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Perceptions of Inseparability: A Heuristic Response to Thomas Berry's Call for Connection



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This dissertation represents my heuristic response to cultural and ecological historian, Thomas Berry’s (1988, 1999, 2006) multi-dimensional call for connection to the Earth. The term, Heuristic, defined as “enabling a person to discover or learn something for [oneself]” (www. describes a journey of learning undertaken out of a desire to live more justly and sustainably on this planet. My inquiry began with a search for the foundational meanings underlying Berry’s statement: Humans must undertake a radical shift in consciousness in order to come to the realization that the Earth is a Communion of Subjects and not a Collection of Objects ( It led to a holistic exploration of academic study and lived experience in the realms of evolutionary science, quantum theory, depth psychology, Indigenous wisdom, and contemplative practice. It resulted in a shift in consciousness that strengthened my connections to human and other-than-human inhabitants of the Earth, added depth to my own story, and provided understandings about the inseparability of all life from a number of perspectives. This work will contribute to the body of educational literature that explores the integration of qualitative Place-based, Arts-based, Narrative, and Contemplative ways of knowing with rigorous scholarly research. I intend to apply the holistic learning gleaned from the integration of the scholarly and participatory components of this research to the development of future pedagogy that enhances the understanding that human beings are inseparably connected not only to our human ancestors, but to the other species, and to the ancient energies of the Earth as well.



Communion, The Earth is a Communion of Subjects, Shift of Consciousness, Inseparable Connections: Evolutionary Story, Quantum Reality, Eco-psychology, Indigenous Wisdom, and Contemplative Practice.



Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


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Educational Foundations


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