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Ecopsychology as Ultimate Force Psychology
A Biosemiotic Approach
to Nature Estrangement & Nature Alientation

by Jorge Conesa-Sevilla, Ph.D.


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Chapter One: Defining Ecopsychology and Semiotic Matrix Theory
Chapter Two: The Singularization of Language as Ecopsychological Alienation
Chapter Three: Cognitive “Movement” From One Frame of Reference to Another
Chapter Four: Meet Heinz Droz, Again! Wolf Religion vs. Chihuahua Religion
Chapter Five: Tracking as a biosemiotic exercise, ecopsychological practice, and a transpersonal path
Chapter Six: Ecopsychological Education: Is That Possible?
Chapter Seven: Deep Ecology and its Infl uence on Ecopsychology
Chapter Eight: What Does Shamanic Lucid Dreaming Have Anything to Do with Ecopsychology?
Chapter Nine: A Student’s Experience as a WWOOFER (WWOOF: Willing Workers on Organic Farms)
Chapter Ten: Conclusion: Moving Forward or Staying Behind

Appendix I: Enrico Passeo on Ecopsychology
Appendix II: Prometheus’ Curse: Fire as Humanity’s Worst Invention
Appendix III: Elsbeth’s Farm Montessori /English Middle School

from the Preface:

"The future of our planet is too serious a matter to be left strictly to scientists and economists. Everyone has to participate in the discussion of environmental policies, which means that everyone should have at least a rudimentary understanding of how our planet maintains the conditions that allow us to prosper."
—S. George Philander

Ultimate Force Psychology : Ecopsychology
Pick up any book about psychology, from any area in psychology, written in the last one hundred years and it is very doubtful that you will find a significant number of references to ecopsychology. Even when this newly coined term is not directly used, the subject that it treats and addresses, human estrangement and alienation from nature and its consequences to biospheric stability or self-health and happiness, is not a major topic in orthodox, mainstream psychology. The absence of these insights and criticisms in mainstream psychology can be partly attributed to the narrow path1 that western psychology has taken since the 1870’s or so. This narrow path, in my view, has prevented deep ecological and/or ecopsychological ideas from becoming the overriding “ultimate force” psychological paradigm.


A lot of the chapters in this book are highly critical of mainstream psychology,
including this preface. But I prefer that the student or psychologist reading it see this criticism as an act of “tough love,” as an example of how the sciences keep checks on themselves, at least. Chapters seven and eight are particularly stinging to our collective professional ego. As a scientist and psychologist, I have heard and defended similar or worst criticisms from laypersons and professionals in other fields as well. So I know how some of my words, phrases, and mortifying puns must feel at the end of your optic nerves and other neuronal pathways. I cannot be, however, apologetic. When an entire planet is at stake and we know who the criminals are—what acts are criminal—anybody assisting the criminal is an accomplice. I don’t want to be an accomplice anymore and I don’t think you do either.

Thus, this is a necessary book for the same reasons that it is subversive, a wonderful tautology. It aims at informing the denizen of struggling or dying “mini-paradigms” in psychology and in asking them to reconsider their often barren fruits in the presence of clear and unarguable environmental catastrophes, many of which can be traced to human beings who no longer bond 24-7 with a larger matrix of LIFE.

The sentence, “I am doing basic research,” cannot be accepted as an excuse or copout any longer when the world is going to pieces. If human-Nature estrangement or alienation continues at the present pace, if the deterioration of large and small ecosystems continues at the present pace, then it is very doubtful that there will be anybody left to read close-ended, or otherwise decontextualized “basic” psychological research.


Jorge Conesa-Sevilla is an Associate Professor of Psychology at Northland College in Ashland, WI. In addition to writing Ecological Outcome Psychological Theory (1999) and recently Ecopsychology as Ultimate Force Psychology: A Biosemiotic Approach to Nature Estrangement and Nature Alienation (2006), he has published many articles in the areas of semiotics, ecopsychological biosemiotics, and environmental philosophy. In 1989 he received a B.A. (special major--Whole Human) combining psychobiology, Eastern religion and biology from Humboldt State University in California. He is a co-founder of The European Ecopsychology Society in Neuchâtel, Switzerland and Perego, Italy.

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