Graduate Liberal Studies Program

Course Description

GLS 592: The Community of Life

Instructor: Ray Mize

a community collage

According to Daniel Quinn, anthropocentrism is "the most dangerous idea in existence" because it necessitates mass extinction, including our own. "And even more ethan being the most dangerous thing in existence--more dangerous than all our nuclear armaments, more dangerous than biological warfare, more dangerous than all the pollutants we pump into the air, the water, and the land. All the same, it sounds pretty harmless. You can hear it and say, 'Uh, yeah, so?' it's pretty simple too. Here it is: Humans belong to an order of being that is separate from the rest of the living community.
There's us and then there's nature. There's humans and then there's the human environment." We have reached the point in existence when this way of thinking is no longer viable, for if we persist in this human-centered way, we will all too soon render this world uninhabitable. This course will explore the idea that we, as humans, are merely one member of a larger community, and not the sole purpose of this world.

Texts will include, but may not be limited to, the following: Leslie Marmon Silko, Ceremony; Edward O. Wilson, The Future of Life; Gary Snyder, Turtle Island; and Aldo Leopold, Sand County Almanac.

Image courtesy of Montgomery College, Montgomery County, Maryland

Last Update: March 31, 2006