‘Thinking like a Mystic’
The Unacknowledged Legacy of P.D. Ouspenksy’s Tertium Organum on the Development of Leopold’s ‘Thinking Like a Mountain’
Keywords:Leopold, mysticism, Ouspensky, Thinking Like a Mountain
Most Aldo Leopold scholars acknowledge P.D. Ouspensky’s in?uence on both Leopold’s proto-Land Ethic of the early 1920s and insight that the earth is more than inert material and is itself a ‘living thing’. The possibility that Leopold’s later philosophical, ecological, and spiritual development were in?uenced by his reading of Ouspensky, however, has received little attention. A close reading of Leopold’s ‘Thinking Like a Mountain’, as well as key passages of A Sand County Almanac through the theoretical lens of Ouspensky’s analysis in Tertium Organum, suggests that Leopold’s frequent attribution of affective and psychical states, especially love, to nonhuman beings (and Leopold’s most curious and haunting suggestion that dead things too might listen) is consistent with Ouspensky’s theory if not a direct heir to it.
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