Professor Roger Gottlieb, an internationally recognized voice and leader in the field of religious environmentalism, will be the keynote speaker today at The Theosophical Society in America, where he will discuss the notion of using nature as a spiritual teacher.
His talk, “The Radical Intelligence of Nature,” will “discuss how nature engages us with some central spiritual virtues: awareness, gratitude, and compassion,” Gottlieb writes in an email to the Daily Herd. His presentation is part of the organization’s 131st Summer National Convention, being held at the organization’s headquarters in Wheaton, Ill.
“It will be based both in descriptions of some of the lesser known," he says, "but spiritually interesting features of nature—e.g., that trees help each other out—and in the way nature gives us examples of action and grace not rooted in the ego.
“This is important, generally, because in a world of violence, inequality, and technological colonization of the psyche, we need all the relief we can get. And it’s important in particular because humans are creating a vast environmental crisis that is destroying species at the fastest rate in 70 million years.”
The Theosophical Society in America is a branch of The International Theosophical Society with headquarters in Adyar, Chennai, India. Its members are united by their approval of the Society's Three Objects: by their wish to remove religious antagonisms and to draw together people of goodwill whatsoever their religious opinions, and by their desire to study religious truths, and to share the results of their studies with others.
Gottlieb, a professor of philosophy at WPI, is the author or editor of 20 books and more than 100 articles on a range of topics from environmentalism to religious life and contemporary spirituality, political philosophy, ethics, the Holocaust, feminism, and disability.
His work has appeared in academic journals, as well as popular publications, and is featured online at the Huffington Post, Tikkun Daily, and Patheos.
“[My talk] will be based both in descriptions of some of the lesser known but spiritually interesting features of nature—e.g., that trees help each other out—and in the way nature gives us examples of action and grace not rooted in the ego." -Roger Gottlieb
He is also a sought-after public speaker known for his passion and for his moving accounts of spirituality in this age of environmental crisis, according to his biography, and is known for his innovative and humane description of the role religion plays in a democratic society.
With his recent work on religious environmentalism, A Greener Faith: Religious Environmentalism and our Planet's Future, and The Oxford Handbook on Religion and Ecology, Gottlieb took his place in the forefront of this political, environmental, and religious movement.
Gottlieb came to WPI in 1981 after earning his PhD in philosophy from Brandeis University and working as a visiting assistant professor at the University of Connecticut and Tufts University.
- By Ellen Ishkanian