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Edge Walker, Systems Weaver, Land Connector

Responsibility and Connection
in an Age of Isolation
About

ABOUT 

Dr. Christy Caudill is an Earth, Space and Systems Scientist, committed to meeting the challenges of climate change, environmental justice for humans, and justice and equity for the non-human world. She works at the intersection of digital technologies and embodied decolonization.

RESEARCH INTERESTS

Cybernetics and Cybercartography; geospatial and semantic web ontologies; ethics and logistics of knowledge co-development; researching the dynamics at play in socio-technological and socio-ecological systems, and integration their different dimensions.

AFFILIATIONS

Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Geomatics and Cartographic Research Centre (GCRC), Carleton University 
Sustainability Studies Graduate Program Adjunct Professor and Lecturer, Trent University
Research Scientist and CSA ROSS Recipient, Western University
UN-GGIM Academic Network, Advisory Board Member

WRITING TOPICS

Voice of the land, the non-human; kinship between humans and the natural world; exploration of nature kinship cultures for guidance in a process of western self-decolonisation; perspectives and practices of kinship dialogues in which western thinking and systems must under- go radical change

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 A  Lived Philosophy of My Work
What is Embodied Decolonization?

I'm a scientist at heart. A skeptic, but a curious and open one. A philosopher. One who deeply considers the complexities of experience, of what it means to be a part of life. Even as a child, I felt this unnamed wildness, seeing as if through animal eyes, feeling at home, safe, perched quietly in the high branches of the pine tree in my beloved grandparent's yard. That pine tree was never trimmed, and its long, low, sweeping branches hugged the ground. Navigating though its burrows to find the climbable limbs were like entering a secret, sacred, serene portal. I still dream about that tree and the hilly yard where I would lay for hours puzzling about the quarter moon and her faint companions in the sky. That tree lives on, like my grandparents, in my dreams.

As a scientist and Systems Thinker, I work in the complexities of science, society, and collective consciousness. I work to transform the ways we consider and practice modern science as, itself, a practice in decolonization that mirrors my own journey of decolonizing my mind. In the words of Simone Weil, this is choosing lucidity over ideology.

I am a scientist at heart, but after walking through the unsparing fires of self-realization, it became crystal clear to me that the "truth" was less a set of fixed and knowable variables, and more of a pathless land that each must walk. Our ancestors—for me, my Irish Celtic ancestors—have provided us each with our own unique sensibilities and capacities by which we honor their wisdom and carry that forward to meet our current times. When I saw myself clearly for the first time (in my mid-thirties), I also saw what it was to live with great joy and gratitude. I lived with an immersive sense of belonging and connection that I hadn't before known was possible. This sense of belonging came with a sense of inherent responsibility to the rest of life, and the natural systems that give that life. There is no doubt that my personal and professional journeys mirror each other, as everything is interconnected. I know and see my work clearly because I have navigated the pathless land of my own First Principles—a personal, lived philosophy developed solely with the land during times of 'hermitting' and learned awareness.

A stark career pivot from Space Sciences found me bringing my deeply rooted childhood sensitivities into a keen perceptive sense, like the acutely aware, prowling mountain lions that have long since vanished from my childhood territory—my path was to action science for the environment, to be a voice for the land, to support peoples who have retained the cultural values that center life, and our responsibility to it, above all else.   

This is being an Edge Walker. I sit in the disillusionment of being a part of these modern systems, choosing to grapple with the cognitive dissonance with eyes wide open, refusing to turn away from the impoverishment (of nature and the human spirit) on which modern structures depend. I have chosen to participate in these systems to support others on this journey of drawing from different sources of power, re-learning to listen to the land and honor our inherent responsibility to life.

I wonder if you've ever felt the disillusionment I have. The sort of heart-breaking, soul-crushing resignation of being caught in systems that you feel powerless to positively influence. That you simply can't go on as though the way of things is normal, natural, and okay, but there are no other options.

 

I wonder if you've ever, truly, become lost. I wonder if you have ever become so lost, that you actually come to find a new path. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Truth is sought for itself; and in seeking that which is sought for itself one is only concerned to find it… The seeker after the truth… is not he who studies the writings of the ancients and… puts his trust in them, but rather the one who suspects his faith in them and questions what he gathers from them, the one who submits to argument and demonstration, and not to the sayings of a human being whose nature is fraught with all kinds of imperfection and deficiency.

 

It is thus the duty of the man who studies the writings of scientists, if learning the truth is his goal, to make himself an enemy of all that he reads, and, applying his mind to the core and margins of its content, attack it from every side. He should also suspect himself as he performs his critical examination of it, so that he may avoid falling into either prejudice or leniency. If he follows this path, the truths will be revealed to him, and whatever shortcomings or uncertainties may exist in the discourse of those who came before him will become manifest. 

Ḥasan Ibn al-Haytham (c. 965–c. 1040), known as Alhazen (as translated by the late Harvard scholar Abdelhamid Ibrahim Sabra)

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