Existential Resilience Collaboration Initiative (ERiCi)
Contemplation - Aesthetics - Compassion
The Existential Resilience Collaboration Initiative ERiCi explores the role of contemplation, aesthetics and compassion to counter stress, fragmentation and the loss of meaning that underlie today’s societal crises.
Human beings carry within them the ability, developed through evolution, to find meaning in existence. Its core is their experience and understanding of themselves as part of larger communities, human as well as spiritual and planetary. Today, when sick-leave due to stress is on the rise, and crises, from war to ecological collapse threaten the foundation of society, our inner power to create and feel meaningfulness in life is more crucial than ever! This relates not only for coping with stress and threats, but also to collaboratively find solutions to their underlying causes.
Contemplation – to raise our gaze above purely instrumental concerns; Aesthetics – to see and care for beauty in what exists around us; and Compassion – to bond with others and the more-than-human world, are three paths to meaning-making, which can free individuals from self-encapsulation, make them see their role and agency, and ignite the urge to take responsibility for supporting sustainability across individual, collective, and system levels.
Against this background, ERiCi explores these intertwined paths with a special focus on integrating them in education and professional practice across different sectors and levels in society. For more information, see the initiative's institutional website at Lund University and a recent article about ERiCi here.
Coordination and Collaboration
Cooperation partners include around 20 organisations from different fields, with a focus on healthcare, arts, education, and sustainability.
ERiCi is jointly coordinated by Martin Garwicz (Director of the Centre for Medical Humanities), Max Liljefors (Professor of Art History and Visual studies), and Christine Wamsler (Professor of Sustainability Science at LUCSUS).
During the kick-off event, Professor Wamsler stated: 'In the field of sustainability science, we are increasingly understanding that sustai-nability crises are a reflection of an inner, human crisis. They manifest in our daily lives, where we are increasingly exhausting and exploiting ourselves, others and the planet. My daily driver and motivation for working in this project, is my hope to contribute to a more caring, healthy, and sustainable society.'
(workshops, seminars and study visits)
ERiCi involves a range of different activities, including interactive workshops, reflection seminars and study visits.
One of the activities conducted during 2023 is a workshop on contemplation and compassion for existential resilience from the perspective of guests from the Plum Village Monastery founded by Thích Nhât Hanh. The aims of the workshop are: i) To experience and discuss the role of contemplation and compassion in supporting existential resilience and sustainability; and ii) To discuss measures for integrating contemplation and compassion into different sector education and practice for supporting resilience and sustainability across individual, collective and global levels. This includes the integration of related practices and other measures aimed at challenging unsustainable systems and structures.
Another activity during 2023 will be a workshop led by the National Center for Art and Mental Health in Denmark.