‘Thinking like a Mystic’

The Unacknowledged Legacy of P.D. Ouspenksy’s Tertium Organum on the Development of Leopold’s ‘Thinking Like a Mountain’


  • Ashley Pryor The University of Toledo




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.

Author Biography

Ashley Pryor, The University of Toledo

Associate Professor, Department of Women's and Gender Studies, Department of Philosophy


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How to Cite

Pryor, A. (2011). ‘Thinking like a Mystic’: The Unacknowledged Legacy of P.D. Ouspenksy’s Tertium Organum on the Development of Leopold’s ‘Thinking Like a Mountain’. Journal for the Study of Religion, Nature and Culture, 5(4), 465–490. https://doi.org/10.1558/jsrnc.v5i4.465