How to deal with root causes as well as down-stream effects, and in the process save our humanity



This is the second in our new “TreeBrothers Series” in which we invite the brotherhood into our collective conversation on behalf of the well-developed masculine. This is a guest blog post by Giles Hutchins, author of The Nature of Business, The Illusion of Separation, and Future Fit.

Underpinning our crisis of resources and crisis of relationships plaguing so much of our lives today is a crisis of spirit, which stems from our sense of separation from Nature – the very ground of our being.

In short, the root cause of our current crises is our relationship with Life: our relationship with the phenomenological and psychical; the physical and metaphysical. Through a narrowing-down constricting lens, we have come to perceive Nature as something out there, something to be controlled and manipulated for human betterment; an objectified environment ‘out there’ separate from our ‘sense of self’. This sense of separation breeds profound psychic suffering in us causing all sorts of problems: fear, anxiety, egotism, individualism, consumerism. We wind up with a mind-set of having, wanting, controlling, owning, consuming; a mind-set that pervades so much of how we operate and organise today. As a result, we create what Einstein calls an optical delusion of consciousness: entrapping ourselves in our own hall of mirrors, struggling to see beyond our own illusions, sensing ourselves as separate from and in competition with the world around us.

Following in the footsteps of the influential enlightenment philosopher Thomas Hobbes, biologist Thomas Henry Huxley and sociologist Herbert Spencer portrayed a picture of life rooted in domination, control and competition, set within the scene of a savage struggle for survival. This outdated Social Darwinist worldview still dominates our perspective, eroding our humanity and corrupting our society, warping our relations into self-serving power plays. Enter the demise of our civilisation and widespread ecological devastation now upon us.

What to do?

The good news is that myriad disciplines are unearthing profound discoveries about how life really is beyond this narrowing-down logic of yesterday.  Whether it be the varied disciplines of facilitation ecology, depth psychology, quantum physics, neuroscience or organisational and leadership development, new findings all the while are pointing to a deeper understanding of how life really is. With it a new worldview is emerging, a worldview based on the timeless wisdom of Nature – a logic of true life unfettered by the jaundice ego-eyed squint of yesterday’s logic.


This innate wisdom of Nature is what the anthropologist and social ecologist Gregory Bateson spoke of as the Mind of Nature; what the natural philosopher Henry Corbin referred to as mundus imaginalis ‘the imaginal realm’; and what the quantum physicist David Bohm called the ground-of-all-being. It is the metaphysical backdrop or ‘ocean of being’ which infuses everything within every moment. This is a very real and potent presence in our lives. Our opening up to this ground-of-all-being is our wise way out of our present predicament. Geo-engineered, bio-robotic Big Data ‘solutions’ are yet more detritus, unless infused with this ground-of-all-being.

Mechanistic reductionism > Living-systems logic

Individualism > Inter-being

Separation > Diversity-within-unity

Control-and-predict > Synchronicity

Patriarchy > Inclusivity

So how do we embrace and embody this new worldview? By nothing more, nor nothing less than opening up to our natural awareness; by reducing the dominance of our rationalising thinking heads and allowing what Carl Jung referred to as our four ways of knowing to cohere within us: intuitive, rational, somatic, emotional.


‘Every leaf of the tree becomes a page of the book, once the heart is opened and it has learnt to read.’

Saadi Shirazi

As we allow a coherence of these natural ways of knowing to occur within us (through contemplative practices and such like) we open ourselves up to a phenomenological and numinous experience of Life.

This is a felt-sense, an embodied experience, a knowing, a Gnosis. For the ancient Greeks, this was foundational to a philosophic way of life, primary to Knowing Thy Self, essential to becoming wise. This is not simply the province of philosopher and poet but an authentic altogether human experience of life, lived within each evolving moment.



‘The greatest voyage of our lifetimes is not in the seeking of new landscapes but in the seeing with new eyes.’

Marcel Proust

Scientific studies are now satisfying our rationalising thinking-minds by quantifiably proving what happens to us when we open up to Life in this way. We shift from a state of dis-ease to one of well-being, from anxiety to authenticity. Electrode tests and brain-wave scans show us that when we allow this coherence to occur within us, our left and right brain hemispheres start to synchronise, as do our head-heart-gut networks and our sympathetic and parasympathetic bodymind networks.

And with this arise profound physical and psychical effects. We see a sharp increase in stem cell reproduction, tissue repair rates and neural connectivity. Our senses liven, we perceive the world more vividly and intimately yet also in a more relaxed attentive way, and our brain waves start to entrain with the deeper more powerful electromagnetic rhythms of the heart. Our hormones change too and we start to feel more alive, engaged and empathic. Our ability to listen and share improves, as does our ability to be responsive to, rather than reactive to, what occurs. Studies also show an increase in our intuition, and our ability to sense subtle synchronicities.

In short, we shift from grasping anxiety and control-based fear into a more creative, expansive, participatory state of being. German philosopher Martin Heidegger used the ancient Greek term ‘em>poiesis’, as an unfolding being-in-the-world where we are ever unfolding, deepening our authenticity as a participatory, co-creative venture of life, fully engaged with and immersed in Life – not abstracted from it through illusory perceptions of separation. The French philosopher Henri Bergeson spoke of ‘Elan Vital’ as the creative flow innate within Life, flowing through us. The ancient Greeks spoke of ‘Sophia’ as the wisdom innate within the Mind of Nature.

As we learn to open up to more of our humanity, we open up to Life, and our sense of separation is replaced by a humbling sense of awe and reverence for the wild wisdom innate within this world. As Goethe noted, we get to know the inner most weave of the world, witness its dynamics and creation, and stop rummaging about in rationalisations. This subtle shift in attention provides for a richer, deeper, more purposeful meaning to emerge within us. This is the ‘art of living’ our educational and organisational systems ought to encourage within us, to help ensure our continual cultivation of becoming ever more transparent with the transcendent and ever more intimate with the imminent, as we learn to read the book of Nature with fresh yet timeless eyes. From here we shift our worldview in a deeply felt way, from hubris to humility, from anthropocentric materialism to sacred synchronicity. We deal with root causes as well as their downstream effects.


Speaker, writer, adviser Giles Hutchins blogs at his latest book is Future Fit, which explores how the future of business can be in harmony with Nature. Formerly Global Head of Sustainability for an 80,000 employee IT service-provider, author of the booksThe Nature of Business and The Illusion of Separation and adviser to a variety of pioneering educational establishments, Giles explores a new paradigm inspired by and in harmony with Nature. Here is a short video about his work and a podcast series

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