ways of 'thinking' limited


Persecution of those who do not gain access to knowledge in ways commonly accepted in Western cultures have played out in various ways, both in the past and present. These include:

  • general ostracization and risk of public ridicule for using the pendulum (Graves, 1989)
  • laws such as a Papal bull issued by Pope John XXII in 1326 C.E which outlawed the use of dowsers (Conway, 2001, pp. 11-12)
  • risk of public ridicule for those who admit to practicing animal communication (Plumwood, 2002; Williams, 2005)
  • the banning of the use of the drum for shamanic journeying and knowledge acquisition in Scandinavia (Behnsen, 2006; see also, Walter & Fridman, 2004)
  • general exclusion of courses in telepathic animal communication from veterinary schools (Smith, 2006)
  • the explicit expression that including knowledge from animists in academic conversation is a risky academic proposal (see Harvey, 2006b)
  • the Canadian government's practice to outlaw such practices as the Sun Dance (Witt, 2006).
  • cutting of funding to the arts in times of economic restraint

These are practices which, in various ways, have potential to permeate the socially constructed human/nature divide and offer instances of a "different paradigm" – perhaps the one that is so often called for in the context of complex and sometimes catastrophic environmental problems (see Stirling, 2007).


How might the privileging of the intellect, criteria for research, and the offering of academic positions and tenure in the Academy constrain the use of these ways of knowing?