Watch the video of Satish Kumar’s talk at TEDxExeter 2012.
Scroll down the page for biographical information and news.
Video and Live blogging
Big grin and wave from Satish, and a big cheer from the audience.
Threesomes throughout the ages – Father, Son, Holy Spirit; mind, body, spirit; liberté, egalité, fraternité; life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Satish comes with soil, soul and society. We come from and will return to the soil. We think we can control nature, but we are not nature’s rulers. We need to learn to revere nature because we are part of it – what James Lovelock calls Gaia. Sowing an apple seed in the soil is a much better investment than banking. Plant a tiny seed, and a tree generously bent with fruit will grow. And you don’t need a credit card to pick the apples!
Richard Dawkins says there is no such thing as soul or spirit, but everything has soul, and if we don’t care for the soul, we can’t care for the earth. “An artist is not a special kind of person, rather every person is a special kind of artist.” (Meister Eckhart) We have potential to be another Van Gogh, Shakespeare, or Gandhi. We need to look beyond the 9-5 office existence and take care of our souls.
We have been too focused on our own narrow identities and not enough on society. If Satish had walked on his peace pilgrimage as an Indian, he would have met a Pakistani. If he had walked as a socialist, he would have met a capitalist. But he walked without labels as a human being, and met other human beings. We need diversity, otherwise we will have no unity. But we need to avoid divisions – celebrate our diversity. Tourists always complain – laughter! Pilgrims celebrate. No more living as me me me me, my house, my job, my ego. Let’s be our true selves, and live on the earth as pilgrims. Earth is and you are, therefore I am. We are members of one earth community. That is society, and we are all members.
Soul, soil and society are three connected words in our interconnected world. Leadership is not going to come out of No.10 or the White House. We are all potential leaders, every one of us. Gandhi: “be the change you want to see in the world”. Speaking at TEDx is wonderful, but our words and our actions have to be consistent. So he gives us this new related trinity of soil, soul and society.
Satish Kumar is an internationally renowned speaker on ecological and spiritual issues. When he was only nine years old, Satish renounced the world and joined the wandering brotherhood of Jain monks. He left the monastic order and became a campaigner for land reform, working to turn Gandhi’s vision of a peaceful world into reality, before undertaking an 8,000 mile peace pilgrimage, walking from India to America without any money, through deserts, mountains, storms and snow.
Since 1973 he has been Editor at Resurgence magazine and his books include No Destination; You Are Therefore I Am; Spiritual Compass; Earth Pilgrim.
Satish teaches, lectures and runs workshops on reverential ecology, holistic education and voluntary simplicity. He was awarded an Honorary Doctorates in Education (2000), Literature (2001) and in 2009 an Honorary Doctorate of Law from the University of Exeter.
Satish has regularly contributed to Radio 4’s Thought for the Day and has appeared as a guest on Desert Island Discs. He featured in BBC2’s Natural World Series – Earth Pilgrim: A Spiritual Journey into the Landscape of Dartmoor. Satish is a Vice President at the RSPCA.
News about Satish Kumar
Satish Kumar was our very first speaker at our very first TEDxExeter in 2012. He has kindly written a guest blog for us at the start of Resurgence magazine‘s 50th anniversary year.
It was my honour to give one of the first TEDxExeter lectures on Soil, Soul & Society. I have been editing Resurgence magazine for the past 42 years, although Resurgence has been in publication for the past 50 years. It is heartening that Resurgence has been exploring new ideas about sustainability, holistic science, spirituality and creativity and, similar to TEDTalks, Resurgence is also a forum for ideas and actions.
In the wake of the Paris Climate Change Conference the world needs actions. Climate change is only a symptom of our current human predicament, we have to look deep to find the causes of climate change. Of course it is easy to say that fossil fuel is the cause and therefore shifting to renewable energy will solve the problem. However, in my view we have to look deeper into the cause of climate change. We have to ask why we have become so dependent on fossil fuel and why we have an ever increasing demand for it?
It is because we have come to believe that economic growth is the ultimate goal of human life. This belief needs to be questioned. Of course, economy has a place but it needs to be kept in its place. All human beings have a right to a good quality of life which includes sufficient supply of food, clothes, housing, medicine and transportation but these needs have to be met within the limits of planet Earth which is finite. The finite planet cannot afford an infinite economic growth and therefore we have to shift our focus from the economic growth to growth in wellbeing and this shift is the focus of Resurgence.
Together with Resurgence, The Ecologist magazine was also a champion of environmental sustainability and in 2012 Resurgence and The Ecologist came together to be published as one magazine as Resurgence & Ecologist.
This year we will be celebrating the 50th anniversary of Resurgence with an event at Worcester College, Oxford from 22-25 September. Heads of Friends of the Earth, Green Peace, WWF, Green Party, Soil Association, Oxfam, Wildlife Trusts and Forum of the Future along with many movers and shakers, poets, artists, activists and entrepreneurs will be joining us in the celebration.
Resurgence & Ecologist is published six times a year, if you would like to receive a complimentary pdf version (please click here). Although the magazine is available on line it is also available in print – it is so nice to hold an actual copy in your hand and flick through the pages and glance over the beautiful images. You can request a free sample of print version by writing to Jeanette Gill, Rocksea Farmhouse, St Maybyn, Bodmin, Cornwall PL30 3BR.