlessness, fear, and other emotions as they arise in our efforts to confront ecological and/or social crises? What possibilities exist for collective action and imagination to overcome isolation and individual powerlessness?
- What can we learn from communities that refrain from exploitation, or from contemplative practices that work to dispel dualistic thinking? How can we create the conditions for empathy, connection, and acting from a deep understanding of interconnectedness? How might subaltern worldviews inform potential restorative and systemic transformations?
- How can we champion scientific and socioecological priorities based on more holistic perspectives?
In all of these topics we encourage an awareness of the multilayered ways in which race, gender, class, and other dimensions of social identity and oppression intersect.
Please read our Submission Guidelines prior to submitting. We invite the work of authors from diverse traditions, and we welcome a variety of formats, including scholarly articles, essays, and poetry. When submitting, please indicate whether the submission is a scholarly article, essay, comment, poem, or other. Scholarly articles will be peer reviewed. Submissions may be emailed as Microsoft Word Documents to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Arrow Journal explores the relationship among contemplative practice, politics, and activism. Inspired in its founding by the teaching and social vision of meditation master Chögyam Trungpa, The Arrow welcomes the insights of multiple contemplative lineages for achieving a kinder, healthier, and more compassionate world. We encourage dialogue on wisdom and knowledge arising from methods of contemplative inquiry, ways of embodied knowing, and intellectual disciplines. In doing so, The Arrow provides a critical and much needed space for investigating the meeting point of contemplative wisdom and pressing social, political, and environmental challenges.