The Proteus Initiative

approaching an ecology of consciousness

We work with all aspects of social change – consulting, facilitating, writing, teaching. We strive to bring together a sensibility for, understanding of, and practice towards the relationship between ecological wholeness and social coherence and healing. Enabling people to stretch their processes of inner and outer development to greater edges and depths; this is the foundation for socially responsive and life-supporting practices.

This innovative approach to Reflective Social Practice can be taken further by undertaking a postgraduate training up to and including Masters level, to see more about this go to proteusschool.org.uk.

Have a look...

  • Living With and Beyond Fear - a workshop for women - Cape Town, October 2017
    "When the root is deep there is no reason to fear the wind" - African Proverb
    We are living in the darkest of times. For the first time in the history of our world, a future – for all life on this planet, and for our beloved Earth itself – is no longer a given. Fear, rage and rising hopelessness are rife. How do we navigate our way in a time that has no precedent? How do we face this collective ‘dark night of the soul’? How, in the face of crushing fear and anguish, can we find a way, not to close down, but to open to our deepest humanity? Read full brochure here.
  • Integrating Goethe - professional development for social practitioners - an invitation to join a group in Cape Town
    Those of us who have been exposed to − and by? - the ‘Goethean Glance’ know that it renders the world a World once more, with all the promise that it contained in childhood, deepened and strengthened by our experiences of coming up against it. We know that it leaves us able to see further − though such seeing can also be painful. We know that seeing further ‘out’ can only be achieved simultaneously with seeing further ‘in’ − and we know what that entails. Read full brochure HERE.
  • The Wholeness of Life - Towards a New Practice of Change - New Zealand 2017: An Introductory Residential Workshop with Sue Davidoff and Allan Kaplan. We live in a complex world; a world of ambiguity and uncertainty. Every time we act within a social context, we are confronted with this unpredictability, ambiguity and uncertainty. A conventional response to this is to try to simplify it. We strive to reduce complexity, in order to better manage our world. Such a response seeks to control life, not to enhance it. But our very attempts to ‘manage’ in these ways create the ‘problems’ which then appear to overwhelm us. Read full brochure HERE.

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Posted on
Having spent the last weeks, through the turning of the year, in mountain wilderness, our eyes, on returning to the highways that run through rural land on their journey to the city, are differently attuned.
At one point we must stop amidst a row of vehicles queuing on account of road works, and my eyes saunter over the surrounding fields. The highway, and our queue of cars, are ambushed by a grain monoculture that spreads relentlessly to the horizon on all sides, turning the landscape of rounded hills into a barrenness of functionality. Already the wildness within which we have lived these last weeks is being banished. My eyes scan the fields with a rising despair; then, suddenly, I spy vestiges of wilderness vegetation, scattered remnants of mountain plant life, still remaining but confined now to narrow strips of diversity running between the monopolies of fields and grains and fences. The landscape of commodification dominates the space so entirely that I have to adjust my seeing even to notice the wild plant life that borders some of the fields. My heart lurches – there, scattered, humiliated, the last of the once proud tribe of wild mountain vegetation breathes in the fumes of pesticides and diesel. We have been living amongst their brethren who still remain in their inaccessible mountain, amongst the limpid waters of streams and light-drenched summits of stone. Now my heart shakes again as the row of cars gears and revs into moving onward once more, and we with it; as we move through the gears, the remnants of scattered wild, refugee now in what was once its home, disappear entirely. In spite of myself, my own seeing is getting lost in the blurring of the way.

Posted on
Turning and turning in the widening gyre
   
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
   
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
   
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
 
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
   
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
   
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
   
Are full of passionate intensity.

                                                                            The Second Coming
                                                                             William Butler Yeats
                                                                   (1865-1939)


It is not difficult to feel deep despair as we gaze upon the world we currently inhabit. Failure is all around us – nationally and globally. Institutions, governments, international bodies are somehow failing to meet the growing world crisis at social, political, economic and environmental levels. It’s as if the unprecedented unravelling of our humanity is neither seen nor acknowledged in its enormity. Monstrous impositions of dehumanising and devivifying policies and practices rage throughout the world, and what we witness is extraordinary pictures of human suffering and growing uncertainty, where Yeats’ words take on a particular power and energy; more pertinent to these times than he ever might have imagined!

Posted on
The Proteus Initiative brings a Goethean phenomenology to bear on processes of social and environmental change. This means, amongst many other things, that we emphasise observation, the art of paying attention, not just as a means for understanding situations but also as a specific approach towards facilitating change in complex situations. There are many senses employed in the process of observation (not to mention a disciplined imagination), and Goethe noted that “every phenomenon rightly perceived opens a new organ of perception”. Clearly observational rigour develops the practitioner as much as it provides insight for appropriate approaches to specific situations.