Elías Capriles

Author on philosophy, psychology, Buddhism and other disciplines.

Type of intervention: Lecture

Title: The Recovery of Inner Ecology as the Basis for the Healing of the External Ecosystem, and the Function of Transpersonal Education in that Process

Abstract: Bateson suggested that “mind” pervaded both our “inner,” mental dimension and the “external” world, speaking of an Ecology of Mind that embraced both dimensions. The disruption of the physical ecosystem is both a result of, and something that develops interdependently with, the disruption of the ecology of the mental dimension. The Ancient Eurasian world saw spiritual and social evolution as a degenerative process propelled by the gradual development and growth of a combination of ignorance of the true condition of ourselves and all phenomena, and an experiential distortion of that condition, which was called avidya in Sanskrit and marigpa in Tibetan. That delusion develops in the inner dimension, gradually disrupting the “internal” ecosystem—and, by the same token, the “external” one. Two essential elements of this development are the gradual increase of the illusory separation between the individual mind and the external world, which at some point turns antagonistic, and the development of fragmentary perception illustrated by the Buddhist and Sufi parable of the blind men with the elephant. As Fromm noted, just as there can be a folie à deux, there can be a folie à millions—which is what humankind currently suffers from. In our time that delusion or folie has achieved its empiric reductio ad absurdum because the effects of its current project—the project of modernity—are the very opposite of the purported intention at the root of that project, which was the production of a technological Eden: instead, we have given rise to a hellish situation and come to the verge of our self-destruction.

Can this be healed, and the future of humankind and the global ecosystem be rescued, by means of education? That depends on what is understood by “education.” If “education” is understood as the mere transference of intellectual knowledge from some individuals who are supposed to be “more evolved” to others that are supposed to be “less evolved,” then, I reckon, the answer is no. (In particular, who would educate such educators? Or the educators of the educators?) But if we understand by “education” a process of experiential openness to the transpersonal dimensions, and in particular the application of traditional and non-traditional methods for eradicating the avidya that is the core of ecological disruption—accompanied by a pedagogic endeavor making people-at-large understand the causes of the ecological crisis that disrupted both dimensions, and of the methods to achieve the unavoidable transformation of both dimensions—then the answer could perhaps be yes.

Resumed biography: Professor Elias has been chairman of Eastern Studies and then researcher-professor at the University of The Andes, Mérida, Venezuela, where he taught Philosophy, Buddhism, Asian Religions, Globalization and Asian Aesthetics and Arts. He is an instructor of Buddhism and Dzogchen certified by Dzogchen Master Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche. He lectures, leads workshops and teaches courses in many countries of the Americas, Europe and Asia. His works deal with: transpersonal and integral psychology; ontology; philosophy of history; political philosophy; Dzogchen and Tibetan Buddhism; aesthetics; epistemology; sociology; axiology, etc. He managed “spiritual emergency refuges” where those undergoing such natural self-healing processes could go through them, and is an ecological activist. Among his fifteen books published on paper, five e-books, over forty published papers and twelve book chapters, on transpersonal philosophy and psychology most recent and best known is the four-volume The Beyond Mind Papers: Transpersonal and Metatranspersonal Theory (Blue Dolphin, Nevada City, CA, 2013). His most recent book is Chamanismo y Dzogchén (La Llave, Barcelona, Spain).

Country: Venezuela

Language of the intervention: English