Journal for the Study of Religion, Nature and Culture, Vol 4, No 3 (2010)

Grizzly Man and the Spiritual Life

Patrick Curry
Issued Date: 4 Oct 2010


The story of Timothy Treadwell, as portrayed in Werner Herzog’s film (2005), provides a basis for a critique of two opposing attitudes and programmes which can be identified, in broad metaphysical terms, as spiritual idealism and scientific materialism. I criticize the former, inferring from Treadwell’s fate the danger – for spiritual seekers, directly, and for scholars, indirectly – of trying to be at-one or achieve absolute unity with the beloved. I then recommend a radical but viable middle way, grounded in our embodied, imperfect, unstable, liminal nature – a view clearly evident in aboriginal and folk wisdom traditions but also articulated by philosophers including Merleau-Ponty, Plumwood, Abram, Snyder and Bateson.

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DOI: 10.1558/jsrnc.v4i3.206


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