GROUNDING SPIRITUAL ACTIVISM IN GLORIA ANZALDÃšA: A NEW EPISTEMOLOGY OF THE HEART, ETHICS OF THE ENVIRONMENT, AND ON TOLOGY OF PLANETARY CITIZENRY by ANDRES AYALA PATLAN B.A., California State Polytechnic University, 2013 A thesis submitted to the Faculty of the Graduate School of the University of Colorado in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Humanities Humanities Program 2018
ii This thesis for the Master of Humanities degree by Andres Ayala Patlan has been approved for th e Master of Humanities Program by Sarah K. Tyson, Chair Gillian Silverman Omar Swartz Date: December 15 , 2018
iii Ayala Patlan, Andres ( M H , Humanities Program) Grounding Spiritual Activism in Gloria AnzaldÃºa : A New Epistemology of the Heart, Ethics of the Environment, and Ontology of P l a n e t a r y Citizenry Thesis directed by Professor Sarah K. Tyson ABSTRACT This thesis will look at Gloria AnzaldÃºa activism, primarily in her final book, Luz en lo Oscuro (Light in t he Dark): Rewriting Identity, Spirituality, Reality 1 . Spirituality, I suggest, lies at the heart of AnzaldÃºa and comprehensive philosophy, and to overlook or underplay its role is to misunderstand and misrepresent AnzaldÃºa herself . 2 Luz en lo Oscur o (Light in t he Dark) reveals key insights into how spirituality impacts contemporary and global issues , which leads to the conclusion that we must address the epistemic injustice of seeing spirituality as an inferior form of knowledge production in contem porary academia and neocolonial globalization . This shift in AnzaldÃºa focus on race, gender , sex, culture, and class to global injustices and oppressions models a needed shit in consciousness shift , I argue, in how we see ourselves, others, the planet, and reality itself. 3 Spiritual activism, according to AnzaldÃºa , views self transformation as intimately linked with political and global transformation. It attempts to establish a holistic framework in which we can see social, racial, sexual, political, and cultural injustices as inherently psychical, emotional, and spiritual problems that are inti mately tied to one another. In illuminating , build ing upon, and apply ing this rich theoretical structure , I show how spiritual activism allows us to 1 AnzaldÃºa, Gloria. Light in the Dark/Luz En Lo Oscuro: Rewriting Identity, Spirituality, Reality . Duke University Pr ess, 2015. 2 Ibid. p. xxviii. 3 , Gloria and AnaLouise Keating. Interviews = Entrevistas . New York: Routledge, 2000. p. 8.
iv synthesize a new epistemological ethical ontological matrix that prompts global transformation in order to establish positive social change. I show how spiritual activism allows us to construct a new epistemological ethical ontological matrix in three inno vative ways: First, spiritual activism gives us a new epistemology of the h eart that involves two key elements : (i ) the emotional heart (ii ) and the spiritual/ energetic heart 4 . Secondly, AnzaldÃºa spiritual activism gives us a new ethic of the natur al env ironment by recognizing (i ) neocolonial globalization and its exploitative structure of natural space which exacerbates environmental degradation and resource inequality and (ii) gives potential theoretical support to permaculture ideologies and pr actices which aim to establish agricultural, environmental, and ecological sustainability. Lastly, AnzaldÃºa has given us a new ontology of the world or planetary citizen by highligh ting and reflecting upon the relationship between (i ) se lf and global trans formation and (ii ) the role of balance and healing in creating interdependent identity formations and sustainable communities and societies . In sum , spiritual activism offers an integrated frame work for reimagining self and global identities that recognize a new epistemology of the heart, ethics of the natural environment, and ontology of what AnzaldÃºa calls a world or planetary citizen in which one sees oneself as metaphysically interconnected with others, animals, and the planet itself in order to establi sh positive, substantial, and ever lasting social change. 5 The form and content of this abstract are approved. I recommend its publication. Approved: Sarah K. Tyson 4 See McCraty, Rollin. "The Energetic Heart: Bioelectromagnetic Communication within and between People." Bioelectromagnetic Medicine. New York: Marcel Dekke r , 2004. 541 62. 5 AnzaldÃºa, Gloria. Light in the Dark/Luz En Lo Oscuro: Rewriting Identity, Spirituality, Reality. p. 155.
v TABLE OF CONTENTS CHAPTERS I. AN INTRODUCTION TO SPIRITUAL ACTIVISM 1 II. A NEW EPISTEMOLOGY OF THE HEART 36 III. A NEW ETHICS OF THE ENVIRONMENT 63 IV. A NEW ONTOLOGY OF PLA NETARY CITIZENRY 78 V. CONCLUSION 10 3 REFERENCES 11 3
1 CHAPTER ONE: AN INTRODUCTION TO SPIRITUAL ACTIVISM Statement of the Problem Gloria E. AnzaldÃºa among academic disciplines. S h e is political theo ry, critical theory, and Chicanx studies, among others. Various scholars have employed AnzaldÃºa later theories to a variety of issues and top ics such as social justice in education and pedagogy 6 , Chicana and gender studies 7 , women of color in academia 8 , Mexican art and social movements 9 , Latino studies 10 , and even performative art 11 . While AnzaldÃºa is primarily and famously known through her cano nical text, Borderlands 12 , which undertakes a postcolonial analysis of oppression using a third world Latina feminist lens , I focus on her later, as yet under explored, and under appreciated work and concepts. I analyze G loria AnzaldÃºa later concept of sp iritual activism because it offers us a new and rich theoretical framework in which we can rethink natural space, identity, and transformation and gives us new ways to think about and facilitate the radical change needed to positively transform our social, environmental, and global condition. 6 See Elenes, C Alejandra Elenes, C. "Nepantla, Spiritual Activism, New Tribalism: Chicana Feminist Transformative Pedagogies and So cial Justice Education." Journal of Latino/Latina American Studies 5, no. 3 (2013): 132 41. 7 See Lara, Irene. "Bruja Positionalities: Toward a Chicana/Latina Spiritual Activism." Chicana/Latina Studies (2005): 10 45. 8 See Castillo Garsow, Melissa. "The Legacy of Gloria AnzaldÃºa: Finding a Place for Women of Color in Academia." Bilingual Review/La Revista BilingÃ¼e 31, no. 1 (2012): 3 11. 9 See McCaughan, Edward J. McCaughan. "Notes on Mexican Art, Social Movements, and AnzaldÃºa's" Conocimiento"." Social Justice 33, no. 2:104 (2006): 153 64. 10 See Middle." Latino Studies 2.3 (2004): 298 303. 11 See Andrade, Luis M and Robert Gutierrez Perez. "Bailando Con Las Sombras: Spiritual Activ ism and Soul Healing in the War Years." Qualitative Inquiry 23, no. 7 (2017): 502 04. 12 See , Gloria. Borderlands : The New Mestiza = La Frontera . 1st ed. San Francisco: Spinsters/Aunt Lute, 1987.
2 More specifically, I will examine h er final and po sthumously published book, Luz en lo Oscuro (Light in the Dark): Rewriting Identity, Spirituality , and Reality , which suggests that we need to (re)consider the fundame ntal relationships we have with ourselves, others, the environment, and reality itself if we are to positively change our worldviews, actions, and realities. AnzaldÃºa is particularly challenging to privileged westerners and U.S. citize ns in the 21 st century, who need to address these neocolonial world trends and injustices which have and will continue to cause rampant global inequality and disconnection with others, animals, and the nat ural environment. Furthermore, activism gives us the theoretical foundation needed to change the way we in this position come to know, act, and be in the world, necessitating new individual and collective identity formations for the betterment of our current global society. In other wo rds, spiritual activism and its theoretical foundations supports those most privileged by oppressive structures to create a positive, substantial, and ever lasting social change. Luz en lo Oscuro (Light in the Dark) was AnzaldÃºa en she studied at University of California, Santa Cruz. It explore s knowledge production as it is inflected and shaped by social justice issues, identity (trans)formation, and healing. 13 In it, AnzaldÃºa attempts to capture the act and art of transformation and self healing through the writing process itself. AnzaldÃºa writing engages in a meta conversation with her audience, acknowledging the corporeality and material condition of the reader in an attempt to shake herself and her audience out of apathy, sta gnation, and fragmentation. Throughout L uz en lo Oscuro (L ight in the Dark ) and in a memoir like and monograph ic style, she uses her life experiences as a source of metaphors and examples that depict the process of change, capturing 13 AnzaldÃºa, Gloria. Light in the Dark/Luz En Lo Osc uro: Rewriting Identity, Spirituality, Reality . Ibid. p. i.
3 her transformative pro cess through written word. AnzaldÃºa writing is a material result of her attempt to transform herself and express her ever changing identity and perceptual reality, experimenting with content and form 14 , challenging conventional procedures, genres, academi c disciplines, and standardized writing processes 15 . AnzaldÃºa already profoundly reshaped modern academia as she continues to be studied in many disciplines. Her groundbreaking work Borderlands has become canonical in various fields a nd disciplines . As vital as this text is for tracing and understanding AnzaldÃºa fundamental shift and continued evolution in her thinking, especially concerning her use and und erstanding of spiritual ity and social activism. If we attend to it, t his shift in AnzaldÃºa could steer conversation s away from just critically analyzing racial, cultural, sexual, ethnic, and geographical borderlands to spiritual, global, emotional, psychic, and conscious/unconscious borderlands. 16 In Luz en lo Oscuro (Light in the Dark), AnzaldÃºa builds on her earlier conception la mestiza consciousness comprehensive concepts , explore d below, nepantla , conocimiento , Coyolxauhqui Imperative , the new tribalism , my conceptual focus, spiritual activism . AnzaldÃºa conceptualization and centralizing of spirituality is the heart of her overall philosophy a nd has yet to be adequately addressed in the contemporary academic landscape. The secondary literature on Gloria AnzaldÃºa and its role in her philosophy , when it does 14 Ibid. p. xii. 15 Ibid. p. xiv. 16 , Gloria and AnaLouise Keating. Interviews = Entrevistas . New York: Routledge, 2000. p.7.
4 make the connections does not yet do so ina way that fully appreciates its importance. 17 Spiritual activism, as Keating argues, is the nucleus of what intricately connects AnzaldÃºa ethics, politics, metaphysics, ontology, and aesthetics together and drastically differs from other modern conceptions of spirituality . 18 Likewise, Michelle R. Martin Baron notes: Spirituality runs throughout AnzaldÃºa oeuvre , but is not often remarked upon in engaging with Light in the Dark , as it ru prayer and part philosophical treatise, AnzaldÃºa emphasizes the centrality of spirituality not only for her own work, but for her broader work of healing a broken world. 19 Martin Baron furthermore illustrates the centrality and importance of spirituality and describes AnzaldÃºa as not only a cornerstone piece in her oeuvre, important to the growing field of scholarship on AnzaldÃºa philosoph y, politics, Chicana/o and Latina/o studies, border studies, native studies, sexuality studies and beyond. 20 However, to be clear, AnzaldÃºa 21 st century spirituality in which one narcissistically focuses on the pers onal or individual self, being without considering social, communal, environmental, and global injustices and forms of oppression. 21 Part of AnzaldÃºa legacy and life project involve not only cr itiquing and addressing social, racial, gender, sexual, ethnic, and class injustices perpetrated by western Anglo ideology and culture, but also the 17 AnzaldÃºa, Gloria. Light in the Dark/Luz En Lo Oscuro: Rewriting Identity, Spirituality, Reality . p. 8. 18 Ibid. p. 246. 19 Martin Baron , Michelle R. (2016) Light in the Dark/Luz en lo Oscuro: Rewriting Identity, Spirituality, Reality , by Gloria Anzaldua and edited by AnaLouise Keating, International Fe minist Journal of Po litics, 18: 4, pp. 623 625. p. 624 5. 20 Ibid. 21 AnzaldÃºa, Gloria. Light in the Dark/Luz En Lo Oscuro: Rewriting Identity, Spirituality, Reality . p. 246.
5 epistemic injustices 22 and intellectual barriers that preclude the theorizing and practicing of spirituality and of other ways of seeing and relating to oneself, others, the planet, and reality itself. She thereby opens paths to considering spirituality anew. Robert Guiterrez Perez also Light in the Dark is a bright and shining beacon for scholars, a ctivists, and practitioners searching for a comprehensive philosophy or personal and social acknowledging the ways Light in the Dark investigates issues of globalization and violence and is , firs t and foremost, a call to action. 23 Thus , L uz en lo Oscuro (L ight in the Dark ) reveals key insights into the development and articulation of not just spirituality , but spiritual activism. AnzaldÃºa defines spiritual activism as the amalgam of spiritual prac tices with political activism. She states: (conocimiento) of political and spiritual situations and the unconscious mechanisms that abet hate, intolerance, and discord. I name this searching, inquiring, and healing traditional practices of spirituality (contemplation, meditation, and private rituals) or with the technologies of political activism ( protests, demonstrations, and speakouts), but with the amalgam of the two: spiritual activism. 24 Spiritual act ivism , guided by conocimiento push us to engage with spiritual technologies (contemplation, meditation, and private rituals) in order to confront our social sickness with new 22 I will borrow this term from Epistemic Injustice: Power and the Ethics of Knowing : Oxfo rd University Press, 2007. Epistemic injustice, or testimonial or hermeneutical injustice, refers to the ways in which someone is wronged specifically in his or her capacity as a knower, wronged in a capacity essential to human value. I will thus use this term to highlight the ways in which spirituality, emotionality, and personal history are discounted and seen as inferior modes of knowing in western academia. 23 Guiterrez Perez , Robert (2017 ) Anzaldua, Gloria E. Light in the Dark/Luz en lo Oscuro: Rewriting Identity, Spirituality, Reality pp. 306 308. p. 307. 24 AnzaldÃºa, Gloria. Light in the Dark/Luz En Lo Oscuro: Rewriting Identity, Spirituality, Reality . p. 19.
6 tools, goals, and practices whose aim is to effect a psycho spiritual political shift (i.e. spiritual activism). AnzaldÃºa in the when our spirit becomes conscious of itself in the world. 25 Spirit in the world also recognizes the complex relationship between healing and transformation, as transformation leads to healing, and healing leads to transformation. 26 As the pursuit of Spirit in the world, s piritual activism incorporates tr aditional spiritual and political practices and methods with new technologies and goals. Spiritual activism suggests that we can trans form and shape reality by writing new narratives and changing our perspectives and perceptions by actively choosing a dif ferent , positive future guided by conocimiento. Further , AnzaldÃºa consciousness es , and all phenomena. She or spiritual material ism which disconnects itself from the concrete political, social, and economic 27 This disconnection gives impetus for the need to do bridge or soul work in mediating between spiritual practices and the real, empiri cal need for political and social change. AnzaldÃºa further argues for spiritual activism: Most contemporary spiritual practitioners in this country ignore the political implications and do not concern themselves with our biggest problems and challenge: rac ism and with poverty and the attacks against nature. I describe the activist stance that explores an activism th at is engaged by a diverse group of people with differencet practices, or spiritual mestizaje. 28 S piritual activism does not exclude larger socio political issues such as racism, sexism, classism, and environmental degradation. Rather, s piritual activism u tilizes old spiritual traditions and 25 Ibid. 26 Ibid. 27 Ibid. p. 39. 28 Ibid.
7 customs and pragmatically and critically aims them at our contemporary social and global injustices. What differentiates spiritual activism from traditional spiritual practices , howevver, is its constan t innovative, ev er changing, and individual reality, acknowledging the interconnection between others and larger social and natural systems. This active Spirit in the world recognizes in order to transform society, not to merely sustain religious or traditional spiritual practicies or have an ontologica lly fixed belief in spirits or external spiritual reality in itself. Spiritual rld, society, individual, and culture are always in compositional and decompositional states, with a main goal is bringing about positive social change. 29 Thus, unlike new age spirituality, personaal trannscendence is not the goal, nor merely sustaining a t radition, but rather social change itself. AnzaldÃºa contemplates a radical inclusionary politics built on alliance s 30 betwee n others, and all realities, both human and non human. This metaphysics of interconnectedness seeks to destablize and decolonize traditional forms of dominance, power, and oppressive structures .Instead, it aims to materialize a world in which we act on the interconnectedness and mediate the in between spaces of the infinite relationships we have with ourselves, others, nature, and the planet itself. 31 According to Keating, spiritual , 29 Ibid. p. 43. 30 I bid . p. 246. 31 Henderson Espinoza, Robyn. "Gloria AnzaldÃºa's El Mundo Zurdo: Exploring a Relational Feminist Theology of Interconnectedness." Journal for the Study of Religion 26, no. 2 (2013). p. 116.
8 oppressions. 32 Thus, we can see how far reaching AnzaldÃºa El conocimiento, as described by AnzaldÃºa , contributes to this s piritual process because it requires us to expand on our notions of who we think we are and the ways to healing, transformation, and positive social change. It requires that we act as if we are all metaphysically interconnected, access ing our connectionist faculties in order to bring upon positive social change, centralizing praxis instead of belief in objectively real spirits. That acting as if allows us to shed light on our ignorance, fear, and pain. It requires us to expand and apply all that we learn to our daily activities, to our relationship with ourselves, with others, and nature. 33 W hen we enter into the subjunctive make a genuine difference in our moral lives, according to AnzaldÃºa . Yet, most of scholarship has paid relatively scant attention to the implications of her practice and theorization of spirituality an d spiritual activism . 34 Because for AnzaldÃºa , e l conocimiento gives the knowledge that allows us to apply what we learn to the real world , and because it leads to new organizations and organizing principles, a new order, a new mode of being and relating to the world and natural environment , I center this concept in my analysis . 35 The difficulty of such an endeavor is not to be underestimated. Christopher D. Tirres, one of the only scholars who have directly taken up spiritual activism in Luz en lo Oscuro ( Light in the Dark ) , accurately depicts the tension of spiritual realism the belief in spirits and social 32 AnzaldÃºa, Gloria. Light in the Dark/Luz En Lo Oscur o: Rewriting Identity, Spirituality, Reality . p xxiii, xxiv. 33 Ibid. p. 91. 34 Light in the Dark/Luz En Lo Oscuro ', DiÃ¡logo, vol. 21/no. 2, (2018), pp. 51 64. p. 6 1. 35 AnzaldÃºa, Gloria. Light in the Dark/Luz En Lo Oscuro: Rewriting Identity, Spirituality, Reality . p. 92.
9 activism t hat has long plagued AnzaldÃºa Light in the Dark offers us some important clues about the intricacies of AnzaldÃºa spiritual vision and practice. 36 He argues the articulation of spiritual activism in this tex t helps to clarify her conflictin g stances on spiritual realism (i.e., the view that there exists a metaphysically real spiritual reality. AnzaldÃºa throughout her works and has constitued a theme in criticisms of her work. 37 Tirres outlines two positions AnzaldÃºa commonly realist position, which assumes that spirits are real and metaphsyically exist in reality, and a pluralist position, which assumes that spirits are both literally and imaginatively real. While L uz en lo Oscuro (L ight in the Dark ) echoes both positions, it offers a third funtionalist and pragmatic option that sets AnzaldÃºa of spirituality and social activism in a new light. 38 Tirres cor rectly points out that AnzaldÃºa is mostly concerned with whether or not spiritual journeys and experiences make positive changes AnzaldÃºa underlying comittment to spiri tual activism as a form of praxis, escaping the cul de sacs and pitfalls of spiritual metaphysical realism. 39 The main question that L uz en lo Oscuro (L ight in the Dark ) asks, according to Tirres, is: in what ways do our bodies, not just our minds, know? H ow can intuitions, dreams, feelings be valid forms of knowledge? And, most importantly, in what ways can knowledge be creatively 36 Light in the Dark/Luz En Lo Oscuro . ' p. 51. 37 Ibid. 38 Ibid. 39 Ibid. p. 52.
1 0 used to bring about social transformation? 40 AnzaldÃºa development of her conception of spirituality works toward the goal of br inging about of positive change. AnzaldÃºa states, connecting your personal struggles with those of other beings on the planet, with the struggles of the Earth itself. To understand the greater reality that lies behind your personal perceptions, you 41 T give s us insight into the greater reality that lies behind our individual ep istemologies and realities, widening its scope to global concerns, deepening our understanding of the reality of our situation, and ushering new ways of being in the world. 42 This widening is at the heart of spirituality for AnzaldÃºa and our understanding of spiritual activism. AnzaldÃºa her career, but also continues to be marked by certain unresolved philosophical tensions, wrestling with competing ideas of spirituality (spiritual realis m, pluralism, and functionalism). 43 Tirres explicates these lingering tensions by examining AnzaldÃºa which suggest that she approached spirituality in terms of discreet paranormal and out of body experiences and out of the ordinary events, drawing largely on her own spiritual experiences. 44 In other interviews, AnzaldÃºa describes other events in which she sees spirits , experiences feelings of being imm o bolized during meditation, and connects her multiple selves through orgasm. 45 In another telling interview with AnaLouise Keating, AnzaldÃºa is directly asked whether or not she 40 Ibid. p. 54. 41 AnzaldÃºa, Gloria. Light in the Dark/Luz En Lo Oscuro: Rewriting Identity, Spirituality, Reality p. 119. 42 Light in the Dar k/Luz En Lo Oscuro ' . p. 55. 43 Ibid. p. 55. 44 Ibid. 45 Ibid.
11 terrestial spirit s respectable and less reputable AnzaldÃºa vocation for writing makes me more open. To be a 46 We can see here that AnzaldÃºa them. However , AnzaldÃºa is ultimately more interested in communicating and sharing experiences, especially censored experiences deemed incredulous and inappropiate for modern academia. Thus, we ask the wrong quuestion if we focus on wether or not AnzaldÃºa believes spirits are real. But we are still left with the question of h ow we, her readers, are to assess such clai ms and dimensions of her work? How do claims of spiritual metaphysical realism reconcile other dimensions of her work such as so cial activism, Chicanx studies, and decolonialism? Tirres suggests that AnzaldÃºa resents an important challenge to traditional academic disciplines which tend to distance themselves from studies of esotericism and paranormal experiences. 47 AnzaldÃºa seem s to support the idea that spirits are objectively real, and Tirres correctly notes t hat written decades later, Light in the Dark still presents the quandary of re spirits real? AnzaldÃºa many times and each time the question takes me back to my childhood when I learned, witnessing las curandera 48 46 , Gloria and AnaLouise Keating. Interviews = Entrevistas . New York: Routledge, 2000. p. 17. 47 Ibid. p. 56. 48 AnzaldÃºa, Gloria. Light in the Dark/Luz En Lo Oscuro: Rewriting Identity, Spirituality, Reality p. 58.
12 Her belief in curanderismos those able to heal with and access spiritual reality and the metaphysical reality of spirits continue to suggest her objective belief in spirits. Yet, she al so Does it matter whether the journey comes from a waking dream, the unconscious in symbolic representation, or a nonordinary parallel world? Who cares, as long as the information (whether metaphorical or literal) gained from a shamanic journey makes literally present or are they imaginally present. They are both. 49 As Tirres acknowledges, this response is significant because it shows AnzaldÃºa finding and offering oth ers new interpretive pathways forwardc avoiding metaphsyical literalism, narrow accounts of spiri tuality, and unproductive l in gering over philosophical tensions . Instead of advocating spirits , dreams, shamanic journeying as either imaginative fictions or objective realities (realism or pluarlism), AnzaldÃºa , according to Tirres, offers a functionalist and pragmatic approach in which what matters most is how these ideas work in practice and how 50 In other words, Tirres suggests that a strong case can be made for the centrality of praxis in AnzaldÃºa ept of spirituality and spiritual activism. 51 her writings, in Light in the Dark one can see a clear pattern emerge in her line of thinking that culminates in the primacy o AnzaldÃºa concerned with the effects of spirituality rather than its primary causes . 52 49 Ibid. p. 59. 50 Tirres, Christopher Light in the Dark/Luz En Lo Oscuro' . p. 59. 51 Ibid. 52 Ibid. p. 60.
13 Thus, AnzaldÃºa s spiritual activism is more concerned with effecting positive social into engaging the spirit in confronting social sickness with new tools and practices whose goal is 53 P raxis is central to AnzaldÃºa spirituality and Spirit in the world. Like Tirres, I see the significance of this shift in her writing, acknowledging the functionalist and pramatic account in her spiritual vision and practice. And this thesis will look at previously unrecognized themes and creative ways spiritual activism can implement this social change via a new epsitemmology of the heart , ethics of the environment, and ontology of planetary citizenry . As Tirres reiterates heal us and our world. And let us begin that journey by widening our perception of the world and 54 Spiritual activism is first and forem ost a call to action. Its purpose lies not in supporting spiritual realism, but in inspiring and transforming our world through praxis and practical action , imagining and acting in a world in which we are all metaphysically connected . T his thesis and its s ubsequent chapters seek to show the creative ways spiritual can effect positive social change . Furthermore, AnzaldÃºa argues that we need a radically inclusionary politics 55 , one that considers communal, social, political, and global goals and injustices in (re)constructing individual and collective identity formations. The concept of spiritual activism in AnzaldÃºa postulates a well defined, philosophical, critical, and pragmatically based embodied spiritualism which marries personal or self identity with so cial and political awareness and activism. I will 53 AnzaldÃºa, Gloria. Light in the Dark/Luz En Lo Oscuro: Rewriting Identity, Spirituality . p. 19. 54 Tirres, Christoph Light in the Dark/Luz En Lo Oscuro' . p. 63. 55 , Gloria and AnaLouise Keating. This Bridge We Call Home: Radical Visions for Transformation . New York: Routledge, 2002. p. 18 9.
14 substantial, and ever lasting social change. Because of this, it demands further scholarly research and attent ion in an increasingly interconnected, interdependent, globalized, and unjust world. AnzaldÃºa opens new avenues of critique of an ever growing capitalistic and neocolonial glo balization, which risk the economic and environmental sustainability and survival of everyone on the planet. This current state of global affairs demands a revolutionary means of transformation, which demands radically new theoretical frameworks for practi cal action. Problems such as rampant environmental degradation, climate change, and neocolonial globalization which AnzaldÃºa sees as the growing disparity and inequality between First World and Third World nations exploit the natural environment and its re sources from developing nations for the benefit of the politically motivated and financially able few within developed nations, neglecting responsibility to the global populous. These exploitative trends demand our collective attention and action. Similarl y, deforestation, habitat loss due to animal , mono , and industrial agricultural systems, and climate change scratch the surface of some of the ill effects of the continued degradation of the natural environment for economic, capita l, and political gain . Neocolonial ruthless neo capitalism deepens the economic and political divide between the haves and have nots and accelerates damage to our environment . 56 The emergence of such an interconnected and unjust geopolitical system requires a fun damental change in the ways in we relate to one another, animals, and the environment. The growing disparity between First World and Third or developed and developing nations in wealth, resources, land, political economy, etc. reveals an exploitative, unba lanced, and dysfunctional 56 Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy , www.iep.utm.edu/neocolon/#Hb .
15 geopolitical system, which increases rather than decreases the gap between the rich and the poor countries of the world . And AnzaldÃºa articulates that we, in the 21 st century as a global community, need to address these severe har ms and injustices which have and will negatively affect and harm everyone on the planet in Sp iritual activism , according to AnzaldÃºa , asks us to foundationally question and change our metaphysical fundamental outlooks and worldviews when it comes to identity, reality, nature, and spirituality. Spiritual activism asks us to search for inner wholeness and integration through healing in order to better our social condition. As Michelle Corbin notes, AnzaldÃºa sp iritual activism is one that is committed to a deeper understanding of and reverence for the human world and is a form of spirituality that holds justice and peace as the most central practice and concern. 57 In this way, social activism is synthesized with a spiritual vision in which we recognize difference, focus on our commonalities, and either sink or swim together, as one human race. 58 Likewise, other thinkers have importantly noted the way AnzaldÃºa Borderlands AnzaldÃºa evolving philosophy and growing concern for global, political, and spiritual issues. As Martina Koegeler Abdi suggests, her later works focus on the globalized condition of oppression and its webs of power, acknowledging the central role of spirituality and social activism in AnzaldÃºa more work needs to be done to understand the spiritual implications of her theo ries. 59 My 57 Corbin, Michelle. "Facing O ur Dragons: Spiritual Activism, Psychedelic Mysticism and the Pursuit of Opposition." Human Architecture 4 (2006): 239. 58 Ibid. p. 240. 59 See Koegeler Abdi, Martina. "Shifting Subjectivities: Mestizas, Nepantleras, and Gloria MELUS 38, n o. 2 (2013): 71 88.
16 research will attempt to deepen and expand on our understanding of AnzaldÃºa spiritual activism and some of its un(der) explored, un(der) developed, or un(der) lying themes and ideas its new epistemology of the heart, ethics of the env ironment, and ontology of world or planetary citizenry. I argue that these underlying themes and ideas help us to foster the positive, substantial, and ever lasting change our societies deeply need. Similarly, these themes help us better understand the abs ent literature in the secondary scholarship on AnzaldÃºa work, which gives us a better, clearer, and more comprehensive picture of AnzaldÃºa philosophy, especially concerning her spirituality and spiritual activism. As AnaLouise Keating notes in will enable scholars to retrace AnzaldÃºa AnzaldÃºa creating new AnzaldÃºa 60 And it is K eating prescription on which I am writing this thesis: attempting to analyze AnzaldÃºa specifically, I will attempt to excavate AnzaldÃºa under lying theoretical tenets and means of personal and social transformation that it offers us a new epistemology of the heart, ethics of the en vironment, and ontology of world or planetary citizenry. 60 AnzaldÃºa, Gloria. Light in the Dark/Luz En Lo Oscuro: Rewriting Identity, Spirituality . p. xxviii.
17 Methods/Statement of Research This thesis uses several methodological and theoretical frameworks. I employ several qualitative methods: I primarily rely on narrative and phenomenological researc h methods. 61 I define or understand the narrative account as being able to analyze, incorporate, and utilize personal experience in theory. That is, the narrative account looks at how individuals or groups describe their experiences of a particular aspect o r problem of the world. I will use the narrative account to analyze the ways AnzaldÃºa describes her life experiences and problems of neocolonial globalization. For instance, AnzaldÃºa regularly describes her experience of the aftermath of 9/11 and its impac t on her thinking and life. The narrative account allow s me to study the life experiences of both AnzaldÃºa and myself, including personal history and experience in theorizing new ways of knowing , acting, and being (epistemology ethics ontology). The narrat ive account also lets us see how AnzaldÃºa herself narrates and theorizes about her changing identity, particularly examining how she attempts to embody the change she experiences. She also provides life experiences to exemplify her points and arguments. Sh e describes the ways in which we can reconstruct our identities through writing, artistic expression, and self Next, I read or define the phenomenological research method as using experiences themselves to understand identity, reality, and knowledge. I use the phenomenological research method to underscore how it is our experiences themselves that help construct our realities and identities, attempting to understand and use our experiences of the world in order to understand it. Using the phenomenological research method, spiritual activism validates yet questions our phenomenological experiences of race, sex, gender, culture, etc. in order to understand and 61 Ibid . p. 187.
18 transcend the cu ltural, national, racial, spatial, class, etc. boundaries, borders, and identity categories which support neocolonial or oppressive power structures. Because of this, I utilize a phenomenological research method in understanding the ways traditional catego ries of identity experience support oppressive power structures such as neocolonialism. The phenomenological research method allows me to analyze and interpret the life experiences of AnzaldÃºa the way she describes them, interpreting the ways she describes and experiences what it means to be a spiritual activist and the ways to positive change. I will also mainly draw from the philosophical discipline as it allows me to address the theoretical components, ideas, and terminology needed to understand and unpa ck spiritual activism and other related concepts. For example, I will use philosophical terms and concepts such as epistemology, ethics, and ontology to understand and read AnzaldÃºa interpreting her work as using, incorporating, and applying these c oncepts that have been developed within the philosophical tradition. In particular, I will use a feminist methodology , which I understand to be a methodology stemming from a feminist standpoint. Although feminist methodology is varied, I focus on and utili ze a few common characteristics within feminist methodology including the bringing about of social change, displaying human diversity, and validate, and understand sp irituality, emotionality, and personal history as a means of epistemology in AnzaldÃºa n philosophy . It allows me to read spiritual activism as attempting to facilitate positive social change while acknowledging the corporeality of the reader and inherent di versity and difference in people. It will also allow me to retrieve, validate, and utilize some indigenous and ancient spirituality of which AnzaldÃºa strongly draws from, allowing new forms
19 of epistemology to take place. I therefore heavily rely on some co ncepts and terms produced by the philosophical discipline to unravel and analyze the notion of spiritual activism. Similarly, I make use of critical theory , which I understand to be explicitly using theory in an attempt to better our social condition and lives. Critical theory allow s me to direct spiritual activism st century problems such as the epistemic injustice concerning spirituality, rampant environmental degradation and its environmental consequence s, and neocolonial globalization . Critical theory enables me to evaluate the inadequate study and representation of spirituality and emotionality as forms of epistemology in modern academia and theory, as well as trace the role of spirituality in AnzaldÃºa s overall philosophy . Critical theory critiques and addresses the unjust and exploitative structure of neocolonialism and its globalization, which has detrimental effects on social justice and environmental, agricultural, ecological, and economic sustainab ility. Furthermore, the use of critical theory and its directive of bettering our contemporary social condition is a foundational aspect of spiritual activism in that they both aim to recognize and better our current social situation. Spiritual activism us es critical theory because spiritual activism attempts to identify current social justice issues and transform underlying structure in order to create a positive, substantial, and ever lasting social change. In addition, I will use both case study and gro unded theory methods. 62 Case study methods work with qualitative and narrative research methods because they focus on an individual or small group of people, resulting in narrative descriptions of behavior and experiences, attempting to provide insight into how individuals and groups understand aspects of our world. The grounded theory methodology is the inductive and systematic methodology 62 Ibid.
20 involving the construction of theory through methodic gathering and analysis of data. I construct a grounded theory of spiritual activism through my textual analysis of AnzaldÃºa Light in the Dark (Luz en lo Oscuro). From this, I use grounded theory as I attempt to analyze, explain, and build upon the notion of spiritual activism from my textual analysis. I construct a gr ounded theory of spiritual activism which systematize s , amalgamate s , and incorporate s other textual data and evidence from relevant secondary sources and AnzaldÃºa an epsitemological ethical ontological matrix of which I have attempted to construct from my analysis. The case study approach allow s me to focus on AnzaldÃºa Luz en la Oscuro (Light in the Dark) as my main case stud y that supports my grounded theory. I focus my narrative descriptions on Anzald Ãºa and the ways she both exemplifies and argues for spiritual activism. Spiritual activism also demands that we shift our attention to transformative and pragmatic frameworks and methodologies which include transcending personal and collective values and i dentity categories in order to establish a positive social change. The transformative view , although not well defined, is the belief that research methods do not fit marginalized individuals. This model allow s me to illustrate how subjectivities of self an d global identities can change, deconstruct, and reconstruct. AnzaldÃºa models because AnzaldÃºa formations and ways of being which do not propagate and sustain power or op pressive structures such as class. AnzaldÃºa premise relies on our ability to change and transform our identities, identity formations, and ways of being. The pragmatism model is a worldview in which a framework of beliefs and ideas develops through the w ay a person interprets and interacts with the world. In other words, pragmatism discovers truth and implements action guided by interactions with the physical
21 world. Thus, truth or action is used or prescribed only insofar as it practically works in the wo rld. Pragmatism also attempts to address contemporary problems so that we can enhance our lives. Pragmatism helps me to address real world issues 63 in order to foster positive social change. These methodologies entail that individuals can reconstruct their cultural, social, racial, and class identities while addressing real world and current social and political issues. Therefore, I hold that conceptualize the human being in o rder to manifest positive, substantial, and ever lasting social change. Literature Review: A New Epistemology of the Heart (Chapter Two) Spiritual Activism Most importantly, AnzaldÃºa used this term to describe her visionary, experimentally based episte mology, ethics, and metaphysics. 64 Spiritual activism posits a metaphysic of interconnectedness which deconstructs binary modes of thinking such as subject/object, us/them, and self/world. Yet, it requires concrete action designed to transform the existing social order. Spiritual activism also acknowledges differences in identity formation, but it insists upon focusing on commonalities as the impetus for social change. Spiritual activism, thus, sees the personal and self transformation as intimately tied to political and global transformation and is the foundation on which I will build on in this thesis. In order to transform the world, spiritual 63 Creswell, John W. Research Design: Qualitative, Quantitative, and Mixed Methods Approaches 4 th ed. Los Angeles, CA: Sage, 2014. p. 6. 64 AnzaldÃºa, Gloria. Light in the Dark/Luz En Lo Oscuro: Rewriting Identity, Spirituality, Reality . p. 246.
22 activism suggests we must first change ourselves, our ways of knowing, our actions, and our identities. More speci fically, spiritual activism offers a new epistemology of the heart. As the heart symbolizes many things to many cultures, I will focus on two major ways in which we can understand and order how AnzaldÃºa and her spiritual activism offer a new epistemology o f the heart: (i) the emotional heart and (ii) the spiritual/energetic heart. (i) The emotional heart It determines that we ought to consider emotionality and feelings when we attempt to understand, theorize, and transform ourselves, others, and the planet. It is what allows us to deepen our feelings and generate the emotional power needed to authentically transform oneself, others, and our societies, and it dir ectly attacks the epistemic injustices which say that these other ways of knowing are inferior. According to AnzaldÃºa , we need the openness to emotionality and feeling if we are to empathesize with others and positively transform our lives. Secondly, Anzal dÃºa theorizes a (ii) spiritual/energetic heart in which she declares the ways our hearts can empathetically and spiritually connect to and link with others. As I draw out this theoretical implication, new scientific understandings about the energetic heart suggest that it plays a vital role in receiving and communicating emotional and biological information to the brain 65 , as well as the means in which we can empathize with others. For AnzaldÃºa , the spiritual heart is what connects us via an empathetic conne ction with others, nature, planet, etc. These recent scientific discoveries infer that the bioelectric, energetic heart actually creates its own bioenergetics or bioelectrical field which may be responsible for other ways of knowing, sensing, 65 See McCraty, Rollin. "The Energetic Heart: Bioelectromagnetic Communication within and between People."
23 intuiting, an d communicating with others. 66 Although AnzaldÃºa does not directly mention these findings, I believe these new discoveries share a strong relationship with AnzaldÃºa because they both posit other ways in which we can know, sense, heal, intuit and incite an empathetic connection with others, as AnzaldÃºa artistically describes through her writing . Other ways of knowing, sensing, communicating are vital for understanding spiritual activism and its means of transformation because it moves us away from oppressive structures of knowledge production which propagate globally oppressive systems to more inclusive, harmonious, and sustainable communities. Spiritual activism thus demands that we mediate other ways of knowing, sensing, and intuiting which can foster posit ive social change. Moreover, incorporating these new understandings of the heart and its role in discovering self knowledge, intuition, sensing, healing, and empathizing proves to be a salient way in which we activate spiritual activism and its other ways of knowing in order to heal our individual identities and deconstruct globally oppressive structures. Nepantl(er)a AnzaldÃºa Borderland theory of liminality, process, a nd potentiality for change. For AnzaldÃºa , it represents the temporal, spatial, psychic, and intellectual points of crisis. The concept of Nepantla helps us to imagine the in between spaces of what we consider to be our identity, epistemology, ethics, polit ics, ontology, aesthetics, and metaphysics. Nepantleras are unique kinds of mediators who live in multiple worlds. They are threshold people, using their 66 Ibid.
24 transformed experience to establish holistic relational theories which transform the ways we live. 67 M oreover, the concept of Nepantl(er)a is important for discussing and understanding spiritual activism and a new epistemology of the heart. Nepantla helps me to unpack the emotional heart because it allows us to theorize with affectivity, inhabiting the pla ces and connections between our feelings, our minds, our consciousness, our bodies, others, animals, and the natural environment. Nepantla ideology also incorporates new ways of knowing, suggesting an acceptance with recent findings of the energetic or spi ritual heart, which give us new ways in which we communicate with our bodies, our brains, other hearts, and possibly, the planet. Furthermore, the concept of Napantla is vital to the epistemology of the heart when we consider how the heart interacts with o ur minds, bodies, and spirit in AnzaldÃºa manifest transformation, acknowledging the heart as its own phenomenological category and means of epistemology. El Concocimiento ontinuing to build upon her post Borderlands theories, AnzaldÃºa conocimiento stands for connectionist modes of thinking and being. El conocimiento pushes us to deepen our perceptual realities to develop radically inclusionary possibilities. El conocimien to is the emotional and intellectual faculty which gives us the ability to perceive different realities and different ways of knowing. In this way, it is what fuels and guides the self/global transformation process and new epistemology of the heart describ ed by spiritual activists. 67 Ibid.p. 245.
25 El conocimiento furthermore plays a pivotal role in understanding a new epistemology of the heart. The (i) emotional heart heavily depends on el conocimiento for reflecting on and generating new ways of feeling and theorizing wi th emotionality, feeling, and affectivity. It requires that we deeply listen to our emotions and feelings if we are to self heal, transform, and heal our society. Likewise, a new scientific understanding of the (ii) energetic or spiritual heart engages in new conocimientos that can expand our psyches, consciousness, and spiritual information within oneself and with others. Consequently, the concept of el conoci miento plays an important function in the development and comprehension of spiritual activism and its relation to the new epistemology of the heart because it allows us to access deeper, emotional, and spiritual knowledge that are not just associated with mind, intellect, or reason, expanding on other ways we can sense, intuit, and communicate and empathetically connect with others. A New Ethics of the Environment (Chapter Three) Spiritual Activism Spiritual activism, upon close investigation, also offers a new ethics of the natural space and environment. As the land, environment, and nature are highly stressed in spiritual activism and AnzaldÃºa , I will focus on two major ways or categories in which spiritual activism and AnzaldÃºa offer a new eth ics of natural environment: it recognizes (i) neocolonial globalization that rampantly in creases environmental degradation and creates exploitative, oppressive structures of natural space and (ii) permaculture ideologies and practices because of their prof ound ability to heal and create environmental, ecological, and agricultural transformation and sustainability.
26 AnzaldÃºa focuses on and acknowledges that the (i) increasing globalization of neocolonialism spurs rampant environmental degradation by economic ally, politically and environmentally exploiting developing or Third World nations and appropriating land use and resources for western and First World production. Spiritual activism thus demands a new environmental ethic by the way we relate to our natura accelerating global effects and dire environmental consequences. It also demands that we rethink our current industrial agricultural practices because of how unsustainable they are and how much they degrade the land. S piritual activism recognizes this need, and I suggest it would theoretically lead to and adopt (ii) permaculture practices and ideologies, which attempt to work with nature in sustainable and mutually beneficial ways. Like the heart, humanity should have a deep spiritual connection with nature, natural space, and the environment. Spiritual activism posits a metaphysic of interconnectedness which transcends a new way of treating and working with the natural environment, primarily in terms of sustainable eco intuits a kind of permaculture methodology and ideology in which we attempt to work with the natural environment in the most permanent, sustainable, and least resistant and d estructive way possible. This foundation suggests a partnership with the natural space and environment in which i.e. permaculture, a type of agriculture in which we search for the most effici ent, effective, and sustainable means of agricultural production.
27 Coyolxauhqui Imperative The Coyolxauhqui Imperative (C.I.), too, is tethered to a new ethics of the environment because self and collective healing is essential to our relationship with t he natural environment and spiritual activism. C.I. theory, I suggest, forces the individual and humanity as a whole to seriously contemplate its relationship with the natural environment. Climate change, uncontrollable environmental degradation for capita listic production, and ecological instability are social, environmental, and global concerns because they now have the ability to (negatively) affect everyone on the planet. According to AnzaldÃºa , these grave issues demonstrate that we have spiritually and metaphysically severed our connection with natural space, the environment, the planet, and the universe which surrounds us. Spiritual activism outlines an imperative to view the planet and natural environment as ecologically and energetically connected as opposed to geographically, culturally, socially, and politically dismembered. The imaginary boundaries of nationalism and its borderlands and environmental exploitation for capital production and political power (neocolonialism) detail how western identit y formations metaphysically separate themselves from others, with the natural space around us and the natural environment of others. Thus, C.I., too, sees these unnatural boundaries and relationships to nature as fundamentally spiritual and identity proble ms that plague self and global identity, health, and balance. C.I. is the theoretical model in which we can individually and collectively heal our primal and spiritual connection to nature and the natural planet, rekindling our connection to natural space , environment, and the planet, attempting to heal and achieve wholeness within ourselves. This process toward wholeness redesigns our identity formations as those that feel profoundly connected to the natural environment and planet Earth. C.I. and its proc ess of wholeness, deconstruction and reconstruction, contribute to healing ourselves and reestablishing a
28 connection to nature which consequently creates a positive social change through environmental, agricultural, and ecological sustainability. Nepantl (er)a Nepantla also plays an important role in understanding our spatial, ecological, and spiritual relationship to the natural environment. Nepantla methodology aids in actively combating environmental degradation and exploitation by (re)imagining our fun damental relationship with the natural space and environment. Imagining the spaces in which our social, political, economic, and cultural lives intersect with the natural environment can initiate insight into the ways we are interconnected and the ways in which fragmentation, exploitation, and inequality grow. It also critiques the ways in which neocolonialism and western identity formations construct fragmented senses of self based on geographical, national, cultural, racial, sexual, and class barriers. N epantla ideology and methodology also helps me to unpack the value of a metaphysical shows how our western cultural and spatial environment condition us to fee l and theorize as if we are a metaphysically defined, separate, and distinct species that does not share an ecological, spiritual, or collective identity with others, animals, nature, and the planet. In other words, western culture constructs identity form ations that do not see themselves as tied to or interconnected with nature or their natural environments and spaces. From within AnzaldÃºa philosophy, this disconnection demands a need to spiritually reconnect with nature and the planet by inhabiting and reimagining the connection in between spaces betwixt us and the environmental world, e.g. with social justice and permaculture sustainability. Nepantla
29 recognizes the benefits and positive values we achieve in viewing the world as metaphysically interconne cted, seeing the world as connected, instead of fractionalized or disconnected, prompting individuals to see him or her self as part of a larger natural environment and space, nature, and planet itself. Furthermore, Napantla is a vital component to spirit ual activism in AnzaldÃºa identity and the natural environment, prompting us to view human life as intimately connected to the natural environment. El Cono cimiento El co nocimiento also plays a pivotal role in the developing a new ethic of the natural environment. AnzaldÃºa must implement el conocimiento to explicate the ways we have been oppressed, subjugated, and harmed by western culture, ideology, and practice. These in sights depict neocolonial globalization and condemn its consequences of voracious consumerism, environmental degradation, and global inequality. From this, el conocimiento allows us to hypothesize new ways of relating to the land consisting of a metaphysic al interconnection. Consequently, the concept of el conocimiento plays an important function in the development of new environmental values and ethics. Through el conocimento we can develop the view that the way we treat the environment is spiritually emb lematic of how we view and treat ourselves. Global environmental degradation, in this way, is tied to the internalized psychical and emotional pain and fragmentation of the individual subject. Causing harm to others, animals, and the natural environment, i s the manifestation of this inner fragmentation, suffering, and disconnection from our el conocimiento or connectionist faculty. El conocimiento is thus intimately connected with spiritual activism in that it allows us to extend how we see
30 ourselves and ex pand on the methods in which we interact with the natural environment. Furthermore, it is el conocimiento that allows us to indirectly make the connection between the destructive global condition that manifests unsustainable production, agriculture, and ec ology and a permaculture ideology and practice that attempts to work with nature in order to build ecological and agricultural sustainability with the natural environment, recognizing both problem and solution, strengthening our connectionist goal of heali ng and instantiating positive social change. A New Ontology of Planetary Citizenry (Chapter Four) Spiritual Activism Spiritual activism offers a new interconnected ontology that creates innovative categories of identity and identity formations. The notio n of establishing a global community and identity is foundational to spiritual activism, as it attempts to focus on commonalities while acknowledging and respecting the differences among cultures and social systems. It views human experience as means of at taining commonality and bases its actions upon this premise. I contend that it postulates several relationships and themes that are fruitful for reflecting, theorizing, and describing what AnzaldÃºa calls a new planetary or world citizenry: (i) the link bet ween self and global transformation and (ii) the centralizing of the notions of balance and healing in developing interdependent, harmonious, and peaceful societies, communities, and individual identity formations. AnzaldÃºa focuses on the ways in which (i ) self transformation is connected to and leads to global transformation. Global transformation cannot be realized without working on the spiritual, mental, emotional health of the individual subject. What's more, the interactions
31 between self global trans formations analyze the modes of oppression depicted by a capitalistic neocolonial geopolitical system. Secondly, (ii) the notions of balance and healing are central to establishing interdependent communities and identity formations. The connection between self and global transformation suggests that in order for interdependent and harmonious communities and people to exist and flourish and new identity formations to emerge, there must be a balanced relationship within the individual, acknowledging individua l health, independence, and self determination in terms of personal, emotional, and psychical well environmental, agricultural, socio political, and economic sustainability. Furthermore, AnzaldÃºa and her spiritual activism acknow ledge and attempt to change neocolonialism and its rampant consumerist model, which creates exploitative, unjust, and economically dependent social systems that do not foster self or collective liberation or sustainable living practices. Furthermore, spir itual activism's holistic framework allows us to construct identities in multiple ways that extend beyond social, racial, sexual, national, and class distinctions and categories, describing the ways in which self transformation leads to global transformati on. It is an integrated model that allows us to theorize a new epistemological ethical ontology matrix in order to construct a new world or planetary citizenry in which one sees him or her self as intimately tied to others, the natural environment, the pl anet, and global transformation. In order to make this transition, individual and collective healing and balance are vital components in transforming our current society into a more positive, balanced, healthy, and utopystic social order because one moves beyond traditional and exploitative ontological categories which cause internal and external suffering, separate ourselves from others, and sustain global and resource inequality.
32 Coyolxauhqui Imperative C.I. is important in conceptualizing a new world or planetary citizenry because, according to AnzaldÃºa , new categorical identities require painfully dismembering past identity formations in order to concretize new modes of being. This new world and planetary citizenry thus necessitates new identities; it e xtends notions of self identity that consider the health and lives of animals, everyone on the planet, and the planet itself. In order to do this however, the process of C.I. requires us to revaluate the dichotomy of self/global identities. It also require s us to rethink the relationship between individual and collective balance, healing, and interdependence, which incites the painful process of recognizing the inner (personal) and outer (structural) fragmentation and separateness in our thinking, being, an d relating to others. Likewise, C.I., according to AnzaldÃºa , is vital for amalgamating and traversing the spaces and borders between body, mind, spirit, and heart so that we can heal, individually and collectively. Contemplating the spaces and liminal bou ndaries between our individual bodies, minds, spirits, and hearts and their interrelation toward others allows us to consider a holistic conceptualization and understanding of what it means to be human and a citizen of the world, not nation, ethnicity, race, sex, class, environmental region, etc. Furthermore, C.I. and its process of deconstruction and reconstruction could play a crucial part in understanding and implementing spiritual activism and its epistemological ethical ontologic al matrix in order to deconstruct western identity formations and construct a positive, substantial, and ever lasting social change.
33 New Tribalism AnzaldÃºa Mundo Zurdo 68 and r econcile criticisms of Borderlands which perceived her theory as narrow nationalism or too essentializing. New tribalism is in an attempt to create alliance based approaches to identity formations while offering a profound alternative to separatism and ass imilation. 69 AnzaldÃºa concept of world or planetary citizenry, which embraces difference and focuses upon the commonality between all cultures, societies, and communities in order to manife st positive, substantial, and ever lasting change. AnzaldÃºa self/global/planetary (e.g. world citizen) identity and community. It allows us to establish a new metaphysic/ontology of interconnectedness which supports world or planetary citizenry, viewing oneself as metaphysically connected to others, animals, and the planet. This concept, when working together with others, could help reconstruct identity through self/global/planet heal ing in order to achieve harmonious balances on multi levels, e.g. individual health, peace between communities and cultures, sustainability with the natural environment, responsibility to the global community, etc. Furthermore, new tribalism is the groundw ork on which a new world or planetary citizen could materialize. It embraces others through relational or differential identity formations in order to envisage ways in which we can all heal as a global community. And thus, new tribalism is the theoretical apparatus on which spiritual activism builds an ontology and 68 This is the Spanish word for "The Left Handed World," which is one of Gloria AnzaldÃºa earliest concepts. It attempts to create an inherently inclusionary community of different and variant ethnic, racial, cultural, etc. backgrounds and groups. 69 AnzaldÃºa, Gloria. Light in the Dark/Luz En Lo Oscuro: Rewriting Identity, Spirituality, Reality. p. 245 6.
34 metaphysic of interconnectedness with others, animals, and the natural planet itself, and it is what could allow us to reconstruct our identities to those that propagate positive, substantial, an d ever lasting social change instead of sustaining oppressive power structures and social injustice. Nos/otras This is another fundamental and transformative theory by AnzaldÃºa which posits an identity of intersubjectivity. Nos, which in Spanish transla nos / otras . It holds the promise of self healing and bridging the gap between o bject) dualistic mentality. However, it does not disregard difference or assume assimilation which is why the dash remains. Like new tribalism, it utilizes relational or differential identity formations to dialogically recognize previously unrecognized com monalities and connections, e.g. that we are spiritually and metaphysically interconnected and a part of larger living social, natural, and planetary systems. AnzaldÃºa nos/otras thus offers alternatives to binary self other assemblages that present a new philosophy and praxis of communicating and building bridges between self, other, and planet. 70 The nos/otras framework could thus be crucial for establishing a new ontology of a world citizen: the nos/otras intersubjective structure allows us to perceive dualistic ways; nos/otras proposes that we must develop a degree of balance and foster healing so that we can establish a healthy and sustainable level of interdependence among nations, cultures, and communities. In this way, too, we see the strong ways in which self influences and becomes influenced by the larger social context, supporting 70 Ibid. p. 246 .
35 the idea that self and global transformation are intimately interconnected. Moreover, nos/otras could play a sal ient function in developing world or planetary citizenry and hence contributes greatly to spiritual activism and its directives of establishing positive, substantial, and ever lasting social change.
36 CHAPTER TWO: A NEW EPISTEMOLOGY OF TH E HEART Love swells in your chest and shoots our of your heart chakra, linking you to everyone/everything the aboriginal in Austraila, the crow in the forest, the vast Pacific Ocean. You share a category of identity wider than any social position or racia l label. This conocimiento motivates you to work actively to see that no harm comes to people, animals, ocean to take up spiritual activism and the work of healing. Gloria AnzaldÃºa , Introduction Spiritual activism gives us a new epis temology of the heart: (i ) the emotional heart and (ii) the spiritual/energetic heart . AnzaldÃºa acknowledges the epistemic injustice of emotional and spiritual epistemological oppression stemming from w estern academia and western modes of thinking . Scienti understood spirituality, emotionality, and personal history as distinct and inferior ways of knowing in contrast to the pure abstraction of intellectual and scientific reasoning . Av oiding emotionality, feeling, and affectivity in theorizing represses the ways in which we can know , act, and relate to the world according to AnzaldÃºa, and if we are repressed in the ways in ways we can know, act and relate to the world, then we cannot po sitively transform ourselves or our communities. Spiritual activism furthermore requires both intellectual and emotional intelligence in order to create a positive social change. Emotional intelligence can be partially understood and described as the op enness to emotionality itself, experiencing and theorizing with the vast range of emotional expressions and experiences such as c ompassion, love, empathy, as well as pain, fear, and anger. This openness to emotionality, feeling, empathy, and experience is an essential component to theoriz ing and self transformation according to AnzaldÃºa and thus pivotal in the ways in which we understand her spirituality and new epistemology.
37 Throughout AnzaldÃºa in spiritual activism. This chapter attempts to understand and unpack what AnzaldÃºa means when feeling and emotionality should be married with intellect a nd reason in order to positively transform ourselves and our societies. Intellect or mind is not enough to support positive social change according to AnzaldÃºa . She acknowledges that our biological and metaphorical heart possesses other means of knowing an d reasoning, and hence, it has its own epistemology which merits academic discourse. Likewise, her philosophy of the heart plays an integral part in understanding her spiritual activism, its mean of epistemology, and creating positive social change. This chapter will be a thorough investigation of the various uses and ideas of the heart of which AnzaldÃºa as the heart of our emotions, sexual experience, life force, and spiritualit y. I am attempting to do the work of establishing a comprehensively and explicitly stated idea of what AnzaldÃºa means the ordering work of stitching together th intelligence and its new epistemology. For example, AnzaldÃºa saliently describes her theory of spiritual activism and its relation to the knowledge or epistemology of the heart, which contributes to our intuitions and openness to new ways of sensing and being. AnzaldÃºa asserts: This visual intuitive sense, like the intellect of heart and gut, reveals a discourse of signs, images, feelings, words that, once decoded, carry the power to startle you out of t unnel vision and habitual patterns of thought. The snake is a symbol of awakening consciousness the potential of knowing within, an awareness and intelligence not
38 guides your feet along the path, gives you el animo to dedicate yourself to transforming perceptions of reality, and thus the conditions of life. 71 Here, AnzaldÃºa illuminates the ways in which an inner awareness, el conocimiento, is AnzaldÃºa suggests that heart has an epistemology not grounded in logical thought but in intuitive perception, which works in concert with images, feelings, words, thoughts, etc. This new knowledge is supported by the us to interpret or decode the subtle signs of our feelings and thoughts. AnzaldÃºa epistemology of knowing, sensing, and transforming our worlds, perc eptions, conditions, and realities require that we travel inward and allow our inner knowledge and intuitons to surface. what inner eye, heart, and gut tell you is the closest you come to d irect knowledge (gnosis) of the world, and this 72 AnzaldÃºa thus depicts a heart that directly engages in intuitive knowing that is not simply mediated by thoughts or mental constructs. In other words, temology accesses deeper intuitive feelings which then interact with mind, reason, and mental constructs, allowing us to know, feel, sense, and deepen our understanding of intuitive perception and other ways of knowing. She thinks that this intuitive exper ience is our direct link to the world and knowledge, not one simply mediated by logical thought, mental constructs, social institutions, or modern science. Likewise, AnzaldÃºa asks us to break out of our mental and emotional prisons and deepen the range of perception, enabling us to link inner reflection and vision the mental, emotional, instinctual, imaginal, spiritual, and subtle bodily awarenesses with social and political action 71 Ibid. p. 117. 72 Ibid. p. 120.
39 and lived experience to manifest subversive forms of knowledges. 73 This dema rcates the process of the spiritual activist and spiritual activism, to aim the inner, intuitive, and knowledge of the heart at oppressive social and political structures, to transcend the multi leveled structure of the world, e.g. your surroundings, bodil y sensations and responses, intuitive takes, emotional reactions to other peopls and theirs to you. 74 recognize these profound intuitive and subversive forms of knowledges which aim at deconstructing opp ressive power structures and creating peace and ever lasting change. Furthermore, because AnzaldÃºa has many uses and ideas of what she means by heart, I will frame this chapter as providing a heuristic and multi faceted account of what the heart can symbol ize and affect, primarily illustrating the heart as a new biophysical and symbolic means of knowing, intuiting, and sensing the world. Moreover, the heart is an interesting symbolic and biological organ, and scholarly research is needed. Although the heart directly AnzaldÃºa I frame and suggest that AnzaldÃºa implicitly provides a new epistemology of the heart, which influences positive social change. I wish to highlight her un(der) developed, un(der) explored theory surroundi ng her ideas about the heart and its role in spirituality. I aim to make AnzaldÃºa general scholarship and to show its role in spiritual activism, primarily in the way that the spiritual activist theo rizes with and utilizes this new epistemology of the heart in order to transform him or her self, others, and the global system, thereby affecting positive social change via the different ways we can use, feel, and think with the heart and its intelligence . Furthermore, my goal is to make AnzaldÃºa and explicit for the general reader and to develop this theme which has been overlooked in the 73 Ibid. 74 Ibid.
40 secondary scholarship on AnzaldÃºa . Throughout my research, I have found and arranged AnzaldÃºa the energetic/spiritual heart. I argue the heart, its multi faceted meanings and heuristic capabilities, should be more clearly anaylzed and enme shed into AnzaldÃºa ideas. The notion of the heart plays an inescapable role in spiritual activist epistemology, highlighting how transformation, both self and global, requires new ways of feelings, knowing, sensing, intuiting, healin g, and communicating. To situate this chapter and deconstruct AnzaldÃºa describe how I read, organize, and interpret AnzaldÃºa (ii) the emotional heart, the heart plays a direc t role in AnzaldÃºa That is, emotionality and affectivity, one of the ways AnzaldÃºa symbolizes the heart, demonstrate the ways in which our feelings are experienced and the ways in which our feelings should instruct reason a nd other ways of knowing and acting in the world. The emotional heart also symbolizes the process of woundedness and openness, dictating that we must be open to the world in order to be altered by it and that this openness necessarily leads to pain and suf fering. Likewise, the emotional heart symbolizes healing and the processes of healing. In order for positive transformation to occur for AnzaldÃºa , we must be directly involved in the constant process of healing and woundedness symbolized by the emotional h eart, allowing ourselves to be painfully altered by the world, using emotionality and healing to transform. And thus the idea of the heart encapsulates our emotionality and affectivity and allows us to use, theorize with, and expand on our deep feelings th at lead to empathy and empathetic connection with others, inciting positive social change. AnzaldÃºa wishes for us to develop an emotionality that is tied with reason and use woundedness, healing, and empathy to positively transfrom our socieities.
41 In the next section, (ii) the energetic or spiritual heart, according to AnzaldÃºa , is the symbol for integration or connection with life force; it is what allows us the spiritually connect and enable empathetic connection with others, animals, and the planet. Thi s section serves as a theoretical application of spiritual activism because it incorporates modern science and new scientific findings of which AnzaldÃºa does not explicitly address. Because AnzaldÃºa died before this research had surfaced, it is hard to kno w what her views might have been. However, I suggest AnzaldÃºa would incorporate and acknowledge this new scientific knowledge regarding the energetic heart, which suggests that the biological heart creates its own bioelectric or energetic field which may b e responsible for other ways of knowing, intuiting, sensing, and communicating. I believe these findings support her ideas of the heart and expand the ways in which we can develop new epistemologies. This new heart science is an application of AnzaldÃºa ew heart epistemology. Hence, in this section, too, I build on and both directly and indirectly apply AnzaldÃºa The Emotional Heart Many of AnzaldÃºa y that tries to emcompass all dimensions of life, both inner mental, emotional, instinctual, imaginal, spiritual, bodily realms and outer social, political, and lived experience. 75 AnzaldÃºa attempted to capture the entire essence of what it means to be huma n, acknowledging parts of ourselves such as the soul or spirit, our emotional selves, and our energetic selves. She tries to draw out the ways in which these forces interact, and how each facet of experience merits its own thinking and metaphysical reality . For example, she describes the Coatlicue state which accesses la facultdad, or the ability 75 Keating, AnaLouise. Entremundos/Amongworlds: New Perspectives on Gloria E. AnzaldÃºa . Springer, 2016. p. 144.
42 emotional and spiritual abilities to deepen our experience of reality. 76 She wishes to use anger and other strong emotions combined with self reflection and reason to transform our given realities and ideas about reality (the social, imaginal, emotional, political, mental, etc.). 77 However, AnzaldÃºa story and recognizes its limitations, challenging us and our theories to move beyond the five senses, to get into subjectivity, the inner life, thoughts, and feelings, and intuition. 78 spectrum of the phys ical world and our senses, incorporating dreams, imagination, spiritual experiences, and intuitive feeling. 79 And buried in all of AnzaldÃºa untraced, and previously unrecognized conception of the heart of which plays a pivotal and multi functional role in the interaction of these experiences and establishing a new epistemology. She importantly characterizes and utilizes the heart and its dynamic symbolism in many ways born into this world to make face and heart, our face symbolizing our personality and our hearts representing our soul or spirit. 80 AnzaldÃºa identities, our personaliti es, and spiritual understandings. AnzaldÃºa describes the heart as being able to symbolize and stand for many aspects of our lives and experiences. For instance, she states: 76 Ibid. p. 225. 77 Ibid. p. 232. 78 , Gloria and AnaLouise Keating. Interviews = Entrevistas . New York: Routledge, 2000. p. 18. 79 Ibid. 80 Ibid . p . 35 . This is also a reference to AnzaldÃºa second anthology , , Gloria. See Making Face, Making Soul = Haciendo Caras : Creative a nd Critical Perspectives by Feminists of Color . 1st ed. San Francisco: Aunt Lute Foundation Books, 1990.
43 the sexual heart, when you have an orgasm. When you meditate you set off a third heart. a feeling heart [i], and then the spiritual [ii]. I use those three as a symbol . There may beat, the rhythm of the universe. 81 Thus, the heart can function and symbolize much of our experience and reality, depicting the heart that is both center of phenomenal experiences such as sexual orgasm and emotionality and the means of connecting those experiences together, a symbol for integration i.e. the spiritual heart. Likewise, her questioning and incorporation of a possible fourth heart depicts the ways in which it can function as an important and useful heuristic a metaphor, concept, or feeling which can help describe and expand on reality and our experiences of reality. To AnzaldÃºa , the concept of the heart is vertsatile and multi functional and ca n incite emotional, intellectual, and metaphysical curosity. AnzaldÃºa connects heart with intellect, reason, and thinking. AnzaldÃºa advocates that we need to practice and engage in deep feeling, intima te listening, and empathizing with ourselves, confrontation, and others. She claims that: engaging them with deep feeling. However, to really listen, we must put our corazon es y razones (feeling and intellect) in our manos and extend them to others in empathetic efforts to understand. Intimate listening is more productive than detached self interest, winning arguments, or sticking to pet theories. 82 AnzaldÃºa articulates that we must engage others and confrontation with deep listening symbolized by our hearts and emotionality. We must empathize with the Other, disrupting neat categories of race, ethnicity, nationalism, class, and sex. AnzaldÃºa suggests that we need to 81 AnzaldÃºa, Gloria. Light in the Dark/Luz En Lo Oscuro: Rewriting Identity, Spirituality, Reality . p. 68 9. 82 Ibid. p. 78 9.
44 integrate our hearts and feelings with our intellect and theorizing, insinuating that reason or intellect stitched with empathetic connection is key to understand and listen to others and better our social lives and relationship with others. This intimate and empat hetic listening, according to AnzaldÃºa , is far more productive for transformation than current academic institutional structures which include winning arguments, academic prestige, and sticking with the theoretical status quo. Deep listening and engaging w ith others on an empathetic and emotional level is fundamental in rewriting self and collective identities and positively changing the current social structure and reality, engaging in deep feeling and empathy tied with reason in order to solve our social and global problems. Yet, this rewiring necessarily leads to pain and suffering. For feeling, and intellect requires internal suffering and pain. AnzaldÃºa reco gnizes that emotional pain and deep feeling are necessary conditions of self transformation, and hence global transformation. She states: Navigating the cracks between worlds is difficult and painful, like reconstructing a new life, a new identity. Forced to negotiate the cracks between realities, we learn to navigate the switchback roads between assimilation/acquiescence to the dominant culture and isolation/preservation of our ethnic cultural integrity. But both are necessary for survival and growth. Whe n we adapt to cambio (change), we develop a new set of terms to 83 Likewise, AnzaldÃºa necessarily painful and difficult. Reconstru cting new individual and collective identities is painful. Negotiating between old realities and new ones requires a demolition of previously held beliefs, ideas, feelings, and senses of identities. This deconstructive process describes an ever changing id entity formation and emotional metamorphosis, constantly negotiating our feelings 83 Ibid. p. 79.
45 with our intellect and identities, recognizing that we must ever adapt to our conditions and circumstances. However, this is a powerful method which can lead to authentic gr owth and change according to AnzaldÃºa , developing a new empathetic and emotional self that embraces others and challenges the larger socio political structures which cause global oppression, disparity, and injustice. This process is powerful enough to medi tate change in both individual and collective idenitites. AnzaldÃºa wishes to deconstruct old binaries, emotional patterns, boundaries, and tidy categories of identity such as race, gender, class, and sexuality. Although painful, this shift and shock is the first step into el conocimiento, rendering identity malleable and allowing for greater freedom in constructing new identities and developing new emotional patterns and empathetic connections. Indeed, because la nepantleras recognize and are always in a st ate of change, they learn to live in the spaces between our continually changing identities, feelings, and senses of self, embracing and transcending momentary and eternal pain and suffering in order to manifest new positive patterns and modes of being. No netheless, it is the understanding and feeling of this deep existential pain that allows one to recognize personal and collective wounds and the extent of the emotional heart, fostering positive change by allowing experiences of deep feeling, intimate list ening to others, and empathetic connections to occur. Moreover, it is our emotionality, affectivity, and deep feeling that guides and allows ourselves, others, and the global structures to change and transform. Another important aspect of AnzaldÃºa as of heart and emotionality is healing. One cannot stay in a place of woundnesses if one wishes to transform, and thus, the cyclical relationship between transformation and healing emerges. AnzaldÃºa
46 been to heal the personal a 84 and she continues to assert that we must assess and repair the damages that our and other groups have done to each other, men to women, women to men, adults to children, races to other races, etc. Healing means usi ng wholeness and intregration. 85 you. First you must recognize and acknowledge la herida. Second, yo 86 Again, AnzaldÃºa demonstrates that one must first acknowledge that one is emotionally wounded, separated, fragmented which is how identity formations in western culture and ideology are constructed. She then suggests that we intend to heal our wounds, understanding that the wound itself is the means to healing and transformation. The emotional heart, in this way, is the openness to feeling, emotionality, and empathy the ability to be wounded by our experiences of the world. She asks us to attend to what the body and heart are feeling, to be and feel the dismemeberment, disintegration, rupture, psychic and emotional fragmentation that leads to a dialogue with the wound, emphasizing the to engage in openness, emotional wounding and healing, and thus, transformation. And this process is the direct work of the spiritual activist and the ways we can transform and heal our self and collective identities and one can, according to AnzaldÃºa , awaken an inner awareness that is greater than our individual 84 Ibid. p. 88. 85 Ibid. p. 89. 86 Ibid.
47 interconnection to ot hers on the planet and the planet itself. 87 Finally, AnzaldÃºa argues, we must utilize the emotive power of our hearts in order to plunge our hands into the mess, embodying the practical, material, spiritual, and political acts of our time, utilizing Anzald Ãºa 88 AnzaldÃºa the ability to rely on deeper senses and facult ies of knowing and inner knowledges. Furthermore, spiritual activism is inherently linked with healing and emotionality symbolically depicted by the emotional heart. The emotional heart engages in healing work, both inner and outer. It means not just thi creating the spaces and times for healing to happen, to nourish and heal the soul with heart; likewise, meditative prayer, a work of imagination and generation of a powerful transformative force, us ually accompanies this stage of healing. 89 AnzaldÃºa theoretically outlines a path of recuperation on many fronts, a general healing of our humanhood, our selves, our bodies, and our intellectual lives, all of which attempt to develop mental/spiritual/emotio nal healing skills. 90 She argues that contemplation allows us to recognize, process, and sort out our anger, frustrations, and pains. 91 This inner contemplation allows us the time and space in which ling, can surface and manifest. She says: By cultivating awareness, we minimize wounding; by maintaining compassion and empathy for those of different genders, races, classes, regions, generations, and physical and mental capacities, we link to them. To m aintain our connections, we must cultivate liberating insights/conocimientos and radical realizations that burst through the cracks of 87 Ibid. p. 90. 88 Ibid. 89 Ibid. 90 Ibid. 91 Ibid. p. 92.
48 our unconscious and flow up from our cenotes. We need artistic expressions and efforts that heal inspire, that generate e nough creative energy to make a difference in our lives and in those of others. 92 knowledges and epistemologies. It is what allows us to generate and maintain compas sion and empathy for all: all genders, races, classes, regions, animals, lands, and peoples. And it is this and transform with and for others. Healing, empathy, and compassion thus all play a salient and interconnected role in the work of the spiritual activist in that transformation requires emotional change powerful enough to alter our daily habits, senses of identities, and social and political structures. Without deep feeling, empathetic compassion, or emotionality we will not generate the power needed to reconstruct our realities and identities or provide the posi tive and substantial social change we desperatively need given our global condition. But we need emotions and deep feelings which are tied to reason according to AnzaldÃºa in order to change ourselves and our social condition . AnzaldÃºa regularly asserts th at the Entrevistas /Interviews , AnzaldÃºa is interviewed by various scholars, as she divulges her beliefs in a more personalized, less academic format. In her intervierw with Irene Lara, AnzaldÃºa bittnerness overwhelm you because they are not stitched with reason. AnzaldÃºa then describes a 92 Ibid.
49 and when to reach out to others. 93 And it is the role of the emotional heart, tied with intellect and reason, in which we can access deeper insights, feelings, and knowledges such as love and empathy which lead to positive, substantial, and ever lasting social change. Similarly, AnaLouise Keating, who directly takes up and analyzes later theories such as spiritual activism, speaks to this openness required for emotionality, wounding and trans forming. Keating describes her empathetic notion of raw openness and its profound ability for transformation, resembling AnzaldÃºa . Keating suggests that self and social change requires deep listening, empathy, changeability, and hard work I use the term raw openness to underscore the painful, vulnerable dimensions. When I listen with raw openness I expose myself to you; I am willing to be altered by our encounter. Like other forms of spiritua l activism, listening with raw openness begins with the belief in our interrelatedness, with the willingness to posit and seek commonalities commonalities defines not as sameness by as possible points of connection. 94 Moreover, raw openness requires one to be able to wounded and vulnerable to new encounters, empathetic connection, seeking commonality through empathy, and instigating positive social change through the sear ch for commonality. Raw openness mirrors AnzaldÃºa because they both require that we painfully expose ourselves to the world, permitting ourselves to be altered, not able to rest upon one universalizing or essentializing ontological catego ry. We must first be open to the experiences of others, other people, countries, customs, etc, establishing an empathetic connection with the world. Raw openness and the emotional heart recognize the necessity of woundedness and emotional contemplation in transformation. We must first be able 93 Keating, AnaLouise. Entremundos/Amongworlds: New Perspectives on Gloria E. AnzaldÃºa . p. 44. 94 s formation, and the Politics
50 to be wounded, to be emotionally open to the world, then to empathize with others. It also between all. This raw openness epitomizes the first step in self transformation: to be open to world and experience, to engage in deep feeling and emotionality, and most importantly, raw openness helps describe and support what AnzaldÃºa means by the emotional heart and their means of establishing positive social change: openning up oneself to the world, to emotionality, and to empathy so that we can heal and transform ourselves and our social condition. Furthermore, I read raw openness as another depiction of the emotional heart and as a necessary step in recognizing the endless transformative processes of creating new positive social possibilities. The emotional heart plays a foundational r ole in how we are to change ourselves, our communities, and our global condition, by engaging in deep feeling, listening, and empathetic connection with others. This process leads to pain and suffering because we have to constantly renegotiate our own iden tities and relations with others. However, as AnzaldÃºa stipulates, blaming or pointing the finger at others does not lead to healing or positive change. What does lead to change for AnzaldÃºa is the experiencing and contemplation of our emotionality, which when mediated with reason, leads one to establish empathetic connection with the world. Together, heart and reason direct emotionality toward openness, empathy, and positive change, attempting to build bridges, connections, alliances, and community with ot hers. This process however leads to pain and suffering because we have to constantly renegotiate our own identities and relations with others, and it requires that we are open to emotionality itself, that we use emotionality to change ourselves and others, and that without emotionality, raw
51 openness, and empathetic connection, we do not have the creative or affective power needed to truly transcend our social condition and manifest positive social change. The Spiritual/Energetic Heart In final her seven stages of conocimiento theorized from years of study and life experience, including esoteric sources such as the Tarot, I Ching, dowsing, astrology, and numerology. 95 She describes the first step as the initial earthquake shock of trauma, chaos, and important life events. The d contracting possibilities, open to other perspectives, more readily able to access knowledge derived from inner feelings, imaginal states, and holistic awareness. 96 After this intermediary stage, one ends up in the Coatlicue state, or the depths of despai r, self loathing, and hopelessness, paralyzing one for weeks. 97 In the fourth stage, a call to action pulls you out of depression and hopelessness; you break free from your habitual coping strategies and behaviours, undergoing a conversion. 98 The fifth stage allows you to track ongoing circumstances in your life, to sift, sort and symbolize your experiences, arranging them into a new pattern and story that speaks to your life. 99 The sixth stage however brings promise of failure, as we test our new story and r eality against a world upon which it ultimately collapses, resulting in disappointment, tremendous anger, and repressed 95 AnzaldÃºa, Gloria. Light in the Dark/Luz En Lo Oscuro: Rewriting Identity, Spirituality, Reality . p. 120. 96 Ibid. p. 122. 97 Ibid. p. 123. 98 Ibid. 99 Ibid.
52 emotions, unable to activate inner resources. 100 In the final seventh space, a critical and transformative shift occurs, you develop an et hical and compassionate strategy with which to negotiate conflict and difference within the self and others, finding common ground, forming alliances. You include these new practices into your daily life, utilizing the knowledge to enact your vision, enact ing spiritual activism 101 : Together, the seven stages open the senses and enlarge the breadth and depth of consciousness, causing internal shifts and external changes [spiritual activism]. All seven are present within each stage, and they occur concurrently , chronologically or not. Together [El Conocimiento, Coyoxauhqui, Nepantl(er)a, and Spiritual Activism], these stations comprise a meditation on the rites of passage, the transitions of life from birth to death, and all the daily births and deaths in betwe en. Bits of your self die and are reborn in each step. 102 AnzaldÃºa demonstrates her powerful model for transformation and the spiritual knowledges that come with her intuitive and dynamic conept of el conocimiento, nepantlera, C.I., and spiritual activism. She calls upon C.I. to symbolize the process of emotional and psychical dismemberment, splitting mind, body, spirit, and heart. It is the creative process of putting the pieces back together again, revealing new identity formations and descriptions of self , world, and your place in it. 103 She also speaks about Nepantla and its point of contact where the And it is here where AnzaldÃºa incorporates a spiritual and energe tic component to self, reality, and her notion of the heart, which is the ability to empathetically link to others and incite profound compassion for humanity, animals, and the planet itself. But first, we need to understand AnzaldÃºa r to understand its relation to the epistemology of the heart. 100 Ibid. 101 Ibid. 102 Ibid. p. 124. 103 Ibid. p. 125.
53 AnzaldÃºa posits a spiritual, non physical reality. She bases her seven stages off of various Aztec, eastern, indigenous, and Hindu systems. Similarly, AnzaldÃºa recognizes an alternative metaphy sically substantive spiritual reality in which subtle energies beyond our senses and faced patlache of your indigenous queer heritage is also the symbol of la otra tu, the double of dream body (e nergetic body). La naguala connects you to these others and to unconscious and invisible forces. In nepantla you 104 AnzaldÃºa thus believes that there lies a spiritual world in which t he material world manifests from, and that nepantla can help recognize the subtle or invisible forces in which the material and spirit interact. AnzaldÃºa by the material r ealities in which we live. AnzaldÃºa continues by describing her experience of spiritual realities and subtle energies throughout her writing and experiences of her body. She emphasizes: you exist outsi de your body and outside your dream body, as well. If the body is energy, is spirit boundaries. What if you experienced your body expanding to the size of the room, not your soul leaving your body. What if freedom from categories occurs by widening the for the conscious sense of self, the representation of self in the mind). 105 Thus, AnzaldÃºa does not wish to uphold the Cartesian mind/body split, matter/ spirit dichotomy. The energy of the body interacts with the energy of the mind and the energy of spirit in complex and non dualistic ways. AnzaldÃºa remains pluralistic about the various kinds of energies body, mind, spirit, heart that can exist and interac t, composing our reality. She argues that a substantial energetic or spiritual body lies behind a material, physical body. And it is this point of 104 Ibid. p. 128. 105 Ibid. p. 134.
54 connection that AnzaldÃºa emotional bo dy, and physical body. The spiritual heart strengthens AnzaldÃºa means and symbol for integration, linking our body, mind, and spirit together in complex ways. The spiritual heart is what gives us the conoci miento to listen to our inner voices, revealing our core passion, which points us to our sense of purpose and guiding vision. The energetic or spiritual heart is what connects the spiritual body with the material body. It is what gives us the knowledge to discover resources within ourselves and in the world, prompting us to take responsibility for consciously creating our worlds and lives, becoming a fully healthy, loving, and functioning human being. 106 a reality called spirit, a presence, force, power, energy, within and without. Spirit infuses all that exists organic and inorganic transcending the categories and concepts that govern your perception of 107 Moreover, AnzaldÃºa posits a inv isible energetic and spritiual force that unites all other forces, including material reality. In another revealing interview, AnzaldÃºa speaks of metaphysical spirit as vibrational, vibration a rock, a plant, an animal, a human, a particular area. That vibration is like the song 108 For AnzaldÃºa , similarly, every emotion and feeling has a vibrational state, and it is through vibra tion, she believes, that the spiritual interconnects all living and non living things. Her Nepantla concept, too, is the in between or transitions between worlds such as race, sexual identity, and class. Its experiences involve not only learning how to 106 Ibid. p. 136. 107 Ibid. p. 138. 108 , Gloria and AnaLouise Keating. Interviews = Entrevistas . p. 100.
55 acc ess different kinds of knowledges between or alongside reality they also involve creating your own meaning or conocimientos. 109 And thus it is the interaction between the spirit and the physical worlds that allows us to create and understand spirit. It is the interaction between the physical body and the spiritual or energetic realities which allow us to sense and use this vibrational, spiritual, energetic heart to connect with others, the planet, and the universe. An d it is how and why we can empathetically communicate with others in extrasensory and supernatural ways. AnzaldÃºa ends her interview and states: we should open our hearts to people through empathetic connection, a connection that Sometimes the heart unders tands without any rational explanations or causes. We have to let go of hurt, of the wounds of controversy. We have to let go of hurt of hatred, of pointing the finger at people all the time. 110 Furthermore, we clearly see the belief of the intuition and k nowledge of the heart and that it is a gateway to empathetic and compassionate connection with others, animals, and the natural environment of which AnzaldÃºa advocates. It is the energetic of spiritual heart that connects and works together with body and spirit, which allows us to create and change our worlds, realities, and perceptions. And this spiritual connection may now be beginning to find its way in our scientific understandings, glimpsing the newly discovered bioelectrical or energetic heart and th e ways in which its vibrational or bioelectric fields may connect us with others and create harmonious, balanced, and coherent habits and patterns which foster healing, transformation, and positivity. 109 Ibid. p. 267. 110 Ibid. p. 291.
56 The heart, like the brain or the gut, has its own ne twork of acquiring information, and for AnzaldÃºa , it can receive and send subtle signals and information to others, the environment, and the Earth itself if we are sensitive enough to experience it. Recent scientific discovery has also demonstrated that th e heart possess its own bioelectric or vibrational field, which may allow our body to communicate with itself, with others, and possibly the planet in unknown yet b iological heart permeates every living cell of the body and may act as a synchronizing signal for the body in a manner analogous to information carried by radio waves. 111 Likewise, it is shown that this information from the heart is not only transmitted via the brain, but other detectable 112 In this more scientific approach, we learn that the heart generates the largest electromagnetic field in the body, 60 times greater than the amplitude of the brain, and 5,000 times stronger in a magnetic component; he continues to suggest that the heart may play an important role in emotional and p erceptive experience and possess its own decision making capabilities. 113 McCraty states: Research in the relatively new discipline of neurocardiology has confirmed that the heart is a sensory organ and acts as a sophisticated information encoding and proces sing center that enables it to learn, remember, and make independent functional decisions that do not and emotional processing. 114 111 McCraty, Rollin. "The Energetic Heart: Bioelectromagnetic Communication within and Between People." p. 1. 112 Ibid. 113 Ibid. p. 3. 114 Ibid.
57 Furthermore, recent data and the deve lopment of neurocardiology suggest that the heart may also show how the heart plays an important role in perception and emotional processing, demonstrating a more scientific approach to AnzaldÃºa AnzaldÃºa d although AnzaldÃºa passed away before these findings were able to make their way into the scientific community, I suggest AnzaldÃºa would have understood, scientifically validated, and supported these findings. Throughout her writing she speaks to the un(d er) explored and un(der) developed power of the energetic/spiritual heart and its unique role in our emotional, intuitive, and perceptive realities. And as AnzaldÃºa often speaks to how our spiritual heart can reach out validates its scientific and energetic possibility and potentiality. information and communicating with others. McCraty argues that new evidence supports the idea that a subtle yet just below our conscious level of awareness and with others. 115 To demonstrate this possibility, McCraty and his team used signal averaging techniques to detect signals that were synch ronous with the peak or R electroencephalogram (EEG) or brain waves. The results of the experiments led them to conclude that the nervous system acts as an antenna, which is tuned to respond to the magnetic 115 Ibid. p. 7.
58 fields produced by the hearts of other individuals. 116 McCraty and his colleagues call this new believe it to be an innate ability that heightens awareness and mediates important aspects of empathetic connection and sensitivity to others, constructing an emotionally and physiologically coherent and stable bioelectrical signal and field. 117 To further support these findings, simultaneously and independently, Russek Schwartz at the University of Arizona conducted similar experiments in which a detection occures between physical contact, as Schwartz et al describe the heart as a prime generator, organizer, and integrator of energy in the human body. 118 Also, in comparison with AnzaldÃºa healing in her theory of spiritual activism, this radically new heart science shows how heart signals its bioelectrical patterns, signals, and rhythms plays a role in the healing process. In other words, the more synchronized, stable, and coherent heal, as these states can be induced by meditation, prayer, or feelings of peace, gratitude, and appreciation. Rollin cites a particularly interesting experiment in which human fibroblasts and fibrosarcoma (tumor cells) were both exposed to the same cohere nt ECG signal. They found that the growth of healthy cells was facilitated by 20% and, unexpectedly, the growth of the tumor cells was inhibited by 20%, believing that these treatments can help restore normal pattern and 116 Ibid. p. 8. 117 Ibid. 118 Ibid. p. 10.
59 activity at the cellular level and that the rhythm and coherence that the heart field produces are key to the healing process. 119 Furthermore, McCraty and his colleagues demonstrate that bioelectrical communication stemming from the heart is a real phenomenon that has numerous implications in physical, mental, and emotional health. Ultimately, it could be used to potentially enable a deeper intuitive connection and communication between the self and others and can be a crucial component in healing and the healing process. Moreover, the elect romagnetic energy generated by the heart acts as a synchronized force within the body, a key carrier of information, and an apparent mediator of a type of subtle electromagnetic communication between people; the cardiac bioelectromagnetic field may have mu ch to teach us about ourselves, the inner dyanmics of health, and our interaction with others and possible planetary signal coherences. 120 Likewise, for AnzaldÃºa , the body and the spiritual, biological, and energetic heart are capable of sending energy, sign als, and compassion through empathetic connection, highlighting yet subtle connective energy it produces. The spiritual or energetic heart, according to Anzald Ãºa , can send coherent and harmonious signals of love and compassion to others and the world at large, which incites the possibility for healing and connection, and hence positive social change. AnzaldÃºa passionately states: With awe and wonder you look aro und, recognizing the preciousness of the earth, the sanctity of every human being on the planet, ultimate unity and interdepdendence of all beings somos todos un paiz. Love swells in your chest and shoots our of your heart chakra, linking you to everyone/e verything the aboriginal in Asutraila, the crow in the forest, the vast Pacific Ocean. You share a category of identity wider than any social position or racial label. This conocimiento motivates you to work actively to see that no 119 Ibid. p. 15. 120 Ibid. p. 16.
60 harm comes to people, an imals, ocean to take up spiritual activism and the work of healing. 121 AnzaldÃºa thus implicitly describes her energetic/spiritual heart as manifesting a deep empathetic connection and compassion for humanity, animals and the planet, which itself is a means of enabling positive social change. AnzaldÃºa illustrates her incorporation of the chakra system and its power of the energetic/spiritual heart to reach and link with others across the globe, the planet, and the natrual environment in order to manifest posi tive social change in which our goal is to see to it that no harm comes to anyone or anything. And her energetic or spiritual heart is what connects us to others, empathetically linking us to to everyone and everything. It is her spiritual and energetic he art which spawns compassion, love, and empathy for everyone and everything on the planet, dictating that we work to actively see that no harm comes to people, animals, nature, and oceans. In written form, she shows and uses her power from her energetic/sp iritual heart to build a connection between herself and the rest of the world. She posits that we can send energy and signals via the heart chakra (spiritual heart) to those across the world, that we are spiritually connected via this energetic web, and th at the energetic/spiritual heart is what gives us that profound feeling of interconnectedness, love, compassion, and empathy for others, animals, and the planet itself. It is here where AnzaldÃºa theoretically implies the depth of the heart, its energetic o r spiritual reality, its ability to materialize positive social change, and the ways in which AnzaldÃºa herself attempts to feel and use this power and knowledge in her writing. She attempts to create, foster, and artistically capture the art and act of ins tantiating positive social change by contemplating and acting on our interconnectedness via the spiritual heart and its 121 AnzaldÃºa, Gloria. Light in the Dark/Luz En Lo Oscuro: Rewriting Identity, Spirituality, Reality . p. 138.
61 other ways of sensing and knowing and communicating that which allows us to link and empathize with others, animals, and the Earth itsel f. This transformation brings about new versions of reality. It demands that you employ alternative ways of knowing, and rewire your ways of seeing, thinking, feeling, and expressing. 122 She continues to assert that el conocimiento partially stems from the 123 Thus, for AnzaldÃºa , the h eart is intelligent and possesses its own ways of knowing, deepening our spiritual knowledge and interconnectedness with others. Likewise, the energetic/spiritual heart, according to AnzaldÃºa , is what spiritually connects us with others on the globe, natur e, and the planet itself . It possesses deeper knowledge of the world of which we can access if we are quiet, sensitive, and patient enough to listen, and we can use this energy to positively change ourselves and our world. Love and pain can incite compassi on and tenderness to yourself and others. And through her writing process, AnzaldÃº a expresses profound love and interconnectedness with the world, as she ends her book with a poem dedicated to nature and spiritual activism: May the fires of compassion igni te our hands sending energy out into the universe where 124 AnzaldÃºa moreover captures the ways in which it is ou its intelligence, emotionality and affectivity (emotional heart), love, empathetic connection, and compassion 122 Ibid. p. 142. 123 Ibid. p. 153. 124 Ibid. p. 158 9.
62 (energetic/spiritual heart) linked with our actions that send positive energy outward into the world, fomenting healing, tr ansformation, integration, and positive social change. AnzaldÃºa research. The energetic/spiritual heart plays a vital role for AnzaldÃºa in that it has the power to connect, sen d energy to others and the cosmos itself and transform our existing social order by sharing and spreading love, compassion, and empathy. If we feel and transmit these coherent energetic and emotional states, signals, and fields of love, peace, and compassi on according to AnzaldÃºa , we add to making the world a better place, to making a better world for all all animals, peoples, organisms, and natural environments. And in this way, AnzaldÃºa demonstrates how she herself tries to exert these states an d contribute to making the world a better place with the energetic/spiritual heart. Her energetic and spiritual heart provide the deeper spiritual and vibrational coherence, balance, and harmony which manifests positive social change in material reality, a cting so that no harm comes to any living thing or natural system. AnzaldÃºa therefore prompts us to change, and it requires changing and opening up to the epistemology, wisdom, and power of the heart, fostering healing, transformation, and empathetic and c ompassionate connection with others, animals, nature, and the planet itself.
63 CHAPTER THREE: A NEW ETHICS OF THE ENVIRONMENT the Earth, but the partnership must go both ways; we must demonstrate trust, love, respect, and reciprocity, to make this bond work. Gloria AnzaldÃºa , Introduction AnzaldÃºa Luz en lo Ocuro (Light in the Dark) also theorizes an d contemplates the relationship between our identity formations, natural space, and spirituality. Although AnzaldÃºa does not directly discuss or argue for a clear and comprehensive environmental ethic, I will suggest we can excavate and manufacture a new w ay of conceiving nature within the context of spiritual activism. In fact, spiritual activism requires that we radically (re)think our relationship with natural space and the environment, hoping to establish a healthy and beneficial relationship with both the environment and others, not one composed of the massive environmental capitalistic, consumeristic, and unsustainable global system. Hoping to illuminate, expand, and strengthen this un(der) explored and un(der) developed theme in her work and conception of spiritual activism, I will attempt to make AnzaldÃºa environment in relation to spiritual activism more compr ehensive and robust. In this chapter, I argue that spiritual activism allows us to synthesize a new environmental ethic which expands on notions and senses of self that include the natural environment in which we live. I attempt to explain and dissect wha t AnzaldÃºa means when she In doing so, AnzaldÃºa activism gives us new ways of looking at and interacting with natural environment and space in
64 revolutionary ways. This shift allows us to create a positive social change by the way her environmental ethic attempts to establish substantial and ever lasting environmental, ecological, and agricultu ral sustainability which can healthily support human societies and communities. I show how spiritual activism allows us to construct a new environmental ethic which enacts positive social change by recognizing (i) the increasing neocolonial, exploitative global structure of natural space which leads to rampant environmental degradation and un sustainability and (ii) permaculture ideologies and practices which directly attempt to build sustainable means of agriculture. Similarly, AnzaldÃºa criticizes the cur rent structure of natural space and our relationship with nature, depleting its natural resources to support western culture, unsustainable agriculture and commerce, and radically consumeristic identities and lifestyles . I suggest that these sections desc ribe the un(der) explored and un(der) developed themes in AnzaldÃºa allowing us to construct a new framework we need in ord er to create positive and sustainable change in terms of agricultural, ecological, and environmental sustainability. I suggest that these less theorized and understood ideas are foundational for understanding AnzaldÃºa cerning nature, her growing, evolving philosophy, and the ways in which these shifts in identity formations force us to rethink our relationship with space and the natural environment on an individual and global scale. But to do so, I need to discuss how a nd why I have organized each section and its ultimate goal. In section (i), I heavily rely on AnzaldÃºa exploitative structure and organization of space and natural resources. This will be a detailed analysis of how AnzaldÃºa sees the current structure of space and the ways it leads to the
65 environmental degradation, global disparity, and inequality of natural resources. She uses her experience of 9/11 as an example of chaotic events which can trigger and make us (re)ev aluate our lives, contemplating how our actions contribute to global suffering and inequality and environmental exploitation and degradation. To do this, AnzaldÃºa spatially analyzes the global in hyper consumerism and the consumption of far more resources than other countries, resulting in massive global inequality and natural resource disparity. AnzaldÃºa utilizes both critical, transformative, and pragmatic methodologies in the way she attempt s to transform our current social condition and its real world issues concerning the distribution of resources and environmental exploitation. Furthermore, I describe AnzaldÃºa structure of space, which is the first step in reconstituting our relationship with the natural space and environment in which we live. In section (ii), I theoretcially and critically apply AnzaldÃºa environment in terms of spiritual activism. I apply the theoretical principles of spiritual activism to our current mono , animal , and industrial agricultural systems which all function within the necolonial production and distribution of natural space, resources, and agriculture. I argue that these pernicious and outdated models are inefficient and damaging, resulting in substantial loss and degradation of the environment, which lead to irreparable habit loss and resource depletion. These models are simply inefficient and destructive, exploiting nat ure and its resources instead of working with nature in order to sustainably produce agriculture and human communities. the practice of permaculture, which attemp ts to find effective and efficient means of agricultural, -
66 sustaining systems which not only benefits the immediate natural ecosystem, but also replenishes hab itats and lands that have been destroyed by industrial agricultural methods. It seeks natural methods and ultimately aims to establish balance with nature and its natural systems, attempting to create a partnership with nature in the way spiritual activism and AnzaldÃºa adovocate. I make the theoretical connection between spiritual activism and permaculture, which AnzaldÃºa does not directly make herself, but I believe to be a solution to our agricultural issues and a theoretical application of spiritual acti tenets. Spiritual Activism Recognizes Increasing Neocolonial Globalization and Its Oppressive Structure of Natural Space AnzaldÃºa uses her experience of and inner dialog of the aftermath of 9/11 as a metaphor and opportunity for self and collective reflection and reevaluation. She describes the ways in which the global structure of natural space influences social injustice and identity formations. She states: ited States] real battle is with its shadow its racism, propensity for violence, rapacity for consuming, neglect of its responsibility to global communities and the environment, and unjust treatment of dissenters and the disenfranchised, especially people of color. 125 She goes on to challenge us those situated in the U.S. individually and collectively by exposing our shadows or modes of being that cause harm to others and the environment. She recognizes the ways in which we are individually complicit and res ponsible. She calls out the complex and war to profit mongers that nation 125 Ibid. p. 10.
67 exploit its natural gas and oil reserves 126 , which continue to fill our cars with gas and produce the energy needed to run our cities. She condemns U.S. corporations that thrive on war economy, imperialism, environmental degradation, and globalization. 127 And she places some of the burden of respons ibility on individuals U.S. citizens who willfully remain mis or un informed and refuse to acknowledge these global injustices propagated by U.S. and western ideology, culture, and lifestyle. AnzaldÃºa is challenging us to truly see how the spaces in whic h we live and the ways in which we live have led and will continue to lead to catastrophes such as 9/11 that sustain world violence and exploitation. She is writing from her own embodied and lived experiences of 9/11 and increasing neocolonial globalizatio n which she sees as the growing disparity between First World and Third World countries, primarily propagated by U.S. imperialism and western identity formations. She attempts to understand her identity through the way she acts and affects the global commu and hyper consumption, which leads to the global exploitation of natural resources and violence. While using Bush and his administration as exemplars that perpetuate decon o cimento (ignorance) and oppressiv e power structures, she asserts: They [Bush and his administration] refuse el conocimento (spiritual knowledge) that actions affect the rest of the world. Putting ga s in our cars connects us to the Middle East. Take a shower squandering water and someone on the planet goes thirsty; waste food and someone starves to death. Although we make up approximately 4.5% of the people on the planet, we consume 82 percent of its resources. And fear, ignorance, greed, overconsumption, and a voracious appetite for power is what this war is about. 128 126 Ibid. p. 13. 127 Ibid. p. 14. 128 Ibid. p. 15.
68 By acknowledging and revealing our current western modes of living that cause harm, violence, deprivation, and death elsewhere in the w orld , AnzaldÃºa sees global problems as intimately interconnected and propagated by neocolonial and U.S., western expansion . It shows the ways in which neocolonialism sucks the resources and life force from Third World countries for the privileged First Wor ld countries, primarily the U.S. and its wasteful, over consumptive, and environmentally destructive culture. Neocolonial economic and political models sponsored by the IMF (International Monetary Fund) and The World Bank are not only globalized and provid e the financial and political support for First World countries like the U.S. to environmentally exploit developing nations, they support our current consumer culture, which has seeped into our cultural, social and individual identities, ideologies, and be haviors, contributing to and allowing the global exploitation of natural space and resources to occur. For AnzaldÃºa , we firstly need to recognize these modes of being which lead to mass global inequality, natural resource inequality, and environmental degr adation in order to understand and positively transform them. AnzaldÃºa Coyolxauhqui Imperative (C.I.) allows us to deconstruct these western means of living and being . AnzaldÃºa advocates that we dismember these western ideologies and practices that lead to dys functional economic and political systems, global exploitation, world poverty, and our culture of over consumption , voraciously depleting natural resources . El conocimiento is what gives us the ability to become more aware of how our actions and shad ows negatively affect the rest of the world, contemplating and renegotiating the ways in which identity formations interact with global systems and natural space. El conocimiento makes us (re)think how the use and occupation of the natural spaces in which we live influence our identities, minds, and bodies. AnzaldÃºa thus recognizes the neocolonial corporeality of the 21 st century world in which we live and the ways in which these western ideological tenets and
69 modes of li ving cause global violence, war , env ironmental degradation, and inequality . She wishes to deconstruct these means of production that lead to over consumption and exploitation and the ways we, those in the U.S. and in the developed world, have neglected its environmental impact , relinquishing social responsibility, and taking far more resources than what we need as individuals and as a nation. She attempts to decolonize the current western models of epistemology and ontology, challenging the underlying structures that lead to such disparity, s uch as capitalism, consumerism, and radical individualism. AnzaldÃºa connection to the Earth a conscious being which keens through us for all the trees felled, air poisoned, water pol luted, and animals slaughtered into extinction. 129 AnzaldÃºa explicates the deconocimientos that we, as a nation, have alienated ourselves from the rest of the world. Nepantleras, in response to this need, are mediators who existentially contemplate the ways in which our individual actions affect the rest of the world. Anza ldÃºa, exemplifying a Nepantlera herself, attempts to occupy and understand the spaces between our individual actions and identities and their global , environmental repercussions. She is thro wing herself into the spaces that allow for holistic and world thinking by acknowledging her material reality and questioning her actions on a global scale . actions and its global effects give and living, fully recognizing our destructive and current political, economic, environmental, and social realities in order to alter them. Anza ldÃºa el conocimiento is the deep spiritual know ledge that observes the subtle yet material ways we are inter connected. It represents the deep knowledge and awareness that we are 129 Ibid. p. 113.
70 rs . World events and catastrophes like 9/11 can force us to think not in terms of and the ways in which our actions . 130 These events can shake our currently perceived identities to those which (re)consider how our actions materially affect others and the natural world. El conocimiento asks us to recognize that none of us are blameless, as AnzaldÃºa herself displays how she contemplates and considers our relationship with the natural used by a storm in a 131 AnzaldÃºa points to the ways in which we can begin to reconstruct new identities that involve (re)imagining our relationship with the environment, our individual actio ns and their global consequences e.g. climate change, ecological un sustainability, etc. al appropriation and exploitation of our minds, spirits, bodies, and imagination. She reminisces about the crosses all dimensions the sky, spiritual space, the cenote, the Mayan well un ombligo (an umbilical cord) connecting us to the earth and concrete 132 She goes on note how Nepantlas such as Native Americans, immigrants, people of color, whites, queers, hom osexuals, are all border people, having to navigate between two or more worlds in some way. 133 She underscores the ways in which everyone is a border person in some way, having to live in opposing and multiple worlds, ideologies, cultures, and forces. This 130 Ibid. p. 20. 131 Ibid. p. 21. 132 Ibid. p. 57. 133 Ibid.
71 N To be Nepantla, then, is to be in a constant disorientating state, never having a fixed sense of identity or self, constantly exploring themes of identity, border crossing, and hybrid imagery. 134 This hybridization also exemplifies the deconstruction/reconstruction process depicted by C.I. and the ways in which we can transform ideas about personal and collective identit ies and our understanding of inner (personal) and outer (structural) space. The Nepantla attempts to bridge this connection between inner and outer space by the healing, medicinal, and creative processes of art and art making. Our greatest goal, says Anzal dÃºa , is to teach and learn tolerance and respect for the Earth, and the people of the Earth. 135 Likewise, the continual personhood to the planetary body itself, making Earth a proper noun and imagining a living subject in which we are interacting and relating with. She is metaphorically and literally rewriting the relationship she has with the planet the spiritual work of making bridges, partnerships that connect us to others, the natural space and environment around us, and the Earth itself. AnzaldÃºa is interested in how real life experiences shape how we view and relate to our bodies. She is interested in bodies that grow up in western cultures and borderlands th at witness economically lucrative produced wars, environmental degradation, and global exploitation, such as 9/11. She is keenly observant to note how the neocolonial context of how we materially relate to one another seeps into our psyches, emotions, bodi es, and behaviors, resulting in inner fragmentation and disconnection with others, nature, and the world around us. Moreover, 134 Ibid. 135 Ibid.
72 AnzaldÃºa wishes to transform and decolonize these modes of producing, acting, and being. It is only after acknowledging the corpor eality and contemporary relationship we have with our immediate space and time that allow us to transcend these modes of being and construct new ethical systems, relationships, and partnerships with the natural environment. And thus, the concept of spiritu al activism and its new environmental ethic demands that we critically evaluate and change the current neocolonial, exploitative structure of space in which we live today. It demands that we (re)think identity and natural space and that we rewrite an ident ity that acknowledges these actual destructive geopolitical trends and their devastating environmental costs. This is the first powerful step, according to Anza ldÃºa , in which we can create new identity formations that foster positive social change in order to deepen our connection between ourselves, others, the natural environment, and the planetary body itself. S piritual A ctivism E mbraces P ermaculture I deology and P ractice I argue that an exemplary application of this ideological shift and incorporation of spiritual practice with political action is the development of permaculture agriculture. Although AnzaldÃºa does not directly mention permaculture in her writings, I suggest that a permaculture ideology and practice is theoretically aligned with and cou ld be an application of her spiritual activism because of their profoundly similar foundations, methodologies, and goals. Permaculture methodology serves, I argue, as an embodiment of spiritual activism in that it tries to build a sustainable relationship with nature, animals, ecosystems, and the planet itself, all of which are direct goals of spiritual activists and AnzaldÃºa herself . She claims: Through spirituality we seek balance and harmony with our environment. According to indigenous belief, we are em bedded in nature and exist in reciprocity with it. We are
73 Earth, but the partnership must go both ways; we must demonstrate trust, love, respect, and reciprocity, to make t his bond work. 136 Indeed, AnzaldÃºa demonstrates new spiritual knowledge that is built on harmonious and balanced relationships with the natural environment of which permaculture explicitly advocates. She calls upon indigenous beliefs to help us understand t he ways in which we are spiritually embedded in nature. She details a partnership with Earth, not one built on environmental exploitation for capitalistic production and western hyper neocolonial, globalized context. Although the permacultural model to quickly demonstrate its extraordinary potential for healing, transforming, and establishing environmental, agricultural, and ecological sustainability, which provides benefits for all and demarcates a new environmental ethic in which we work with nature. In Permaculture 137 , Holzer farms more than 100 acres on steep mountainsides in Austria, 5,000 feet above sea level. He has constructed an intricate network of te rraces, raised beds, waterways, tracks, and ponds and is said to have developed the most consistent example of permaculture worldwide. 138 His permaculture system is environmentally, agriculturally, and ecologically sustainable and establishes self sustaining micro climates and systems. He has revived and healed previously damaged lands and acidic soils, and his model drastically differs from conventional mono , animal, and industrial agricultural systems that degrade and irrevocably destroy land for agribusi ness, agro forestry, and capitalistic production. sustaining model not only thrives on seemingly impossible steep maintenance after initial 136 Ibid. p. 39. 137 See Holzer, Sepp. Permaculture. Chelsea Green Publishing. 2004. 138 Holzer. Permaculture. p. ix.
74 installation, it produces more land for farming, harvests a surplus of various fruits, cereals, grains, and vegetables, and benefits the entire immediate ecosystem as a whole. His philosophy utilizes local resources and natural geography such as terraces, wind patterns, and mountainside s to create natural irrigation, ponds, and waterways. 139 He uses raised beds to save water and establishes natural microclimates which prevent vegetation from freezing over. 140 He uses earthworms, mushrooms, and pig manure as natural grazers, plows, and fertil izers all of which 141 , mono and industrial agricultural methods because it attempts to work with nature, to use its natural geography and local resources for sustainable farming, maximizing food production, revolutionizing agriculture, and benefitting the entire ecosystem as a whole, as all life thrives. These innovative models, which H olzer explores and practices, profoundly resembles and shares AnzaldÃºa It attempts to create a new value system and relationship with the natural environment which incorporates thousands of years of ancient agricultural methods. It (re)imagines a symbiosis or partnership with the natural environment, which learns from and benefits the s pecific and unique ecosystem in which one cultivates, tends, or grows. Because Holzer has attained a profound level of attunement to his specific geography and locality, he also represents el conocimiento or the deep spiritual knowledge that he has garnere d from his forty years of experience and practice working with his particular region of land. And after many trials and errors, and attempting to do 139 Ibid. p. 24, 33, 44. 140 Ibid. p. 19 21 . 141 Ibid. p. 83 5, 137 8, 185.
75 AnzaldÃºa calls for, Holzer has fundamentally built a new relations hip with the land and created a new environmental ethic in which we appreciate, respect, and work with nature. Because Holzer attempts to work with nature, his permacultural model strongly aligns with Anza ldÃºa the environment: its hills, waterways, wind patterns, endemic species, weather patterns, etc. This deep knowledge of the physical world allows us to conceive of building a harmonious relationship with the environment i n novel ways when it comes to food production and environmental and ecological sustainability. He improves upon unsustainable practices such as industrial and animal farming and agriculture, both of which seriously degrade the land and maintain the neocolo nial and global exploitative structures of space on which they are built. Anza ldÃºa upending traditional mono and animal industrial agricultural practices which cause e nvironmental degradation, habitat loss, climate change, and ecological instability. These revolutionary methods contribute to creating substantial positive, substantial, and ever lasting social change through environmental rehabilitation, reconnection, and sustainability. Others have also noted AnzaldÃºa relationship to nature, and the pressing worry over increasingly scarce resources due to unsustainable and exploitative agricultural practices. In a simi lar yet more general vein, Priscilla Solis Ybarra argues that AnzaldÃºa formation, political resistance, ecological resistance, and environmental sustainability 142 , 142 Ybarra, Priscilla Solis. "Borderlands as Bioregion: Jovita Gonzalez, Gloria Anzaldua, and the Twentieth Century Ecological Revolution in the Rio Grande Valley." Melus: Multi Ethnic Literature of the US 34, no. 2 (2009). p. 175 6.
76 aligning with tenets in both spi ritual activism and permaculture. Ybarra mirrors AnzaldÃºa political systems. Ybarra uses AnzaldÃºa and the ways in which resources will increasingly become limited amidst issues concerning access to clean water, healthy food, and liveable and growable lands. 143 Using the Rio Grande Valley, the site where AnzaldÃºa lived and fought for ecological revolutio n and agricultural transformation, as a case study, Ybarra argues that environmental injustice and un sustainability 144 Yet, AnzaldÃºa and her spiritual activism provide an appealing alte AnzaldÃºa documents the transformation of the greater Rio Grande Valley in the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century, paying close attention to how these changes affect human relationships with th 145 Ybarra outlines how AnzaldÃºa radically attempts to upend colonialist notions of landowning, rethinking communal identity as one that is profoundly connected with the land and the ways we interact with it. AnzaldÃºa advocates for mor e environmental sustainability and sense of community with the natural world. She argues that individuals need to learn about the specific bioregion of the Rio Grande in which they live its specific seasonal changes, drought cycles, behavior in animals and plants, etc. 146 , much like Thus, Ybarra, like myself, acknowledge how AnzaldÃºa in projects of natural preservation and conservation; rather, AnzaldÃºa illustrates how, in an Mexican American liter ary context, humans and the natural environment are inextricably linked 143 Ibid. 144 Ibid. 145 Ibid. p. 177. 146 Ibid. p. 181 2.
77 and therefore responsible and responsive to one another, contributing to our individual and communal identities. 147 Ybarra states: This is an active engagement with the environment, a fo rm of environmental literature that does not distance nature from humans. Mexican American environmental writing such as these works concerns living in and with nature, in an active, mutually transformative, but also mutually sustaining way. 148 Furthermore, Ybarra argues that AnzaldÃºa preservation and nature engages in an active two way movement in which humans and the further spiritual work that both Holzer and AnzaldÃºa argue for, manifesting a positive social change by attempting to build a sustainable, mutually beneficial, a nd cooperative relationship with the natural environments and ecologies in which we live. Furthermore, permaculture ideologies and practices articulated by Holzer reveal the consciousness shift required for us to create a new environmental ethic in order to manifest positive social change: one that views and treats the natural environment as we would ourselves, as one that feels connected with the land, and one that attempts to work with nature in mutually sustainable and beneficial ways. 147 Ibid. p. 185. 148 Ibid.
78 CHA PTER FOUR: A NEW ONTOLOGY OF PLANETARY CITIZENRY You become reacquainted with a reality called spirit, a presence, force, power, and energy within and without. Spirit infuses all that exists organic and inorganic transcending the categories and concepts that govern your perception of material reality. Gloria AnzaldÃºa , Introduction Spiritual activism does not stop by constructing an ethic with the natural environment, as transformative power is its new ontology or mode of being. In continuing to excavate some of the un(der) explored and un(der) developed themes in the secondary scholarship on Anza ldÃºa and spiritual activism such the epistemology of the heart and ethic of t he environment, spiritual activism posits a new ontology or way of being which helps to further comprehend spiritual activism as well as see how its ontology lays the foundation for creating positive, substantial, and ever lasting social change. Spiritual activism dictates a new ontology by imagining and experiencing an identity that is composed of the planet, others, animals, and surrounding material space itself, a self/other/planet schema. Spiritual activism offers a new interconnected ontology that endl essly produces innovative categories of identity. Spiritual activism attempts to focus on commonalities while acknowledging the differences among various cultures and social systems. Spiritual activism creates a new malleable ontological category and sees human experience itself as means of attaining commonality and global alliance, going beyond categories of race, gender, class, or nation. In this chapter, I argue that spiritual activism offers us a new ontological category of world or planetary citizenry because it gives privileged and First World western citizens a radical means of creating positive social change by (re)orientating their worldview, identity, and mode of
79 being. This chapter, unlike the previous chapters, heavily analyzes and interprets An za ldÃºa and her spiritual activism and engages in secondary sources that directly take up these themes and ideas. Furthermore, in order to understand this new ontology of world and planetary citizenry, I demonstrate how world or planetary citizenry incorpor ates or posits that: (i) self (personal) and global (political) transformation are intimately interconnected and that (ii) balance and healing are essential ideas in establishing interdependent iden tity formations and sustainable communities. Spiritual act ivism's holistic framework allows us to construct identities in multiple ways which extend beyond social, racial, sexual, national, and class distinctions and categories. It is an integrated model which allows us to synthesize a new epistemological ethical ontology matrix in order to construct a new world or planetary citizen. Moreover, spiritual activism recognizes an ontology of what AnzaldÃºa calls a world or planetary citizen one who acts and sees oneself as metaphysically interconnected with and compo sed of others, the natural environment, animals, and the planet itself. 149 Furthermore, I argue that spiritual activism offers a radical means of creating positive social change as one experiences, feels, and acts upon a metaphysic of interconnectedness. How ever, to begin, I first must explain each section and its directive. In section (i), I show how Anza ldÃºa prodigiously argues and suggests that self transformation and global transformation are intimately interconnected. That is, in order to create a posit ive social or global change, we need to first be the change we would like to see in the world. This idea is foundational to understanding spiritual activism and is seriously theorized and cited throughout Luz en lo Oscuro (Light in the Dark) . Thus, my main objective is simply to analyze, order, and describe how Anza ldÃºa and others theorized, conceptualized, and argued for 149 Ibid. p. 155.
80 such a synthesis and notion. Anza ldÃºa cites that in order to create a positive social change, one must paradoxically go inward and change oneself to actively change the outer structure of reality. We can therefore see an interesting and complex relationship between individual identity formations and the global structure of space. Likewise, this section will contain secondary sources, primar ily the work of AnaLouise Keating, that explicitly argue for and see this point that self transformation and global transformation are intimately linked, which AnzaldÃºa directly argues for. Moreover, this section will outline the strong interconnection bet ween self and global transformation, enabling a two way movement in which self transformation leads to positive social and global transformation. In section (ii), I suggest that world or planetary ontology acknowledges and maintains that balance and healin g are both important ideas in reorganizing individual and collective identity formations and establishing interdependent, non oppressive and exploitative, sustainable communities and societies. This section also explicitly and directly ties to Anza ldÃºa writings and ideas themselves. I make no theoretical implications, and instead, I do the organizational work of citing when and how balance and healing are mentioned and used, acknowledging how fundamental the notions balance and healing are in spiritual a ctivism and world or planetary ontology. In order to expand on our traditional ontological categories or transform them entirely, Anza ldÃºa argues that we need to heal our emotional and psychical wounds which have led us to feel and act as if we are metaphy sically distinct, separated from one another. Balance is also another notion that is vital in understanding the healing process and establishing new interdependent communities and identity formations, ones based on sustainably supporting social and natural systems. According to Anza ldÃºa , we need to rethink the role of balance and healing in creating healthy identity formations and sustainable communities and
81 societies, decolonializing the current oppressive and exploitative model of neocolonialism and globa l inequality. Furthermore, I simply order Anza ldÃºa how balance and healing are essential notions in creating positive social change, and hence contribute to constructing world or planetary ontology. Spiritual Activis m Recognizes the Ways Self Transformation Is Intimately Linked with Global Transformation According to AnaLouise Keating in the preface of Luz en lo Oscuro (Light in the Dark , AnzaldÃºa argues that the spiritual, material, physical, and psychical are insep arable aspects of a unified and infinitely complex reality. 150 even imagine. It is, too, because of this, that the self, community, world interconnect in intense and powerful ways. To see these intercon nections requires imagination how inner activity and body and outer community and space coalesce. And this is what AnzaldÃºa wished to uncover in her last book. She states: a the individual and collective arbol de la vida, and our images and ensuenos emerge from that connection, from the self in community (inner, spiritual, nature/animals, racial/ethnic, communities of interest, neighborhood, city, nation, planet, galaxy, and the unknown universes). 151 AnzaldÃºa is asking her audience to imagine for themselves the cavernous, unknown ways in which we may be interconnected on a communal, natural, and cosmic scale. She is intrigued and ges to analzye problems and blockages, foretell current and future events, and actively establish under explored and unknown connections 150 Ibid. p. xxx. 151 Ibid. p. 5.
82 between lived experiences and theory. 152 Moreover, I read AnzaldÃºa as importantly exploring previously unexplored connect ions that unite selves with others, our lived experiences with our theories, and the known with the unknown. Spiritual activism is the founding of an imagination that attempts to see the ways in which our psyches interacts with material reality, and from t his, we develop new ontologies of what it means to be human on our planet, expanding on previously held identity categories and formations such as race, sex, class, gender, nationality, etc. to include social justice issues, the natural environment, the g lobal community, and the planet itself. Similarly, the notion of Nepantla is foundational in reimagining the spaces in between self and world. This bridge making is the soul work that allows us to shift our consciousness and perspectives. Nepantla allows us to see things from two or more angles which can lead to a shift non ordinary worldviews. 153 Nepantla is where spiritual transformation and rebirth occur. AnzaldÃºa regularly speaks about recognizing and owning up to or taking responsibility for our subjective positions, rejecting alliance based approaches and attempts at rec onciliation. These shadows are wounds because they keep us from contemplating our global condition, the ways our individual actions contribute to that condition, and the ways to healing and positive change. She states: When we own our shadow, we allow the these events as catalysts that allow us to reframe global disasters, prompt us into remapping our priorities figuring out exactly what we believe in, what our lives mean, and what our purpose is as indiv our inner resources to help us in times of rising and falling, peace and war, compassion 154 152 Ibid. 153 Ibid. p. 28. 154 Ibid. p. 22.
83 AnzaldÃºa furthermore i llustrates the ways in which spiritual activism enacts the ability to reinterpret personal and collective events. It requires us to interweave our minds, hearts (emotions), and life forces (spirit) to actualize substantial social and lasting political chan ge. It requires that we plunge into our internal and external wounds and conflicts in order to awaken and activate the soul in order to do the work needed to establish compassion for others and global peace. It sees the spiritual realm and political sphere as closely interconnected and uses inner resources and socio political conflicts to establish lasting and peaceful change. Spiritual activism and its ontology of world or planetary citizenry is thus first and foremost a call to action because it requires better world in which we want to see and live, using conflicts and wounds as modes of transformation and substantial change. AnzaldÃºa des cribes the path to conocimiento (knowledge) and its relation to self/global transformation. In great detail, AnzaldÃºa dyfunctional state. She says: All, including th e planet and every species, are caught between cultures and bleed throughs among different worlds each with its own version of reality. We are experiencing a personal, global identity crisis in a disintegrating social order that possesses little heart and functions to oppress people by organzing them into hierarchies of commerce and power a collusion of of government, transnational industry, business, and the military, all linked by a pragmatic technology and science voracious for money and control. This sy devastating ways and justify a sliding scale of human worth used to keep human kind divided. It condones the mind theft, spirit murder, exploitation, and genocide de los otros. We are collectiv ely conditioned not to know that every comfort of our lives is acquired with the blood of conquered, subjugated, enslaved, or exterminated people, an exploitation that continues today. We are completely dependent on consumerism, the culture of the dollar, and the colossal powers that sustain our lifestyles. 155 155 Ibid. p. 119.
84 Here AnzaldÃºa unabashedly objects to western modes of existences and its oppressive and ubitquitous power structure. She acknowledges a neocolonialism which has allowed power and money to dictate all a nd be in the hands of the corrupt few such as governments, industries and corporations, and militaries. She condemns the system of money in itself and its priority, perogative of capitalistic and power hungry pursuits and control over human life, animals, and the environment. She loathes the fact that we have lost connection with a deeper sense of condition. She is livid about the inner colonialization of our minds, spi rits, and ideologies filtered entertainment, and radical individualism based upon the false expanding power of technology and commerce. She is critically attacking our curre nt western identities and identity formations, socio political systems, and modes of being that cause global exploitation, genocide, subjugation, and environmental degradation. She criticizes our individual U.S. citizens and the political stru ctures collective dependency on power, control, consumerism, which supports neocolonial and global exploitation. AnzaldÃºa is attacking the current U.S. structure and its imperial, demeaning, wasteful, and un sustainable means of production and being. Furt have valued power and money over the value and worth of human life, animals, and the environment. And in this way, she is continuing to analyze and put herself in between t he space between individual action and its collective or global consequences, and she argues that we need to spend more time contemplating and recognizing the ways our individual actions lead to global catastrophe and vice versa, often citing our individua l and collective responsibilities and neglect of those social responsibilities. Hence, AnzaldÃºa is analyzing the self, our identity formations,
85 and ontology or modes of being which lead to world exploitation and degeneration. AnzaldÃºa suggests that we need to recognize the ways we ontologically define or understand the self and how it connects with the global condition and transformation and the ways global transformation, opagate these globally oppressive systems. AnzaldÃºa continues to challenge us to break out of old mental patterns and emotional prisons and deepen our range of perception that allows us to see how our lives and actions are linked to others, contemplating t he global order. She asks us to combine inner reflection and vision the mental, emotional, instinctive, imaginal, spiritual, and subtle bodily awarenesses with social and political action and lived experience to generate subversive knowledge and action. 156 A nzaldÃºa desires that we shift our consciousness and realities and develop ethical and compassionate strategies to negotiate conflict and difference within self and others, to find common ground by forming holistic alliances. 157 To include these practices and to act on our visions and beliefs is the very process of enacting spiritual activism which can transform our culture, as internal shifts lead to external changes, and self transformation leads to global transformation. It requires that we stretch beyond p revious self , culturally imposed limits, to take responsibility for consciously co creating our lives, spaces, and worlds materially, emotionally, psychically and become fully functioning human beings and contributing members of all our communities, one worthy and capable of self respect, dignity, integrity, and love. 158 156 Ibid. p. 120. 157 Ibid. p. 123. 158 Ibid. p. 136.
86 AnzaldÃºa , however, acknowledges that the retribalizing process will be a difficult one, expanding on traditional notions of idenitity and ontological categories such as race, ethnicity, na previously conceived categories of identity such as color, class, and career and to embrace identites in terms of the global and spiritual. 159 To retribalize our i dentities to include more inclusionary ones a citizen of the world, embracing classifications on a planetary culture, break down, i.e. nos/otras, and we are allowed to reconceptionalize and reimagine new possibilities amidst the cracks and holes. 160 These amendments reinforce and require both inner and outer resources in order to cultivate positive social change and sustainable social and natural systems. The in ner/spiritual/personal dyanmic causes changes in the social/collective/material realms. 161 For AnzaldÃºa , we cannot meaningfully change either realm without actively working on both fronts, which (re)imagines how self and global transformation relate in the f irst place. World or planetary citizenry gives us a novel, imaginative, and effective means of revolution and ever lasting change and peace, attempting to establish a harmonious global community incited by self transformation. Likewise, when projects do fail due to percetpual conflict or lack of transformative power, la Nepantlera calls on the connectionist faculty which allows us the see the common ground between all things and people, reasserting objective peace, harmony, and sustainability. 162 AnzaldÃºa a sserts: 159 Ibid. p. 141. 160 Ibid. 161 Ibid. 162 Ibid. p. 148.
87 is peace, la napantalera proposes spiritual techniques before we saw only separateness, differences, and polarities, our connectionist sense of spirit recognizes nurturances and recipr ocity and encourage alliances among groups working to transform communities. In gatherings where we feel our dreams have been sucked out of us, la nepantlera leads us in celebrating la comunidad sonada, reminding us that spirit connects the irreconcilable warring parts para que todo el mundo se haga un paiz, so that the whole world may become un pueblo. 163 AnzaldÃºa alliance based activism, and peaceful global community. She i s creating a space within herself resides in our ability to establish coalition, community, togetherness, and interconnectivity. AnzaldÃºa rejects separateness, di fference, and dividedness when we attempt to transform or better our social situation. AnzaldÃºa and spiritual activism instead attempt to establish long lasting peace and social alliances, to see the world as a global community. The work of spiritual activ ism is to constantly and ever changingly be the bridge that connects all peoples and things to envision and manufacture the spaces and ways in which coalition and coming together is possible, and to make a declaration to nurture and embody a global communi ty or sexism, classism, and other forms of systemic oppression, not specializing any particular group, inching toward a more informed service toward humanity and freedom as a whole. 164 In this way, AnzaldÃºa is creating the intellectual, mental, and written space in which she sees how self affects global transformation: we, individually and collectively, must widen our service and concern for humanity at large, an d we must embody the identities and actions that align with such ideologies and practices. Such a transition entails a great self/global transformation and is 163 Ibid. p. 149. 164 Ibid. p. 154.
88 described by its interactive process with a goal of establishing positive and ever lasting social change. Moreover, AnaLouise Keating directly explores AnzaldÃºa politics which deconstructs traditional ontological categories and examines the self world transformational dyanmic and interdependence which provide the ground for powerful and positive social change. Keating states: Though most people self define by what they exclude, we define who we are by what we include what I call the new tribalism. Signficantly, AnzaldÃºa does not discount the importance of gender, ethnicity/ra ce, sexuality, ability, and other identity categories are too restrictive and cannot adequately define us. Indeed, she suggests that these identity based categories renders the conventional labelings obsolete. 165 According to Keating, AnzaldÃºa rejects conve ntional identity based politics and ontology. Anza ldÃºa advocates a new tribalism which defines itself by what it includes, i.e. the various and unpack and describe, however does not outright discount traditional ontological categories; it questions whether these categories are sufficient in themselves to define us or to substantiate positive change, growth, and justice. It analyzes the ways in which these categories o ppress, separate, subjugate, and become co opted by other larger power structures such as class or neocolonialism. Keating helps us to define and understand the new tribalism as one that inherently includes instead of excludes. The new tribalism, as Keatin g describes it, is one that attempts to build a global community because it rejects the ways traditional identity and ontological categories subordinate or subjugate others. The new tribalism is one that defines itself by what it includes, all people, all animals, and all natural environments. 165 Catalyst for Social Change." Feminist Studies 34, no. 1/2 (2008). p. 62 .
89 Furthermore, Keating and Anza ldÃºa depict their rejection of common identity based ontology through the new tribalism, and ask us, instead, to embrace and experience wider malleable ontological categories which more a ccurately help to understand and deconstruct what we mean by world or planetary ontology one that does not assume or essentially identify with any one ontological category. World or planetary ontology therefore depicts a radical inclusionary politics which requires us to be open to multiple and ever changing ontological categories only insofar as they allow us to embrace, build, and experience commonalities and alliances among all citizens, not those that limit, separate, or politically siphone themselves o ff from others or the global community in the way that traditional ontological categories often do. Anza ldÃºa and help us to clearly understand new tribalism in terms of spiritual activism . AnzaldÃºa and Keating both argue that self change and social, global transformation are AnzaldÃºa insists that self change should t of a larger process requiring both intense self 166 Thus, AnzaldÃºa recreative process, demonstrated by world citizens and planetary ontology, requires the openness to intense se lf reflection and action and to experience, share, and empathize with oneself, others, and the worlds in which we travel. Thus, self change and social transformation are both intimately interconnected. This interaction represents the new ontological possib ilities and categories that world citizens create, opening themselves up to the larger conceptual world community and global oppressive power structures. Keating also cites how nepantla, nepantleras, nos/otros, conocimiento, and spiritual activism are usef ul and 166 Ibid. p. 59.
90 powerful tools for social change, and that these theories have not received the scholarly attention they merit 167 , further supporting the notions that Anza ldÃºa and her concepts are effective means of social change and deserve more research and analysi s. Similarly, Mohammad H. Tamdgidi argues that what makes AnzaldÃºa effective is her thesis of the simultaneity of self and global transformations. 168 Tamdgidi suggests that it is AnzaldÃºa of the private and public spheres that shapes her sociological imagination and ability to construct new ontological categories and utopic visions for peaceful world community. Tamdgidi theorizes that AnzaldÃºa adopts a view of the self as both a unifying se lf determining individual and as a social relation in itself a diverse form of both self relatedness and its interactions with the world: To transform oneself from a colonized landscape of divided and ruled multiple selves into an integrated self determin ing individuality in favor of a just global society, therefore, is not only a necessary step to broader global transformation, but is an exercise in global transformation in and of itself. 169 Tamdgidi describes the ways in which AnzaldÃºa bal transformation allows us to transcend binary self/other models in order to effectuate positive social chnage. He imagines self determining individuals who then effectively instructs positive collective and global transformation and liberation. In other words, we must liberate ourselves and become integrated self determining individuals with our communities (inner) if we are to upend global inequality and liberate the world community (structural). It is therefore the construction of self as intricately i nterconnected with the world that spawns new ontological and social possbilities. Self liberation 167 See Keating, AnaLouise. "From Borderl ands and New Mestizas to Nepantlas and Nepantleras: AnzaldÃºan Theories for Social Change." Human Architecture Vol. 4 (2006): 5 16. 168 Sociological Imagination in Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza." Humanity & Society 32, no. 4 (2008). p. 311. 169 Ibid. p. 329.
91 is thus inherently bound up with a project of global justice, (re)imagining and (re)constructing a self that works toward creating a globally just and peacefu l community will recognize freedom, autonomy, independence, and self determination in the individual subject. Self transformation is thus a means of global transformation in and of itself, reconfiguring individuals to think more about their identity in ter ms of and the ways to global justice, liberation, and community. And Tamdgidi and AnzaldÃºa further describe the project of planetary or world citizens to liberate both the global community and the individual so that he or she can be self determining and f ree, attacking the global structure of space, oppression, and inequality, which precludes human subjects from exercising freedom. Moreover, we see how planetary ontology views self and global transformation as inherently linked and interconnected. Self/glo bal simultaneous transformation has the profound ability to manufacture positive social change by addressing global or collective injustice while giving agency, liberation, independence, and self determination to individuals. But we need more than just att acking or critiquing the global structures of oppression and subjugation. We need to be able to effectively (re)imagine and construct a new society capable of supporting world or planetary ontology and its aim of global and social peace and change. In a si milar vein, Tamdgidi continues by arguing that AnzaldÃºa praxis deeply depends on the notion of the simultaneity of self/global transformation and its social imagination. He indicates that this self/global dynamic involves the task of healing/transceding/bridging a vast array of habituated dualisms ingrained in our personal and global landscapes. 170 Utilizing AnzaldÃºa energizing framework, he believes that the self/global transformative model is a human right and 170 Tamdgidi, Mohammad H. "AnzaldÃºa's Sociological Imagination: Comparative Applied Insights into Utopystic and Quantal Sociology." Human Architecture Vol. 4 (2006). p. 265.
92 that we can pragmatically apply it to our Gen Ed, colleges, and universities in order to advance a new framework of human architecture which involves the sociology of self knowledge, utopystics, and methodological, theoretical, and historical practical exercises in imaginative applied sociology. 171 Furthermore, AnzaldÃºa tribalism, nos/otras, and planetary ontology, allows us to effectively (re)imagine social arrangements and orderings that support utopic and peaceful socieites and communities and pragmatically apply them to our education systems. Likewise, AnzaldÃºa recognizes how change and forms of resistant begin with the self determining individual. Maria Lugones especia lly notes the ways in which AnzaldÃºa enacts inner resistance married with collective reimaginations. Lugones expresses how AnzaldÃºa Borderlands/La Frontera allowed her to occupy an internal position of resistance, also prescribing AnzaldÃºa project a s liberatory, acknowledging the interconnection between inner and collective struggles and projects. She maintains: As I understand the liberatory project, the inner and the collective struggles are not es liberatory subjectivity. A in between of any AnzaldÃºa intimate and also and inseparable, a collective struggle. 172 Furthermore, Lugones embraces AnzaldÃºa She also acknowledges the deep interconnection between self and global transformation, both of which are needed to truly develop a new project, new culture, new so ciety. This new culture is and global liberation, justice, and transformation. Social resistance is inherently encoded in the 171 Ibid. p. 284. 172 Entremundos/Amongworlds: New Perspectives on Gloria E. AnzaldÃºa . Springer (2016). p. 97.
93 need to deconstruct and break down old oppressive ontological categories of race, ethnicity, sex, gender, class, etc. and oppressive systemic structures such as neocolonial globalization. Other theoristis also recognize and apply AnzaldÃºa world, global p roblems. Kavitha Koshy suggests that AnzaldÃºa activism that can be practically and effectively applied to transnational space, emphasizing a critical moment in transnational theoretizing. 173 She, too, in an attempt to cri tically understand transnational experience in a globalized world, presents troubles in international politics that also Eurocentric ideology in order to maintain systems of power and privliege, as Anza ldÃºa also attempt to decolonize notions of the Other and establish interdependent communities and nations . Hector Calderon recognizes the transformative power and shift in AnzaldÃºa writings from This Bridg e We Call My Back to this bridge we call home . 174 He notes the ways in which AnzaldÃºa incorporates more Mexican, indigenous, and Aztec philosophies and spiritualities, deepening our understanding of the context of commonality on cosmic terms and our connecti 175 What's more, a variety of theorists are slowly beginning to imploy and use AnzaldÃºa ideas of self/global transformation to pragmatically attack present day oppressive regimes and provide hopeful, utopic, and collaborative al ternatives for self , communal development and sustainability. These theories accept and incorporate AnzaldÃºa condition in positive and substantial ways, which is the ultima te goal of spiritual activism and 173 See Koshy, Kavitha. "Nepantlera Activism in the Transnational Moment: In Dialogue with Gloria AnzaldÃºa's Theorizing of Nepantla." Human Architecture 4 (2006): 147 161. 174 See CalderÃ³n, HÃ©ctor. "A New Connection, a New Set of Recognitions": From This Bridge Called My Back to T his Bridge We Call Home." Discourse 25, no. 1 (2003): 294 303. 175 Ibid. p. 296.
94 world or planetary ontology. These shifts and uses of AnzaldÃºa n theory provide hope in that they all incorporate social justice issues and attempt to deepen our senses of community and alliance based approaches to contempo rary and real world issues, utilizing the connection between self/global transformation. Moreover, self change is a powerful effective means of global transformation in and of itself. And this opens the door to endless possibilities of enacting a positive social change through self change, attempting first to be the change we would like to see in the world, deconstructing traditional ontological categories and reinventing new self/other/planet ontological categories which propagate inclusivity and global j ustice. Anza ldÃºa and others argue that self change leads to global change, and that we must be the change we would like to see in the world, acknowledging our global oppressive condition and creating novel ontological categories which aim at establishing d ecolonized, peaceful, and harmonious societies. Spiritual Activism Emphasizes Balance and Healing as Essential Notions in Establishing Interdependent Identity Formations and Sustainable Communities Along with the the thesis of the simultaneity of self/g lobal transformation, world or planetary ontology and citizenry attempt to establish interdependent communities and relational identity formations which will foster balanced, utopic, sustainable, and harmonious societies and communities. AnzaldÃºa suggests that balance and healing are vital components to self and global transformation. Without the process of healing, both individually and collectively, and balance, within social systems and individual health, we will not be able to construct more peaceful and interdependent communities and societies. However, balance and healing require a new epistemology and spiritual understandings. AnzaldÃºa proposes a new alternative for
95 knowledge production and spirituality, what they entail, and their effect on identit y formations and forming interdependent communities: I propose a new perspective on imaging and a new relationship to the imagination, to an awareness that we are all on a spiritual path and share a desire that society undergo metapmorphosis and words, create a new reality. When we have access to this type of expanded perceptive universe, our viewpoint, identity, and character change, and we can no longer view the world as a constant. 176 AnzaldÃºa ial systems, new awareness of interconnectivity, and new realities. This creative process is embedded in the faculty of imagination, our relationship to it, and its healing and transformative powers. She advocates that we use this imagination to transform our identities and societities and view reality as something stagnant, constant, or ontologically fixed. It changes as a consequence of our perceptions of reality, and AnzaldÃºa is searching for and counseling new perspectives which expand on and develop a new sense of self through its relationship to reality as a whole. Only when we can understand that change occurs when we challenge our fundamental understandings, worldviews, and relationship to reality can we genuinely alter it and construct new ontological realities and modes of being, i.e. world or planetary citizenry. Because of this, AnzaldÃºa sees identity as a relational web, stretching and interconnecting space and time. She sees identity as constantly in flux and interconnected by the literal spaces that comprise our lives. Identity is malleable, flexible, and ever changing. She imagines new coalitions that shatter simplistic colonialist notions of racial difference, 176 AnzaldÃºa, Gloria. Light in the Dark/Luz En Lo Oscuro: Rewriting Identity, Spirituality, Reality . p. 44 45.
96 exclusionary boundaries, and false binaries such as us/them; she asks us to move beyond externalized forms of social identity and locations such as family, race, gender, sexuality, class, religion, and nationality 177 instead she asks us to access deep experiences and abilities that can create innovative and inclusionary identities and politics. This requires that we personally and AnzaldÃºa offers us strategies for rewriting p ersonal and collective identities in order to (re)imagine new social groups and spaces, new peaceful and harmonious social arrangements and orderings. She argues: id entity but the interaction of all these aspects plus as yet unnamed features. We discover, uncover, create our identities as we interrelate with others and our 178 AnzaldÃºa demonstrates how i dentity is an active process which grows from its relational and spatial surroundings and context. It interprets and puts together the pieces given by our culture that construct our Frankenstein like identites composed of various and experientially distinc t ontological categories. And when we mistakenly view our identites as solely fragmented and separated by race, gender, sexuality, class, etc., then we limit our ability to rewrite our identities, move beyond our current oppressive social structure, and tr asncend our view of reality. In order to go beyond the current oppressive social structure, we must concoct new social paradigms which allow for collective growth. AnzaldÃºa suggests that we must move beyond restrictive cultural compenents and undertake th e transformative work needed to process and facilitate evolving social groups, becoming an inherently extending tribe. 179 This new tribalism asks us to personally negotiate alliances among the conflicted forces within the self, between 177 Ibid. p. 173. 178 Ibid. p. 75. 179 Ibid.
97 men and women, among g roups of different factions, among nation and the rest of the world. 180 These fissures and borders attempt to fragment and see oneself composed of many disparate parts. AnzaldÃºa forces us to imagine the ways in which we are both subject and object, self and other, have and have nots, conquer and conquered, oppressor and oppressed. 181 The clash between these binaries and cultural, social, political, and economic causes splits in the pysche, and leaves us in dissarray. The new tribalism, on the other hand, is abo ut being part of but never subsumed by one group or ontological category, never losing individuality to the group nor losing the group to the individual; this new tribalism is about working together to create new stories of identity and culture, to envisio n diverse, vibrant, and harmonious futures. 182 rethinking our narrative of history in order to catapult us into a new cultural story the world has never seen. In other words, it is about healing our fragmented identities, creating harmony and reco gnizing our constant balancing of various ontological categories in order to establish long term peace and healthy interdepence among peoples, societies, and natural environments. Spiritual activism, thus, asks us to imagine new ways of going through nep disorientation in order to heal and achieve wholeness, balance, and interconnection to others on the planet. 183 It demands that we plunge our hands into the hard work and mess of practical, material, political acts changing behaviours, perceptions, a nd patterns. However, we must first activate el conocimiento to acknowledge the ways in which our worldviews, affectivities, and self relations have been internally and externally colonized. This exposes the ignorance that assumes that dominant culture has the sole means of knowledge production, recognizing its limitations and oppressive power structures. In order to establish balance and interdependence, 180 Ibid. 181 Ibid. p. 79. 182 Ibid. p. 8 5. 183 Ibid. p. 90.
98 spiritual activism recognizes the individual and collective need of healing. Spiritual activism creates the spaces and times for healing to happen, which nourish our souls; meditation, prayer, artist works of creation can generate the transformative force needed to heal our fragmentations, wounds, and false notions of dualities. Similarly, AnzaldÃºa calls on needed to heal ourselves so that it may extend to others, animals, and the planet. If we, individual human subjects, are not in the process of healing and transforming, then we cannot produce the power needed to positively change our world, worldviews, and perceptions of reality. In this way, transformation, self and global healing, and space are highly interrelated. Self healing allows us to construct other forms of solidarity and balance, attempting to create wholeness within our selves which allows us to create holistic and sustainable systems embracing and mirroring the two street of self/global change. The spiritual activist is thus able to transcend this self healing and inner transformation into material and political action . They do the work of establishing soldarity and embracing vision. Let nosotras (without the slash) be el nuevo nombre de mujeres que escapan de jaulas, who struggle with and for differences, who carr 184 And how are we to survive these wounds, struggles, and confrontations? By applying what we learn to our daily activities, our relationships with ourselves, with others, with the environment, with nature. 185 Anz aldÃºa demonstrates the ways in which spiritual activists apply and practice the spiritual knowledges we receive, attempting to design a global vision that embraces and considers all. Spiritual activism challenges us to apply what we learn about the world i n order to build a 184 Ibid. p. 91. 185 Ibid.
99 prosperous environment and society for everyone and everything on the planet, ensuring no harm comes to any living and non living thing. Nepantleras also give us the ability to manifest creativity in itself. Nepantla, the symbol for th is transitional process, is the bridge between movement itself, e.g. in the culture, in the brain, etc. 186 Nepantla is the space between our conscious and unconscious, states of arshness. 187 According to AnzaldÃºa , Nepantla is the eternal liminal space that allows us to break down old binaries, to deconstruct old boundaries, traditional ontological categories, worldviews, etc. and imagine new reconfigurations and patterns. To imagine the infinite possibilities between these spaces, and to enact new modes of being in the world. Nepantlas, nos/otras, and spiritual activists are shapeshifters, constantly shifting and balancing between perspectives, cultures, worlds, and experiences in or der to transcend consciousness and other ways of living. Spiritual activists and Nepantleras must however first enact a degree of self organization, healing, and balance themselves if they are to transform our societies, communities and worlds. For example AnzaldÃºa uses her body organization. She uses her body and chronic illness as examples of how one organ affects the oth ers, attempting to view systems as both self organizing and interdependent wholes. She says: process is that change in one part of organ triggers adjustments in all o become aware that being out of control and in extreme disequilibrium prompts self about life than it is about writing; that writing mirrors the strug gles in your own life, from denial to recognition and change; that writing illumines your fears and dreams. 188 186 Ibid. p. 108. 187 Ibid. 188 Ibid. p. 115.
100 AnzaldÃºa is offering a meta analysis of illness that engages in an inner conversation with her body, her writing, and with her audience. She ackno wledges the work needed to maintain self organization and self balance, using her body as an example for how we can view larger social and natural systems. If one part of a system is dysfunctional, diseased, or chronically damaged, then the larger organiza itonal structure will suffer disequilibrium and inevitably fail. Therefore, balance is vital in maintaing any self organizing system such as the atom, the cell, the organ, the body, the social system, the ecosystem, the solar system, the galaxy, the univer se, etc. Balance is required to make any self sustaining and organizing system work. AnzaldÃºa also continues to explain and use writing as an artistic means of self organizing and returning to balance, translating the disequilibrium of life and events. Wr iting can mirrir our internal struggles for balance and maintains our emotional, psychological, and bodily lives. The writing process itself, in the way AnzaldÃºa brings to life, requires a degree of self organization and constant return to balance and whol eness if we are to change and affect change for others. Individual bodies themselves need emotional, mental, and bodily balancing if larger social, cultural, natural systems too are to function healthily and be sustainably interdependent. Another important point that AnzaldÃºa makes is that the spiritual activist must be aware of and constantly in the process of self healing, self rejuvenation, and overall self care in order to be an effective agent of social change. AnzaldÃºa states: She [nepantleras] realiz es that to make changes in society and transform the system, she must make time for her needs; the activist must survive burnout. When the self is part of the vision, a strong sense of personal meaning helps in identity and culture construction. By develop ing and maintaining spiritual beliefs and values, la nepantlera gives the group hope, purpose, identity. 189 189 Ibid.
101 AnzaldÃºa furthermore demonstrates the need for individual spiritual activists to make time for AnzaldÃºa explic itly suggests that daily living, struggles, and oppressions will wear one down and cause inner disruption, constantly evoking the C.I. process. Thus, spiritual activists must set time for themselves so they can achieve or maintain bodily, emotional, psycho logical, and spiritual balance, sustainability, and good health. The spiritual activists are able to empower themselves by connecting with their inner balance and sense of wholeness which inspires others to action. The spiritual activist is able to be lead er and source of hope, purpose, and identity precisely because one cares for the self, demonstrating a care and incorporation of healing and balance that extends to the global community. To allow oneself the material, emotional, and psychological space nee ded to heal, maintain balance, imagine, and empower oneself is pivotal to avoid complacency and ignite and sustain positive social change being an example, vessel, inspiration, and source for positive and substantial social change. Furthermore, healing and balance are essential notions in establishing spiritual activism and the ontology of planetary ontology. Healing and balance are thus inextricable ideas that help us to construct interdepentent and sustainable identity formations and communities. These ce ntral notions importantly ground the spiritual activist project of positive social and global change and help describe the new ontology of planetary or world citizenry. Healing serves to mend both individual and collective systems, making them more sustain able and balanced, allowing us to transform and move into wholeness and communities and socieities to achieve balanced interdependence. Balance must be understood both within individuals, such as emotional, psychological, and bodily health and within large r social and natural systems, necessitating a healthy cooperation between peoples, socieities, natural environments, and
102 denouncing exploitative, neocolonialized, and unbalanced forms of commerce, production, agriculture, and resource distribution. World o r planetary citizenry depict the goals and aims of spiritual actvisits to cultivate a positive social change by expanding on traditional identity categories and imagining novel ontological possibilities and categories that support and sustain world peace a nd positive social transformation grounded upon constant balancing and healing.
103 CHAPTER FIVE: CONCLUSION I have attempted to highlight the underlying and un(der) explored and un(der) developed themes and concepts within AnzaldÃºa writings which articulately depict and describe the concept of spiritual activism in new scholarly and philosophically interesting ways. I have argued that in analyzing these themes in AnzaldÃºa we can uncover her epistemology, ethics, and ontology which ca n lead to positive, substantial, and ever lasting social change and that her spiritual activism is a call to embrace her epistemology, ethics, and ontology in order to incite action and transformation in others. I have argued that each of these themes or c hapters plays an important role in enabling that positive social change. I have also attempted to bring to light how spirituality and spiritual activism are central themes in AnzaldÃºa thinking, hoping to fill the intellectual and c onceptual gaps in the secondary work and scholarship done on Anza ldÃºa , particularly in her later writings. I have used AnzaldÃºa both as an exemplar of spiritual activism and as arguing for its theoretical structure by analyzing her writing, arguments, and personal experiences, particularly in her final work, Luz en lo Ocuro (Light in the Dark) . problems by incorporating the neurocardiolog y and new means of agriculture in permaculture methodology, both of which are ideas AnzaldÃºa does not directly address or discuss. Instead, I have attempted to employ spiritual activism to these phenomena because I believe they fall in line with the theore tical tenets of spiritual activism and because they help us to unpack the powerful ways spiritual activism leads to positive, substantial, and ever lasting social change. I have employed spiritual activism and its theoretical implications in an attempt to better understand the ways we have been culturally, geographically,
104 economically, emotionally, and psychically constructed and systematically oppressed. This recognition allows us to analyze the oppressive structure in our current neocolonial globalized si tuation. This recognition also allows us to transcend new categories of self/global identities which address the problems of the epistemic injustice of spirituality in AnzaldÃºa n scholarship and neocolonial globalization. Using spiritual activism as my theo retical nexus, I hoped to develop a basic framework that adduces AnzaldÃºa other working concepts in or der to conduct qualitative research because they adequately address the intersectionality of our current global problems and needs. More specifically, I have illustrated the ways in which AnzaldÃºa activism gives us a new epistemology of the heart, ethics of the environment, and ontology of what she calls world or planetary citizenry. 190 epitomizes spiritual activism dictum in that in order to change the world, we must first change ourselves. It attempts to establish a holistic framework in which we can see the social, political, cultural, psychical, emotional, etc. as inherently spiritual and interwoven problems that are intimately tied to one another. In hoping to illuminate, build upon, and apply this rich theoretical framework, I have also argued that spiritual activism allows us to synthesiz e a new epistemological ethical ontological matrix that integrates self tr ansformation with global transformation in order to create positive, substantial, and ever lasting social change. I have, more specifically, shown how spiritual activism constructs a new epistemo logical ethical ontological worldview in three ways: activism gives us a new epistemology of the heart by describing: (i ) the emotional heart and (ii ) the energetic /spiritual heart . Because A nzaldÃºa acknowledges the problem of epistemic injustice 190 Ibid. p. 117 .
105 in the form of emotional and spiritual oppression stemming from w estern academia and western modes of thinking , she and her spiritual activism recognize a radical need for a different kind of epistemology. ance in western ideology and academia has understood spirituality, emotionality, and personal history as distinct and inferior ways of knowing in contrast to the pure abstraction of intellectual and scientific reasoning . And this chapter goes through a tho rough investigation of what AnzaldÃºa means when she says that our heart possesses its own intelligence or intellect, as I attempted to unpack and distinguish the various, multi faceted ways she uses and theorizes heart. Avoiding emotionality and affectivi ty in theorizing represses ways in which we can know , act, and relate to the world . Spirituality and change in this way requires both intellectual, intuitive, and emotional intelligence and the openness to emotionality, others, the world (the emotional hea rt). Similarly, AnzaldÃºa acknowledges the spiritual or energetic dimension of the heart and its ability to reach and link to others. I have suggested that AnzaldÃºa would agree with and incorporate new scientific understandings of the heart and its bioelect romagnetic field which hypothesizes that it may play a more vital role in relaying information and for accessing other deeper ways of sensing, intuiting, knowing, and communicating (the energetic/spiritual heart). In this way, the heart provides a powerful heuristic for deepening our understanding, abilities, and potentialities for the heart and its ways of knowing and instantiating empathetic connection. The heart and its epistemology is also found to play a more pivotal role in healing, and is thus founda tional in our discussion of the spiritual activist and transformation. This openness to emotionality and experience themselves is an essential component to theoriz ing and self transformation according to AnzaldÃºa and thus salient in the ways in which we u nderstand her spirituality and un(der) explored and un(der) developed themes surrounding a
106 new heart epistemology. My goal has thus been to make AnzaldÃºa as well as the environmental and planetary citizenship more explicit, robust, and apparent to her ability for acquiring new knowledge that enables positive transformation. While being far from conclusive, I hope this thesis outlines and pr ovides a basic analysis and understanding of AnzaldÃºa faceted, and multi functional and has thus far been overlooked in the secondary scholarhisp on AnzaldÃºa . Secondly, AnzaldÃºa implicitly gives us a new ethic of the natur al environment because it recognizes (i) the current oppressive and neocolonial global structure of space in which we live and (ii) permaculture ideologi es and practices as a means of healing and attaining sustainability. AnzaldÃºa recognized an increasingly neocolonialized world which propagat es environmental degradation , resource inequality , and economic dependency and exploitation. These modes of domesti c and international relations diminish the possibility of self/communal liberation, radically inclusionary politics , and ecological , environmental, and agricultural sustainability. These modes of un sustainable agriculture, I have argued, leads spiritual a ctivists to implicitly advocate for permaculture methodologies and ideologies. That is, AnzaldÃºa natural environment lead us to embrace and utilize permaculture ideology and practice , and thus it is a theoretical implication and applicati on of her work which I explicitly make and argue for. Like the new heart science, AnzaldÃºa does not directly cite permaculture agriculture or its implications. Rather, I am drawing this theoretical conclusion from spiritual activism and AnzaldÃºa works , believing a permaculture ideology and practice a means of setting up agriculturally sustainable and permanent natural systems results from analyzing AnzaldÃºa
107 theories concerning nature, space, spirituality, and identity. Thus, I again hoped to make AnzaldÃºa distinct by critically applying them to our agricultural systems. Upon doing so, a permaculture methodology and practice helps to understand and develop spiritual a ctivism by giving us a concrete example, alternative, and critical application. I also wish to underscore its salience and role in the overall goal of spiritual activism and establishing positive social change. Lastly, spiritual activism has given us a new ontology of planetary or world citizenry by highligh ting the interrelationship between (i ) se lf and global transformation and (ii ) balance and healing in establishing interdependent identity forma tions and sustainable communities . AnzaldÃºa has foreseen the neocolonial and capitalistic geopolitical system as the internal colonization of our bodies, minds, spirits, and hearts. Neocolonial global structures have also stunted the psychic, emotional, an d spiritual growth of humanity at large, exacerbating social inj ustices between First World and Third World countries and causing grave environmental degradation and exploitation. In order to combat these injustices, s piritual activism offers an integrated framework for ( r e)imagining self identity with collective and global identities i n what she calls a world or planetary citizen, or citizen of the universe. 191 Her work, furthermore, depicts a vital need for re conceptualizing self/global identities, which v iews self transformation as a means of and intimately linked with political activism and global transformation. These new modes of beings challenge the underlying global structure of social injustices such as the epistemic injustice concerning spirituality , growing environmental degrada tion and exploitation, and neocolonial globalization in order to manifest positive social change for the 191 See Keating, AnaLouise. " I'm a Citizen of the Universe": Gloria AnzaldÃºa's Spiritual Activism as Catalyst for Social Change." Feminist Studies 34, no. 1/2 (2008): 53 69.
108 world at large. World or planetary citizenry posits a metaphysic of interconnectedness in which one views him or her se lf as intimately interconnected with others, animals, the natural environment, and the planet itself. And this (re)conceived idea of the self addresses the current oppressive structure of individual or self identity and our problems today e.g. western ide ntity formations that see the individual as metaphysically disconnected from others, animals, the environment, and the planet itself. Balance and healing are also essential notions in establishing new individual and collective identity formations which foc us on finding a commonality for all, prompting us to heal and find balance within ourselves if interdependent and sustainable communities and societies are to form and properly function. Furthermore, spiritual activism provides an epistemological ethical ontological matrix, which I have argued, has the power to substantially transform our identities, cultures, and social systems. We can transform our identities, cultures, and social systems if we reorganize our self identities to act and feel as if we are metaphysically and spiritually interconnected, decolonializing western identity formations and socio political systems. This perceptual change within each individual will see to it that we reconfigure our lives so that no harms comes to others, for they ar e us, and we are them, if we contemplate, enact, and embody a global and humanitarian project which attempts to create a more metaphysically connected, harmonious, balanced, peaceful, and utopic world community. And I have suggested that these under explor ed and under developed themes lying beneath AnzaldÃºa later corpus of works provides the groundwork for manifesting ever lasting, positive social change. This thesis is a testament to Anza ldÃºa style and to ne. As Linda Martin Alcoff notes, AnzaldÃºa works invites us to reach beyond the usual conventions of academic writing, to make visible the relations between self and world,
109 feeling and thinking, personal experience and theory. 192 The goal of theory for Anzal dÃºa is revolution and radical social transformation, and that its reflection is only useful insofar that it leads to the disruption of everyday life in the current climate of globalization and oppression. 193 Likewise, as Chela Sandoval phrased it, AnzaldÃºa i future transformations were bold and always already present in her own theory and practice of consciousness. 194 Long time friend Emma Perez echoes these sentiments when she suggests that unassuming philosopher 195 In addition, a long and edi tor of AnzaldÃºa advises that we seriously (re)consider AnzaldÃºa action in the 21 st century and that we ought to continue to study and build u pon her work. This one idea of spiritual activism has inspired and given me the freedom and flexibility to excavate, analyze, and build upon AnzaldÃºa better our social condition, realities, and li ves. This thesis has followed from Keating passionate remarks in which she gives me the fortitude to use and build upon AnzaldÃºa transformative and powerful ideas: I hope that this material [Light in the Dark] will enable scholars to retrac e AnzaldÃºa thinking, develop rich analyses and interpretations of AnzaldÃºa ways build on her work creating new AnzaldÃºa AnzaldÃºa potential contributions to twenty first century philosophical thought because I 192 Alcoff, Linda MartÃn. "The Unassimilated Theorist." PMLA 121, no. 1 (2006). p. 255. 193 Ibid. p. 259. 194 Koegeler Abdi, Martina. "Shifting Subjectivities: Mestizas, Nepantleras, and Gloria MELUS 38, no. 2 (2013). p. 71. 195 PÃ©rez, Emma. "Gloria AnzaldÃºa: La Gran Nueva Mestiza Theorist, Writer, Activist Scholar." NWSA Journal 17, no. 2 (2005). p. 9. This is also a reference and supports the ways in which AnzaldÃºa incorporates Ancient, indigenous philosopies.
110 believe that her outsider status leads many scholars to ignore this dimension of her work. 196 have been underappreciated and too often ignored. 197 And it is my h ope and goal of this thesis to do exactly this: to keep AnzaldÃºa develop her work in order to help further create a positive change of which she passionately advocated for throughout her li fe. Keating powerfully reminds us of AnzaldÃºa conventional categories of idenities such as race, color, class, career to and in more global spiritual terms, as she reveres AnzaldÃºa How will readers answer AnzaldÃºa and open connections will we make between these identity related expansions and the ontological decolonialization on which they ar e based? Light in the Dark/Luz en lo Oscuro Rewriting Identity, Spirituality, Reality invites us to consider these questions and many others. This book broadens AnzaldÃºa n scholarship and shifts conversations in new directions, demonstrating that AnzaldÃºa i s a provocative philosopher of the highest caliber, weaving together mexicana, Chicana, indigenous, feminist, queer, tejana, and esoteric theories and perspectives in ground breaking ways. 198 Anzal dÃºa decolonial liberation and global peace and harmony, as well as philosophically and critically develop the core of some important notions which support these goals, to uncover un(der) explored and un(der) developed themes and concept s and build upon insights that have been overlooked and underdeveloped in the secondary literature on AnzaldÃºa pragamatically help better our lives and world in the 21 st century. AnzaldÃºa convincingly describes the art and act of spiritua l activism and the greater duty we who are privileged individuals in the U.S. and in the western, developed world have to 196 AnzaldÃºa, Glori a. Light in the Dark/Luz En Lo Oscuro . p. xxviii. 197 Ibid. p. xxix. 198 Ibid. p. xxxvii.
111 conocimiento motivates you to do work actively t o see that no harm comes to people, animals, ocean to take up spiritual activism and the work of healing. Te entregas a tu promesa to help 199 This declaration attempts to decolonize western stories of patriarchy, hierarchical control, fear and hatred of women and people of color, domination over nature, the false expanding power of science and technology, unsustainable commerce, hyper consumerism, and excessive individualism to denounce old destruct ive powers of living, and provide new narratives that embody new possibilities, to recognize that the body is rooted in the earth like the cell is to the body, that our cultures are like the organs of the earth needing to work together to properly function , that our experiences are shared among all people and habitats like our flowing life giving blood, that spirit, feeling, body, and nature collectively create a larger identity and ontological category a category that attempts to work with all people, anim als, the environment, and the Earth itself, i.e. a world or planetary citizen. This new epistemology of the heart, ethic of the environment, and ontology of world or planetary citizenry depicted by spiritual activism gives us the theoretical tools needed t o AnzaldÃºa gives me hope and inspiration knowing that she fought for justice and nature with her pen her symbol for intellect, body, heart, and spirit. Spiritual activism gives me the lan guage and framework needed to more comprehensively and passionately articulate why I believe my actions make a difference and why I believe that I must first embody the change I wish to see in the world. Given this outline, I have better understood and giv en a new impetus and meaning to my activism: my 199 Ibid. p. 138.
112 veganism, my minimalism, my growing education, and my belief in social justice. And it is with this hope, and the ultimate aim of this thesis, that this new theoretical apparatus with allow others to powerful ly inspect, theorize, and articulate their interconnected philosophies, beliefs, and acts of social resistance against global oppressive power structures. Spiritual activism furthermore gives me the drive and inspiration needed to believe that one day huma nity will learn to love, honor, respect, and harmoniously live with all living things, including all peoples, all animals, all organisms, all ecosystems and the Earth itself. But we must start now. Activate spirit. Transform yourself. Transform the world.
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