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Ecology of Love with Andreas Weber | Part 1: A Cosmos of Mutual Attraction

"Ecosystems are love stories. Our most profound ways to relate and to feel, to exchange and to be touched, are ecological forms of gifting life, of loving."



Those words of the introduction to Adavaya's course "Ecology of Love" with Andreas Weber immediately touched me. I took part in this 6-week course and want to share the key thoughts of each week with you here in this blog series.



The text bits to follow are spoken words taken from Andreas Weber's lectures. Just the same as I love to work with collages I patched those words together in a way that represent the key points that resonated with me.



Part 1: A Cosmos of Mutual Attraction, Andreas Weber (16.11.2022)

Consider yourself as part of an ecological network


I've got a degree in marine biology. I'm trained to look at the world, just from an outside standpoint. If you do this, you're only seeing objects because you define everything as objects. But that's not how we function. That's not how our body works, our body works very differently. The way we experience is in the end the way our body sees itself, from the inside. It's a profoundly ecological experience. And I think it's one which needs to be represented more.


I'm doing ecology from a first person perspective, I consider myself as part of the ecosystem, as part of an ecological network, as part of an exchange.


This is the guiding track, in order to understand what I'm doing. It's about this two-sidedness of the world as body and matter and about a world of profound internal subjective experience. The mystery is actually located in ourselves, as we are somehow connecting both.



Life as a practice and love as a practice are very profoundly connected at their cores


This intense emotional engagement as an ecological power, or as a power of life. To love might even be considered as the activity and the experience of being fully alive.


Life as a practice and love as a practice are very profoundly connected at their cores. And, as you all know, our civilization doesn't do this connection. The mainstream normally separates life as something somehow causal mechanically, algorithmically, technically happen between things, and love as a profoundly subjective, maybe sociological, psychological choice of freedom, only found in humans. It's really time to rethink this!



Love is a productive equilibrium between an individual and the whole


I'll give you some short preliminary definitions. I will never give you any final definition because I don't have them yet:


Love is a principle of a great fulfilling and productive equilibrium between an individual and the whole. Love is very much about experiencing how we relate to something which englobes us, which encompasses us, which is partly ourselves and partly something else. And this is ecology again.


I'm trying to understand the material world as both being an experience world and inside world, a world full of subjectivity, and immortality and emotions. Everything which is considered as being a thing, an object, has another side, has an experiential side to it, has an inside, in which it is a form of experience.


We are bodies, we are matter, with an inner dimension. In the sense of feeling the slightest touch or the slightest way of being affected by another body, as a profound insight into my existence, shared with other bodies.



Physics as an erotic relationship playing out between bodies


Living on the earth as a being is a profound experience of attraction. We don't really appreciate it because it's so absolutely normal. We call it gravity, or the science calls it gravity. So it's a sort of physical law. But I would say - and this is this is my idea to look at the world with different eyes - it is an attraction. It is an erotic relationship playing out between bodies.


I still remember that the experience of this material touch, my matter meeting that matter, gave me such an incredible soothing sensation. My matter was so happy about being held by matter.


Water molecules being erotically attracted according to Andreas Weber

We're living in a world which takes its course, because there's profound attraction at play. We know something about physics because we have physical bodies. Every molecule is the result of attraction between atoms. Different molecular atomic beings are attracted to others.


We can see the fascinating world of relationships, of erotic bonds, looking at water. Every water is made of one oxygen atom and two hydrogen atoms: H2O. They fall in love with one another and then they are married for life. They form a really, really really strong bond. But then again, the the oxygen molecule in water is also somehow having slighter bonds with other hydrogen molecules around, so they are slightly polyamorous. I'd say water is slightly oscillating between monogamous and polyamorous.


The potential of water has to do with the fact that water is incredibly willing to bind, to relate. We can see this interesting tendency, this desire to build connective tissues, to build community, to somehow stick together and then to break up again.


So to be willing to bind and then to be promiscuous, to build these circles of living up and then breaking down and going away, fading away, dying off. And this shapes our world because the mutual parts in this always change through connection.


So, if you fall in love, your love relationship changes you and you change your partner through your relationship. And if this is a life-giving relationship, you will both be changed in a life-giving way, and this is what we see in the physical universe.


So we see oxygen and hydrogen having this crazy affair and creating water. And water creating life, water making so many more things possible.



Water in the landscape as a sort of erotic exchange


If you follow water in the landscape, if you see water in rivers, and in rivulets, in creeks, in the ocean: you see how it shapes stone, how it shapes the earth, how it shapes land. Water meeting the stone, you see it's very simple.


Water in the mountains: it actually rains down on the mountains, on stone, on rock, and then it somehow finds its way in the depressions and it flows down. And by this over the millions of years creates the shape of the mountains and the valleys. So already there we have a sort of erotic exchange, transforming both poles, both players, into something else.


If we look at rivers, we see that the water shapes the stones into something which looks very much like water. These pebbles become so beautifully shaped, round and smooth, like water because they are in touch with water.


water running over water changing identities according to Andreas Weber

It's a sort of change of identities because if you look at water, running over stone, it's not longer smooth, it's it starts to be choppy, it starts to be ragged, it starts to splash, it starts to be noisy. You know, it starts to take the form of stone. So in a way, it's this process, this very, very simple process of meeting of two different elements, somehow makes one element know something about the other.


Erotic desire is a way to know myself and it's a way to know other.


Look at what water does on the earth, how much the presence of water changes everything. The atmosphere is work of water and the oceans are water and without the oceans, there would be no life.



The tides of the ocean, another form of profound erotic attraction


Looking at the interaction between the Earth and the other celestial bodies, mainly the moon: the marine tides design the whole coastal landscapes of the oceans. This is it's another form of profound erotic attraction


So the tides are a way how our planet is somehow trying to embrace the moon. You see, the two Gods trying to embrace one another and all this because of this profound erotic presence of water.


Why do we love the ocean? Because you are water experiencing water. If you look at something, you can never see your eye, you can only see what you're looking at. If I swim in the ocean, I can see the eye with which I see. I am water and I can understand water.


experiencing water in the water according to Andreas Weber

The ocean also can experience something which he couldn't if I weren't there. So the ocean can experience himself as confined into a tiny space, confined into an individuality, who is able to act autonomously. And this is also incredibly enriching.


So if I'm swimming in the ocean, I'm also the ocean experiencing what it means to be a living actor confined to a defined space. I'm also the ocean experiencing what it means to be alive. Isn't that absolutely fantastic?


When you cry a tear, you taste on your tongue, the sea from which life originated. This is the reach of our experience. And this is the dissolution of our experience, at the same time.



My summaries of the other parts of this online course will be published soon.


 

Connect with your outer and inner nature at one of my events and retreats or dive deeper in a 1:1 guidance.


 
About Andreas Weber:

Dr Andreas Weber is a philosopher, biologist, and writer. He holds degrees in marine biology and cultural studies, and has collaborated with brain researcher and philosopher Francisco Varela.


Weber regularly contributes to major newspapers and magazines, such as National Geographic, GEO, and Die Zeit, and has won a number of awards for his writing. He teaches philosophy at Leuphana University, Lüneburg and at the University of Fine Arts, Berlin. Weber has a wife and two children. He lives in Berlin and Italy.


Andreas’ work is focusing on a re-evaluation of our understanding of the living. He is proposing to understand organisms as subjects & hence the biosphere as a meaning-creating & poetic reality.


His books in English include: Enlivenment: Towards a Fundamental Shift in the Concepts of Nature, Culture and Politics (2013); The Biology of Wonder: Aliveness, Feeling, and the Metamorphosis of Science (2016); and Biopoetics: Towards an Existential Ecology (2016).



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