Journal for the Study of Religion, Nature and Culture, Vol 5, No 4 (2011)

‘Thinking like a Mystic’: The Unacknowledged Legacy of P.D. Ouspenksy’s Tertium Organum on the Development of Leopold’s ‘Thinking Like a Mountain’

Ashley Pryor
Issued Date: 28 Dec 2011


Most Aldo Leopold scholars acknowledge P.D. Ouspensky’s influence on both Leopold’s proto-Land Ethic of the early 1920s and insight that the earth is more than inert material and is itself a ‘living thing’. The possibility that Leopold’s later philosophical, ecological, and spiritual development were influenced by his reading of Ouspensky, however, has received little attention. A close reading of Leopold’s ‘Thinking Like a Mountain’, as well as key passages of A Sand County Almanac through the theoretical lens of Ouspensky’s analysis in Tertium Organum, suggests that Leopold’s frequent attribution of affective and psychical states, especially love, to nonhuman beings (and Leopold’s most curious and haunting suggestion that dead things too might listen) is consistent with Ouspensky’s theory if not a direct heir to it.

Download Media

PDF (Price: £17.50 )

DOI: 10.1558/jsrnc.v5i4.465


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Equinox Publishing Ltd - 415 The Workstation 15 Paternoster Row, Sheffield, S1 2BX United Kingdom
Telephone: +44 (0)114 221-0285 - Email:

Privacy Policy