Perhaps we should not call it ecological ‘thinking’, but rather ‘ecological realization’
You have to learn to crawl before you learn to walk. But you won’t discover crawling at all until you try to walk.
Ecological thinking is finding that hidden middle step that nobody tells you about. (Just like the exercise we did to compile that table, remember?)
One principal of time management and productivity is the “Ready, Fire, Aim” approach to life. I suspect this is the core of ecological thinking. Ecological thinking has to be tested through tangible means. It would be near impossible to discover a process that is groundbreaking, sustainable, cyclic, and holistic merely by thinking and theorizing. You have to take everything you’ve got, throw it at the wall, test it out, see how your idea’s stand up to the weathering of time and circumstance – and then go back to the drawing board.
For example, one sustainable, holistic, and integral skill that I learned through ecological thinking was walking. Now I didn’t learn to walk by sitting on the floor, thinking about what the best placement of my feet could be. I just felt the urge to stand up. I did. I fell on my face, realized maybe I need to take it slow, start closer to the ground so I don’t hurt myself, maybe just put one hand in front of the other, then one knee…suddenly i’m crawling! What a concept. (And a great way to reach those cookies…)
Ecological thinking shows us – through trial, error, failure, tests of time – where we need to lay our foundations for eventual success.
It is important to understand the origins of that initial ‘urge’ that spurs us into the failures leading up to an ecological realization (such as walking). Impulse is the key ingredient to beginning the process of ecological thought. There must be an intrinsic drive to achieve something and maintain it before we will hurl ourselves into the dangerous test-drive derby of the ecological. In the example of walking, the urge likely comes from an inherited instinct that I must move to survive, and the best way to move would be in the same way as the other humans I see around me: walking. In the tree example, the urge to spread roots and find nutrients via trial and error also comes from the urge to survive.
So, because ecological thinking can be a sensational and rough process, it is usually preceded by a strong urge to survive or endure something. That could be anything from life in the jungle to life in a design department. The key is finding solid justification, walking into the smog, taking up arms, firing to clear the air, and once you have made the first big mistake, the first faceplant – that is when you see your target.
1. Dr. Deanna Mazur. P.h.D, M.D, B.F.A