The Circle of Life is Broken

The Circle of Life Is Broken: An Eco-Spiritual Philosophy of the Climate Crisis is a detailed, comprehensive and nuanced account of human entanglements with, and a range of possible responses to, the climate crisis. It is a substantive read (212 pages, including 28 pages of notes) and covers a wide range of philosophical territory.

The book is organized around three ‘root questions’: ‘What Is the Circle of Life?’, ‘Who Faces the Circle of Life?’, and ‘Can the Circle Be Healed?’ Myers, a philosopher and professor at Heritage College in Quebec, presents the book as a kind of extended philosophical meditation on the ecological and phenomenological dimensions of the climate crisis, aimed at a general readership.

That said, Myers’s book is clearly positioned as a work of environmental philosophy, in the tradition of Aldo Leopold, Hans Jonas, Arne Naess, Lynn Margulis and others. Heidegger features heavily, and the existential and phenomenological tradition that highlights humanity’s rootedness in a web of relations and “being-in-the-world”- these are factors of vital import in Myers’s analysis. Thus, Myers discusses the Circle of Life concept from multiple perspectives, including phenomenologically, as “a feature of the world that you and I live in, a presence in our lived experience, a revelation of values and meanings to which we respond in various ways, or fail to respond”.

It is that vital sense of response that foregrounds the ethical drive in Myers’s book. Any and all efforts to restore what has been broken in the Circle of Life call for a very different kind of response other than that humanity has advanced so far in our relationship to the Earth and the complex web of connections that constitute that ecology. It presupposes a new conception of humanity, as engaged – and conscious – ecological being.

An anthropological problem, a shamanic solution.

Book Details: Brendan Myers. Earth Spirit: The Circle of Life is Broken. Moon Books (28 October 2022). ISBN: 9781789049770

Review Details: Earth Spirit: The Circle of Life is Broken was reviewed by Christopher Greiner for Indie Shaman magazine and this review was published in Issue 54.

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