If we can rise out of the human dimension, we will discover larger, more integrated dimensions where mind and nature somehow interpenetrate each other. A coherent vision like that has yet to announce itself here in the post-history pre-apocalypse phase of things. -- Terence McKenna
Oika aims to realign culture with nature through the artistic application of ecological intelligence. Ecological intelligence acknowledges that the laundry list of our most pressing problems (environmental degradation, social and economic injustice, racial strife, appalling politics, active shooters, government corruption, hyper-consumption, xenophobia, etc). are really just symptoms. These shameful realities are but the surface expressions of a deeper cause: errant, human psychology that separates us from nature and each other. The pathologies of this crap thought and action are communicated and maintained through crap culture.
An ecologically intelligent approach does not try to "solve" any of these problems until they are first understood as fundamentally rooted in human cognition that separates. If we don't take this seriously, and find the courage to truly examine ourselves, we will remain stuck, whacking moles, until the entire system collapses. Our current situation is a terminal illness.
Of course Oika advocates for applied solutions. But it's both/and or nothing. There is a path to flourishing and the good news is, as we heal ourselves, our "problems" will begin to solve themselves, organically.
Oika takes nature seriously and personally.
We approach our lofty goal of nature-culture reintegration through a personal-to-cultural process we call the ecological epiphany. An ecological epiphany is the felt realization that all things and phenomena, including the idea of self, emerge from natural relationships.
We also teach that the quality of any emergent property reflects the quality of the original relationship. So an ecological epiphany leads to a way of thinking and acting that is grounded in systems intelligence and thus values interconnection and interdependence on a deeply personal level.
Oika is a personal process of Cosmosis
We tell the history of the cosmos in a way that emphasizes unity, continuity, and reciprocity. Oika cultivates an ecological epiphany through Cosmosis using storytelling that makes these concepts palpable, enjoyable and live-able.
We believe the lived-experience of a scientifically accurate narrative of the cosmos, told with care, restores a feeling of belonging that can displace the discontent that drives so much fear, conflict, over-consumption and suffering today. Oika simply reframes the human-nature relationship as a co-creative source of joy, purpose and prosperity.
Oika is a science-based, art-driven endeavor to transform people and culture.
The Oika curriculum capitalizes on the fractal nature of nature by organizing our programs to work on the individual level as a path to realizing our goal at the cultural level.
Oika’s rather ambiguous and idealistic mission is genuinely novel and therefore required a period of multifaceted exploration. Over the past three years we created inspirational media, developed and delivered educational programs for children and adults, and carried the message of Oika to the public through numerous talks and events. The experience and insights gained through these efforts have culminated in a much-refined programmatic focus.
Oika now focuses on two deliverable programs:
Oika is a science-based, art-driven, cultural movement to re-establish the experience of nature and relational intelligence into the human condition.
The word Oika is derived from the Ancient Greek word Oikos, which is the source of the term "eco" (as in ecology and economy).
These two concepts (ecology and economy) have become separated, even contradictory. Today, economic prosperity is gained at the expense of ecological integrity. This is flawed thinking, deeply rooted in an inherited myth of separation that has now led us into a spiraling tragedy of discontent. Oika acknowledges that all ecological systems are connected so this simple error in foundational thought and action is now reflected across scales as symmetrical degradation of social, political, cultural and economic systems.
But Oika does not try to solve problems by endless, reactive "problem-solving". You don’t win Whac-a-Mole by whacking moles. You win by cracking the code and perceiving the hidden patterns behind their behavior. But you won’t stop bopping those small, adorable creatures on the head. until you realize you are the mole. Then you unplug the game and really win.
Full disclosure: The author thoroughly enjoys playing this old arcade game.
The future, if there is to be one for us, is ecologically minded. The good news is, being ecological is an immensely pleasurable and gratifying experience. Once felt within the self, it will naturally scale its intelligence from personal to cultural.
Oika aims to re-establish the concept of "eco" back to its original, integral meaning. The programs of Oika bring ecological wellbeing and economic prosperity back into their mutually-enhancing state. We propose this ecological intelligence is the only way for humanity to get back on track, and maintain long-term viability on Earth or elsewhere.
Read more about the etymology of the word Oika
Scientific knowledge about nature and cosmic evolution are the heart of Oika's programming. The curriculum is founded in established, experiential educational theory and based on the empirical research of Oka's founder, Dr. Rich Blundell. Dr. Blundell's research explored the transformative potential of engaging with the cosmic story (aka Big History).
The results of this research are compiled into an educational framework for transformative experience called the Cosmosis,.
We approach our lofty goal from the bottom up. We start at the level of personal thought first, but with the optimistic hope that ecological intelligence will self-propagate to culture.
Previous programs have included:
Note: * The Oika First Encounter Tour is a fiscally-sponsored educational project of the 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, the Good Work Institute. All public talks are offered to free of charge, however, hosting venues with suitable charitable missions are permitted to sell tickets to support their nonprofit, educational purp
For decades, we have been free to assume technology was always good for the progression of humanity. However, in recent years, it has become clear we need to question this assumption. Oika embraces technology but in a very careful, intentional, and counterintuitive way.
We create and curate a suite of technological tools and content for learning, connecting to nature, each other, and ourselves.
The existential crisis of our time has a name. But it's not the zombie apocalypse, the transcendental object or Armageddon. Scientists call it the Anthropocene.
In our time, humanity is beginning to experience the consequences of our accumulating habits of wrong thought and action. The current state of the planet clearly reflects the error, and how hard it is to correct.
We are now called upon as the responsible species to respond to the global challenges we have created. To do this we'll need a more inclusive, reasonable, and ecological culture. We also need a new educational paradigm that can match the changes we need to make within ourselves before we can hope to heal our world.
Oika is a path to that paradigm.
Oika refers to the essential, underlying intelligence of Nature (some call it Gaia). This intelligence is ecological, fractal and distributed. That means it arises from the relations between things and traverses all scales. We are immersed in Oika all the time and can experience it. If we pay attention.
But beyond feeling Oika, we can also work with it. Ecological intelligence can be applied as a source of inspiration and creativity in our daily lives and our professional pursuits.
Engaging with the world through the practice of Oika is not a zero-sum transaction. It is cumulative and mutually enhancing. It feels good to cooperate with Oika because when you align with Nature, the world lets you know by opening up new opportunities.
Ecological intelligence is in critical need. Virtually all of the major problems facing humanity arise from a lack of systemic and relational thinking. Oika represents a new and ancient way of social adaptation. It can also provide a new career opportunity for those inclined to understand and teach this reality.
We need to change the fundamentally flawed assumption of separation between humans and nature.
The Anthropocene is science's best attempt to convey the nature and magnitude of the global, ecological crisis. It's a complex issue but make no mistake, the heart of the problem is US. That's why it's called the Anthropo-cene.
The image above is the most comprehensive visual depiction of the Anthropocene that the world's best scientists can come up with to show the cause of the problem. Can you see the cause? No, it's not biodiversity loss. It's not Phosphorus or even Carbon Dioxide. Keep looking.... Can't find it? It's because the cause of the problem is missing from the scientific understanding of the problem.
Science does not deal with domains such as human affect and culture. So human affect and culture are not included in the scientific understanding.
Scientists are smart but fail to see it's the Anthropos stupid!
Oika's approach is based in the best possible science. But to hope that scientists have the appropriate language to communicate the gravity of the situation (let alone the passion or creative vision needed to do something about it) is a false hope.
Oika is not shy about acknowledging the degree of the crisis or accepting the cause as human discontent rooted in flawed thinking. That's why we call on the arts and humanities to team up with science and step into the challenge