Lucy Weir, PhD
I was always interested in philosophy, and what it means to live a good life. I was also interested in how we deal with our relationships, with ourselves, and with other humans. And with the more than human world. I believe that the vast majority of things that happen to us do so by chance. I was lucky to grow up in the beautiful Highlands of Scotland. We were relatively wealthy and we had access to some of the most stunningly lovely landscapes on the planet. My dad was really concerned about tourism, though. Through him, I learned that we needed to balance human and more than human concerns.
By chance, I had a more difficult childhood than my circumstances suggested. At around 15, again by accident, I stumbled upon yoga. It didn’t change my life, or at least not obviously, but it probably kept me alive through many years of struggle and self destruction.
I lived in several countries as a young woman, mainly in the global South, where I worked as a volunteer with forced migrants and other marginalised people. I came back to the UK and chanced to meet and then work with Professor Barbara Harrell-Bond.
My point is that these chance encounters and experiences really shaped me. In turn, this let me realise that I am not entitled to my experiences, good or bad. They happen to me. If I am lucky, I also get access to some techniques to cope that work. Yoga and meditation, running, art, music and writing, all helped me.Â
Things happen randomly, but if you can refocus again and again on the attitude that really helps, then you have an opportunity to reset your experience.
Later, in my 40s, I researched and wrote a PhD thesis in Environmental Philosophy. From that point on, something came to the surface for me. A deep ambition to write and teach, to articulate what I now understood, grew in me.
Is that just chance too? I honestly don’t know. You grow in a particular direction and options open. You can revisit how you view your experience at any stage, of course, and, by doing so, it’s possible that you reset things…
I’ve now written three books, one as editor and contributor. You can find the first here: https://vernonpress.com/book/442. My second book, Urgent Matters: philosophy as practice in the ecological emergencyÂ is due for publication in the next few weeks. My third manuscript is on Yoga and Philosophy. I’m still playing around with a title.Â NowHere: yoga and philosophy to practice in the ecological emergency.Â
I’m a non-dualist. That’s an odd position to take. I also don’t believe in free will in the way most people do. I think that ‘good’ is applicable to more than the human world. And I think it’s possible to elicit an attitude, and that the most useful attitude to elicit is one of compassion (by which I also mean love, kindness, joy, and equanimity, or peace).Â
Things are much stranger and more unexpected than they seem. Being curious helps. Being open to the possibility that we might learn to connect enough to do some good keeps me going.