A new way of thinking about bees

By Vee Noble, December 2012

The sudden disappearance of bee colonies in colony collapse disorder (CCD) is a phenomenon with the potential to cause disaster. A significant part of the world’s food production is dependent on pollination by bees. In his new book Global Hive – Bee Crisis and Compassionate Ecology the Australian author Horst Kornberger urges us to think in a new way about the possible causes of CCD.

“This was a book that needed to be written and because no author took it up, it chose me”, explains Horst Kornberger, and he goes on to say,” I’m not an expert on bees and yet have written on their collapse. Perhaps it was this lack of expertise that allowed me to see the obvious in the maze of facts.”

Kornberger is an “interdisciplinary artist and researcher in the realm of creativity and imagination” whose work focuses on developing imagination in writers, teachers, cultural creatives as well as organisations. Surprisingly it was this work that allowed him to shed new light on the bee crisis. Einstein’s famous quote that the problems cannot be solved by the mindset that created them may apply here; with a background as a cross-sector artist and creativity coach, Kornberger was equipped with a perspective other than the one usually applied – his relation to bees began through artistic engagement.

Inspired by the artist and anthroposophist Joseph Beuys, he first worked with honey as an artistic medium in search of new icons for the environmental age. Beuys had used honey, wax, fat, felt and copper as metaphors for social transformation while Kornberger’s work led him to creations like Honeyclock, and Buddha in Honey – a series of visual meditations on “compassionate ecology”. These, together with The Bee Master, a contemporary festival drama written by Jennifer Kornberger, were part of the initial momentum for this book.

It was during this work that Kornberger came across Rudolf Steiner’s bee lectures from 1923 that had influenced much of Beuys’ work, particularly his social vision. The same pages that sparked Beuys’ social sculpture opened a door for Kornberger to what he describes as “a new compassionate ecology”.

 “What I read fuelled my passion for bees,” says Kornberger and he went on to share a little of his book. “This passion fused with my interest in understanding paradigms: the way they come into being, establish themselves and claim more and more minds until they rule with singular power over decades, centuries and sometimes millennia. The lectures shed light on bees and paradigms simultaneously. They spoke of interconnectedness, wholeness and of ways to learn from the future before it becomes a mistaken past. In those pages Steiner courageously predicts colony collapse.”

Though much of Steiner’s lecture cycle will appear arcane to those unfamiliar with his work, Kornberger adds, his basic insights about bees and why they will disappear are perfectly intelligible to common sense as well as to compassionate sensitivities we all already have, but little apply.

“In Global Hive I explore the reasons behind the bee crisis and suggest a new way of thinking about it. My aim is not to discredit current trends of thought, but to establish communication between different ways of seeing the world. I believe that the gap that separates these ways of seeing is the same into which species after species disappear.

“Ultimately Global Hive is a book about paradigm change, new ways of seeing the world and the construction of a sustainable future. Writing about bees has reinforced my belief that the development of profound imagination is key to overcoming our social, economic and environmental crisis.”

And he concludes: “Today the word ‘imagination’ is much bandied about, but little understood. There is very little in the way of a secure training that spans the social, artistic and scientific dimension of the imagination. Perceiving this lack, my wife Jennifer and I have founded the Imaginal Literacy Programme. We have focused for many years on developing processes that grow the imagination in individuals and groups in a regulated manner. Our new Imaginal Literacy programme makes this work available worldwide.”

Horst Kornberger is the author of The Power of Stories, The Writer’s Passage and Global Hive. The Imaginal Literacy programme – developing profound imagination is available as a five-day intensive in Bali in 2013 and worldwide on request.

Global Hive – Bee Crisis and Compassionate Ecology, Paperback: 172 pages, Integral Arts Press, Hamilton Hill 2012,  ISBN-10: 0980293138, ISBN-13: 978-0980293135.

For more information visit www.creativityconsultantsworldwide.com and www.thewritingconnection.com.au or email horstkornberger(at)gmail.com

Source: NNA

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