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This article is Part Two of an article that describes the history of a funded Mother Earth sensory science, the Webstring Natural Attraction Model. It presents the roots of an organic psychology tool that helps us improve health wellness and counseling by enabling our thinking and feeling to safely tap into the nature's grace, balance and restorative powers. The Model helps its participants benefit from and strengthen their inborn love of nature as they master alternative therapist coaching, stress release management and holistic spiritual psychology. 


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Continued from Part One

A History of the Webstring Natural Attraction Model:

The Web of Life, Well Being and our Prejudice Against Nature

Janet Thomas
Michael J. Cohen

From thoughtful sensory experiences with nature throughout his life, Michael J. Cohen and his workers successfully developed a rational, environmentally sound, education counseling and healing program that increased that strengened the health of person and planet. The acceptance, longevity and success of its Webstring Attraction Ecology (WAE) programs spoke to their value.  His method for reaching his goal was to teach participants a nature-connected therapeutic learning and relationship-building tool, the Webstring Natural Attraction Model.  The Model acts like the award-winning house plan of an expert architect. It is designed to help us construct an extraordinary personal home, within and around us, by building mutually supportive relationships with our planet home.

As Cohen developed the Webstring Model it became apparent that a challenging duality existed within and between industrial thinking and the process used by the web of life to maintain its perfection in and around humanity.  He reduced this duality to a revealing metaphorical equation: 5 + 3 = ?  The correct answer in Industrial Society was 8 (pronounced eight) while the web of life had two answers, one could be 11 (pronounced eleven) and the other was ^^^ (pronounced dow).

 The difference between the web of life and Industrial Society was that the latter had been indoctrinated to measure the world mathematically using digits organized around base 10 because “digits” were originally fingers. They were convenient for counting and humanity had ten of them.  However, in Cohen's metaphor, the web of life might never consent to count with fingers since a vast majority of its members did not even have any.  If the web was to count, it might count with base 4 since most vertebrates had four legs, making the correct answer to the equation “11,” or the answer could be anything else depending upon the base that the web of life decided to use in the calculation.  

 Cohen recognized that to count correctly for all concerned, the web of life would have to use base ^^^, this being a number that is unknown in industrial society or anywhere else.  This number would precede the numbers “zero” and “one.”  Dow represented that nothing in nature could be correctly symbolized or digitalized because nature continually flowed and changed.  Symbols, like "one" that were accurate for one moment would be obsolete in the next moment.  For this reason, there was no such thing as "one" other than the moment.  In addition, the number zero did not exist in nature because few, if any, places in nature consisted of nothing.  This was because Webstring attractions were present everywhere in the web of life and they were something.  Furthermore, since the web consisted of attractions, negative numbers could not represent nature because webstring attractions were positives. There were no negatives in nature, everything belonged and supported the web as it supported them. For example, there was no such thing as a "not-rock." It took the human reason and stories to describe things surrounding a rock as "not-rock." There was only the rock and its community of moss, lichens, grass and weeds. And then, there was no such thing as weeds, either. “Weeds” was a prejudicial, negative value judgment story about certain plants. In fact, there was no such thing as facts based on standard conditions of temperature and pressure for the river of life changed, flowed and fluctuated. You could not step twice in the same river; no two snowflakes were identical. What there was throughout, however, was the flow of webstring attraction expressing itself as different things, including people. This made all things equal. Perhaps the flow of webstrings was the number ^^^.  Maybe the constant expression of natural attraction was "one."  

Cohen reasoned that if industrial society did not engage in webstring-connection activities, its thinking would not be able to find the truths it needed to get out it of the rut it was in.  He realized that this quirk included his thought processes. He was born in, raised and trained by industrial society.  His and society's salvation, appeared to hinge on the Natural Attraction Ecology of his webstring model because it worked with natural webstring attractions that society and the web of life held in common.

In time, Cohen realized that a serendipity of formative experiences had helped him organically develop the webstring model and had contributed to his nature-connecting antidote for many disorders that resulted from industrial society's deterioration of webstrings and their powers.  Since he was the author of his unique variation of the Webstring Model and its contributions, it made sense for him to review his life and identify his experiences with respect to solving our most challenging problem and increasing person and planet well being. Perhaps his experiences, once identified, could provide empirical evidence for the model as well as contribute new ways to reverse the problem of the at-risk health and safety of people and the web of life.  With this in mind, Cohen executed a plan to look at the history of the Model from its inception with respect to the major problem it addressed. To be systematically logical, he would:

1. Recognize the problem
2. Define the problem
3. Look at potential causes for the problem
4. Gather data relative to the problem
5. List possible solutions to the problem
6. Select an approach to resolve the problem
7. Test possible solutions to the problem
8. Select the best solution to the problem
9. Implement the problem-solution
10. Verify if the problem has been resolved or not

Recognize the problem

As was his habit, Cohen took a walk through a local natural area and asked its consent to help him recognize the underlying problem that produced Industrial Society's need to increase well being.  He returned from the walk with words that conveyed our greatest challenge.

"The Webstring Model and Bewilderment: How can industrial society find a solution to its greatest problem when it has not identified that problem?"

Cohen realized that it was not the walk alone that produced this topic. It was also what he brought to the walk that made a contribution.  He recognized that although it omitted webstrings directly, his education in Biology and Ecology at the University of California, Berkeley, and a wide range of studies at Columbia University Teachers College Graduate School gave him the ability to critically evaluate experiences in his life that led to the Webstring Model: 

Advanced training through the work of Kenneth Herald, S. R. Slavson, Alexander Wolf, George Bach and Goodwin Watson had strengthened his skills in Group Development and Therapy.  Similarly, he had learned Natural Science and Education from Paul Brandwein, Willard Jacobson, S. R. Powers and Roma Ganz.  

Raymond Patouillet, Virginia Axline and Valentine Zetlin had nurtured his Guidance and Counseling abilities and Ernest “Lank” Osborn trained him in Family Therapy and Organized Camping, Lyman Bryson in Education and Anthropology.

These Ph.D. Group Development, Natural Science and Psychotherapy experts, along with many others, helped Cohen become sensitive to the seemingly unrecognized natural and social relationships shared by these disciplines, relationships that were the academic heart of the Webstring Model. He recognized that his expertise was further enhanced by his membership in the American Group Psychotherapy Association, The North American Association for Environmental Education and The Association for Experiential Education.

Define the problem

To define the problem, Cohen located three major conditions that, in concert, helped him identify what was deteriorating the quality of life in Industrial society as well as nature's web of life.

Problem Definition Condition #1: Utopian Community

The first factor that helped him identify the unrecognized problem was utopian community development as practiced in Cohen's early childhood in a progressive family, community and pre-school educational system. He was born and raised in America's first planned utopian garden community, Sunnyside Gardens, in Queens, N.Y., presently a national landmark. Louis Mumford and Eleanor Roosevelt, amongst other notables, envisioned Sunnyside in 1924. It arose from their observation that those who are too far removed from nature risk losing their humanity. In Sunnyside, 15 minutes from the roar of downtown Manhattan, were built two story homes with yards, front and back. These units surrounded a lush, large natural courtyard common area. A rustic park and playground was just down the street.

Cohen recognized that it was a thoughtful decision by his parents to live in the natural attractions of Sunnyside considering that his father always thought critically; he was pre-med Cum Laude CCNY as well as Phi Beta Kappa and Cohen's mother had a black belt in speaking her mind.  They were first generation Americans who were brought up and met in the Madison and Henry Street Settlement houses in New York City and attended Camp Madison during the summers. Many of his parents' close settlement house friends lived within a few blocks of them in Sunnyside. Weekly Folk and Contra dancing helped their little sub-community stay close and intact in fun, sub-cultural ways.

In Sunnyside, Cohen could see that what counted most in his socialization was not necessarily “the rules” but rather what “made sense” or increased well-being in any situation.  As part of this way of building relationships, his parents were attracted to the New York Society for Ethical Culture, a humanist religious movement that centered around ethics that supported the worth and dignity of all living things.  Cohen became aware that his belief that he could help industrial society become more utopian through his unique Webstring Model was rooted in his childhood socialization in a utopian natural community setting that was dedicated to improving health and wellness.    

Problem Definition Condition #2: Relationships With Natural Diversity

The biological survival value of natural diversity is that as environmental conditions fluctuate from supportive to adverse, one diverse form of life may prevail while others disappear so life can prevail.  Diversity strengthens the web of life's ability to survive. Diverse variations of genetics and life are found at all levels of biological organization.

In 1929, Cohen was born with a common expression of nature's diversity. He was a member of the 15 percent of the population that was naturally born left-handed in our predominantly right-handed society. As he grew into adulthood, this presented him with emotional challenges because he naturally thought and felt more comfortable from a minority, left-handed way of knowing.  This went against the story of the dominant right-handed 85 percent of the population that prejudicially and insensitively demeaned left-handedness.  The majority and its thinking irrationally disregarded the biological contribution of left-hand diversity to the survival of life.  For example, its dogma considered left-handedness to be a deviation from the norm, something in nature that interrupted the artificial, but God-given, built-environment ways of those who were right-handed.  Left-handedness was non-conforming, it was thought to indicate the possible presence of evil and sinister things.   Satan was thought to be left-handed. The “Left-Handed Path” was used to describe immoral religions while the “Right-Handed Religious Path” was divine.  These unreasonable, but fixed, ideas of right-handed thinking were biased against a natural way of relating, against life being attracted to use diversity to help itself survive.  The right-handed story of how to survive was prejudiced against nature's ways of producing its perfection.

Cohen's natural senses felt more energized, attractive and fulfilled when he used his left hand rather than when he awkwardly used his right hand.  To him, this felt more comfortable and natural. This made perfect sense to Cohen's extended Sunnyside family. Left-handed was recognized as normal, never a problem.  He was supported and loved as a left-hander by his parents and by non-institutionalized pre-schooling programs patterned on the thinking of John Dewey.  Cohen didn't think he even knew he was left-handed until was six years old.  

A new factor came into play when Cohen entered elementary school having just celebrated his sixth birthday. There he discovered that being left-handed had an unpleasant drawback in our society. In first grade, as his class learned to write they also learned to use dip pens.  All the inkwells in the classroom, to prevent spilling, were imbedded in a hole drilled on the upper right corner of the desk.  To write lefty, Cohen had to reach his left arm and pen across his handwritten paper to the right corner ink well.  In so doing, his left hand, arm and sleeve dragged across the wet-ink on the paper, smudging it and getting ink on his shirt and hand.  

To avoid smudging, Cohen's teacher, said that he must learn to write with his right hand. She did not seek his consent to request this, nor explain why it made sense.  It was simply a rule, an ingrained story that dominated Cohen's left-handed ways. It was a cultural story, a dogma that proclaimed that it did not need to make sense, no matter its adverse effects. It was indoctrinated and seen as correct.

Cohen recognized that one reason for developing his Webstring Model was that he multiplied his thwarted left-hand webstring attractions by forty or more additional webstrings that industrial socialization taught people to demean. He then multiplied that number by the billions of people under the yoke of industrial society who had also learned to demean webstrings. He recognized that to demean them was a powerful force in our society and thinking that made us cubbyhole and conquer our webstring sensations as “asocial instincts, needs or drives,” rather than act from them in concert as “Humanity's natural sensory ability to intelligently register and relate to nature's balancing ways and wisdom in the web of life.”  

In elementary school, Cohen identified with the destructive effects suffered by other left-handed children who were unreasonably forced to write, or to otherwise function, right-handed.  These effects were real to him. He had experienced some of them. They were undeniable facts of his life.  

Even if the myriad of unreasonable and hurtful left-hand incidents reported for other children were false, it did not change one iota what Cohen experienced as a left-hander.  What happened to him registered on his natural senses and consciousness and remained alive there in memory.  Still today, when he, or others he knows, are treated unreasonably, his left-handed discomfort along with his sense of fairness, come into play.  They serve him as valuable motivations to develop methods that make unreasonable and insensitive situations more reasonable. A major reason that his webstring model contributed to well being is that with respect to the nonsense of our nature-disconnected lives, it helped us think, “How can we move the inkwell?”

Cohen tried writing with his right hand, but it felt awkward and uncomfortable to his webstrings. It felt like trying to talk correctly while you had your tongue jammed up behind your upper front teeth. For this reason, Cohen continued to write ink-smudged papers with his left hand.  His teachers did not appreciate his suggestion that an inkwell receptacle should be drilled, or glued on, the left side of his desk.  What he thought would make sense in this situation, although doable, did not count.  This was quite different then how his sensible suggestions as a child were treated with more respect at home.  There his webstrings of reason, language and consciousness were honored.

Problem Definition Condition #3: Sensibly Feeling the Moment

Over time, with his teacher's urging, Cohen began to write with his right hand, even though it still felt unnatural and wrong.  His teacher gave him verbal approval for this change. In addition he received the rewards of his parent's appreciation for the better grade in “attitude” that appeared on his report card.  There were, however several secondary effects.  He felt like a natural part of him, many of his webstring attractions, were uncomfortably imprisoned in a stupid jail at school and subject to the discomfort of unreasonable right handed rules, a discomfort that logically changing the location of an inkwell could cure (The webstring of reason in action). In retrospect, whenever he wrote, or even thought about it, the “right-hand only” story irritated his webstring senses of motion, sound, direction, color, belonging, trust, community place, consciousness, reason, touch, sight, distance, gravity, breathing and left-handed self.  All these webstring sensitivities and senses were involved and frustrated by inkwells and penmanship training. Their un-fulfillment and its aggravation stressed Cohen.  The effect on him of industrial society's prejudicial but dominant right-handed dogma was that his back posture changed: his shoulders slumped and he suffered unexplainable leg cramps. In addition, he developed a speech defect.  He received therapy and recovered from the cramps. To a lesser extent, he recovered from the speech and back problems.  http://www.commonties.com/blog/2006/09/13/i-was-a-rebel/

By fourth grade Cohen's writing was so illegible that the school had to respond to his argument and let him try to write with his left hand.  His success in winning this argument was due, in part, not to moving the inkwell but to being allowed to use a fountain pen. It eliminated the smudging ink well crossover challenge the dip pen presented and, in six months time, he was writing better as a “lefty” than he had from years of training as a “righty.”  This further justified to him the value of his attraction to listening to and acting from his natural attraction self.  The “left-hand webstring attraction” part of him had been right all along. Although he never changed the position of the inkwell, this was one sweet victory for him over false righteousness. From that point on, he cruised through elementary school and, armed with a Waterman fountain pen, and without excessive stress or the need to use drugs, alcohol or tobacco, he succeeded in just about anything else he decided was important to him. He graduated elementary school with an award for achieving the school's highest reading level, that of almost a twelfth grader.

During this period Cohen's parents helped him recognize that many other left-handers and other children suffered much greater challenges, trauma and repercussions from industrial society's various forms of “righteousness.”  Cohen could see this happening in his classmate's prejudiced against nature religious upbringing, fashion dictates, political requirements, racial prejudices, scholastic expectations and sexuality restrictions. However, his classmates and friends swallowed having to do things via the dogma of “the right way” to gain the rewards for being “good” or to avoid punishment. They were conditioned to think this way. To deal with the stress and tension this produced in them, Cohen observed that many found relief for the rest of their lives through excessive and irrational shopping, eating, alcohol use, competition, tobacco, drugs, destructive dependencies, abusiveness and inhumane relationships. He saw himself as being different and being respected as different by his Sunnyside community. He was not admonished as he attached himself to sub-cultural webstring satisfactions from nature, camping and folk music and dancing. He spent his life strengthening them and the utopian communities that they helped to build and sustain.  They gave him the fortitude to overcome all odds in order to establish and offer the webstring benefits of his Trailside Outdoor Expedition Education programs and National Audubon Society Expedition Institute.

The Problem Defined

Melding the three factors of 1) enjoying reasonable supportive community, 2) challenging insensitive dogma about nature and 3) acting from sensible thoughts and feelings in the moment, helped Cohen, from personal experience, identify industrial society's otherwise invisible problem: With rare exception, as exemplified by the Sunnyside Gardens community, Industrial Society was prejudiced against nature. It demeaned the value of nature as it expressed itself in wild areas and expressed itself in people as natural sensations and feelings.

Prejudiced Against Nature Shapes the Webstring Model

Cohen learned a hurtful lesson in first grade to which he sadly resigned himself.  He became aware that industrial society didn't try to make sense with respect to natural life. It stringently held an unnoticed and uncorrected prejudice against how he naturally felt as a left-handed person.  He saw in time that his society marched to an ancient story; one that said that in its realm, left handed was an invalid way of writing, even if it could be accomplished.  The school and the law enforced the notion that left-handedness was something about his natural webstring self and nature's diversity that he had to correct, that nature was wrong and the school was right.  In addition, this story said that, legally, he had another eleven years to endure in this type of “do it right” atmosphere before graduating from high school.  Page  WLI Karen story http://www.ecopsych.com/iupskaren.html

Look at potential causes for the problem of Prejudice Against Nature

Considering the biblical Garden of Eden story as being based on unsubstantiated evidence in comparison to his direct experience, Cohen, while on his exploratory Expedition Education programs in natural areas viewed the prejudice against nature problem to be caused by what he called “tropicmaking.”  As described in the Introduction Orientation Chapter, by noticing how expedition participants were excited about spending part of the winter in the tropical conditions of the Everglades and Virgin Islands, Cohen realized that we may have became prejudiced against nature because human webstring biology and culture was designed and attracted to survive in the readily available warmth, food, shelter and medicines of the tropical climate.  It was designed to survive in the more extreme seasonal changes in the temperate or artic zones.

Gathering Data Relative to the Problem of Prejudice Against Nature

Cohen became more aware of the reality of the prejudice problem and its hurtful effects from additional experiences that illuminated various ways the problem existed and how it expressed itself. He could remember four different examples, below, of this phenomenon. They also tended to show that nature had corrective renewing powers that could help people recover from the exploitation of their webstring selves.

1. During Cohen's third year at elementary school, experimentally, the school administration introduced a different story, a new way of learning math that, by the year's end, it decided to discontinue. For this reason, without the consent of any parent or student, his whole third-grade class was required, by the school's decision, that they either relearn math in summer school or else repeat third grade the next year.  Cohen's parents objected to this for him since they lived upstate in the country during the summer.  His parents volunteered, as an alternative, a more reasonable story.  They would teach him math from a workbook while the family was away.  If he passed the math test at the end of the summer, he could then continue on to fourth grade. Cohen did both.

For Cohen, that summer in the country was bizarre in comparison to his prior summers there.  Instead of having his parent's support, and playing in nature or going to camp all day, every morning, his mother made him spend a few hours studying math from a workbook.  The difference between how he felt in the morning's scholastics atmosphere compared to how he felt in the afternoon's freedom and aliveness of his webstrings in natural areas was striking.  The mornings felt like, "Due to his right-handed school's story that they would make student's guinea pigs for to teaching mathematics in a new way, his mother had now placed him in a straight jacket every day while he was surrounded by a wonderful natural area where he really wanted and deserved to be, but he couldn't be."  This brought him to tears and tantrums.  Yes, he did learn and pass math, but he also deeply learned the value of how good it felt to be surrounded by nature's ways and freedom in comparison to how restrictive it felt to be imprisoned in dry schoolwork with his mother as the prison guard.  This caused a strong tear in the fabric of his otherwise good relationship with his family.  This felt different to him than when in a natural area, without a word, he received consent and support for who he and his webstrings naturally were. In contrast, the school work story ordered him to be proficient in what it demanded of him, sensible or not.  

2. Cohen felt the same webstring discomfort with the school's mathematics class error that he sensed when he was required to write with his right hand: in both, his being and behavior was thwarted and it was not his fault. His self-image became that he was some kind of a freak, or a renegade for protesting what was “socially correct and normal” because it didn't feel right, it was unfair, and, therefore, it didn't make sense.  He was sure there must be some psychological report in his school records that said he resisted direction by adults, but it never said that the direction of adults was prejudiced against webstrings and nature as he knew them at age nine.  This contributed to Cohen posturing his webstring model to help industrial society eliminate its prejudice against nature and increase its well being by engaging in the loving attraction familiarity that unified nature's web of life community.

3. When in second grade, Cohen caused trouble by freeing a struggling bird whose wing was caught in a rattrap.  In disgust, he threw the trap down a sewer.  A brute of a fellow, angry about the loss of his trap, learned who had disposed of it and he abusively reproached Cohen's mother.  He made her cry as he scolded her for the loss of his trap and her bad parenting.  But, Cohen's mother didn't punish him.  Instead, she simply asked him to understand the reason why the neighbor was angry.  She also praised him for caring about the bird's welfare as well as for his thought that the man should have placed the trap where birds could not get into it.

4. As he returned home from elementary school one day, some bullies by the schoolyard roughed him up saying, "Kike! You Jew boy, you killed Christ." To him, this was a stupid story for he knew full well that he never killed anybody. Upset, as he continued home he was drawn to a parallel path through a wooded area by the railroad. Things were peaceful in that little grove and by the time he emerged from it, he felt much better. When he asked about this, people said, "In the grove you got away from your problems." But, significantly, they never told him just what it was that that little natural area took him “to.”  Because our society's nature-disconnected story said it was “right” for us to be disconnected from nature and its webstrings, most of us didn't know what or where "to" was.  Instead, we learned to righteously connect our multitude of natural attraction senses to stories that provided substitutes for nature and the natural, substitutes with detrimental side effects that disrupted nature's balanced webstring ways around and within us.  This incident further cultivated the idea in Cohen that “prejudice” might be behind the unrecognized value of the web of life, just as it was against the unrecognized value of who he was as a left-hander or Jew.  The question “Where did that little natural area take him 'to?'” led Cohen on a path into the web of life where webstrings provided the answer by being it.  

Other similar childhood experiences allowed Cohen to observe or enter beneficial relationships with nature and with people. No doubt, right-handed thinking probably concluded that he never fully learned to grow up and be an adjusted part of the “real world.”  In time and considering “the real world's” adverse effects on natural systems in and around him, he felt that this was not a bad thing.  He strived to enhance it by developing programs that supported webstring relationships and his model.

Identifying possible solutions to the problem of prejudice against nature

Self-Regulating Outdoor Education: Cohen spent the summers of 1942-44 at Boy Scout Camp that, although it was outdoors and fun, was mostly governed by the call of the bugle, the military-like rules of discipline, regimented Merit Badge course work and other rituals (see NAE History Update) Then, in 1945 he worked with Henry Paley at Camp Turkey Point.  Paley's camp self-regulated itself via meetings where every day campers and counselors held an all camp morning gathering and made sensible decisions about who would do what and when for the day.  This gave the webstrings of people of all ages a wide range to learn how to express themselves, listen and be heard.   Enamored by that setting, at the age of 16, Cohen announced his decision to dedicate his life to work and relationships that led to the field of organized progressive summer camping.  He could see that it allowed him to express and fulfill his webstring desire for close community living and for contact with his webstring attractions in natural areas. For his livelihood, he would try to learn to live and work in contact with his natural attractions and nurturing natural origins.  That made sense to him and his family understood and supported it. His decision guided him through many life choices great and small. It led him to university coursework in Natural Sciences, Education and Counseling along with environmentally formative and therapeutic life experiences. They privileged him, from 1959 on, to live, learn and work, year round, in small-group planned outdoor oriented utopian communities. There he imbedded himself in reasonable contact with the joy and vibrant perfection of natural systems within and around him. Committing himself to doing this taught him to either do it well or to not be able to survive by doing it.  The key to doing it was to “be there” and cooperatively support each natural attraction towards his whole-life goal when it appeared.  This, in turn, contributed to his design of his Trailside Expedition Education program, his courses and the Webstring Natural Attraction Model.

In 1966, twelve years before James Lovelock published the living earth Gaia Hypothesis, while on a Trailside summer program, a transformational experience during an amazing thunderstorm on the Colorado River in Grand Canyon National Park added new dimensions to Cohen's thinking and outdoor travel/study. The profound effects of that storm convinced him that Earth acted homeostatically, like a living organism, and that acts of nature and humanity could be rationally explained from a life-attraction and natural systems point of view. Most of his interpretive work after that came out of that realization.  He simply applied all the human life relationship knowledge he had gained in his education to web of life relationships that included Organism Earth. This led some to call him a maverick genius or the reincarnation of Thoreau as a psychologist while others, less supportively, saw him as a nature-freak or Peter Pan.  To Cohen, if felt like Earth itself was inviting him to let it support his webstring community-building efforts.

When Cohen's Expedition Education program became part of the National Audubon Society he was asked to constantly provide their Directors of Education with reports that explained the what, how and why of the Expedition Institute so that it would remain in good standing in Audubon and enjoy Audubon's support.  Cohen received permission to convey that our environmental and social trespasses resulted from an unrecognized but historic, socialized type of prejudice against nature that pervaded contemporary thinking and that his Expedition Education program was designed to transform that prejudice into environmentally and socially responsible relationships.  

Cohen edited these reports into a book, Prejudice Against Nature, (PAN) that the Audubon Director of Education enthusiastically supported.  It was accepted for publication by MacMillin and was being edited by them when the Director of Education left Audubon.  The new Director of Education, an environmental education Ph.D. thought the book was too far ahead of its time with respect to his plans at Audubon.  He informed MacMillan of this and they immediately cancelled the book as, without Audubon backing, it lost its commercial value. Cohen believed that this decision was a key factor in the demise of the well being of life on earth. Instead of powerfully identifying and bringing our prejudice against nature to the public to be dealt with, it was buried.  This was but one of thousands of examples of the power of the dollar in influencing what we learn, how we think and act, and what gets funded.  It was a major factor in who we had become and what was supported or trashed.  Later published, unedited, by Cobblesmith, in 1983, PAN identified key educational and psychological issues, including industrial society's prejudice against nature, that we neglected to address so our troubles continued.

PAN showed that all of life and the natural on Earth were parts of natural systems that we held in common and that held us in common through natural affinities (webstrings).  It said that we produced our troubles at every level simply because the way we were trained to think was deeply prejudiced against nature. We mostly exploited nature rather than embraced it.  This was the book's greatest contribution because, by identifying prejudice as the source of our troubles, prejudice could be addressed as such. Our society was familiar with prejudice and we had already addressed it in other areas, with some success.

PAN suggested that a psychological source of our prejudice of nature could be our subconscious memories of our highly supportive, prenatal womb environment.  It was similar to the support provided by tropical environments.  PAN suggested that we subconsciously learned and taught folks to seek situations that brought to mind our attractive, static, subconscious tropiclike, womb euphoric memories and sensations, rather than enjoy the reality and value of nature's whole life, immediate, fluctuations and challenges.

PAN showed that consciousness was a webstring, that acted like a movie screen in our mind. Without being given holistic earth-connected information, it would continue to play nature-prejudiced movies that falsely guided us to excessively exploit natural systems.  

PAN offered a means to establish a Whole Life Factor that was later accepted by the Senate of the State of Maine. This numerical factor, placed on all products, identified the degree of their adverse or positive environmental effects so that consumers could choose wisely.

PAN described how and why Planet Earth could be seen to be a living organism and the advantages to this interpretation. It showed that the stability and control obtained from technological inventions was immediately more powerful than the constant resonating fluctuations of nature.  For this reason, it said, we addictively seek the euphoria and security that technology provides, no matter its destructive short and long term side effects.
PAN addressed our literate vs. sensory duality. It noted how we mostly live in a story-driven, literate indoor world whose abstractions play in our mind.  It showed that our consciousness is given very little training in knowing how to accurately register and reflect the renewing ways of nature.

PAN identified the value of most of the present components of the Webstring Natural Attraction Model and how Expedition Education helped students achieve them by recognizing, living in and supporting an experiential planet/person congruency process.

PAN included the syllabus outlines of graduate and undergraduate courses offered in Cohen's Expedition Education programs that helped to reverse our prejudice against nature

PAN included supportive observations, experiences and analysis of Cohen's Audubon Expedition Program that were written by Dr. James Swan, a creator of the first Earth Day in 1970, who occasionally served as a course instructor for the Audubon program.

Gather data relative to the problem
of prejudice against nature

To help him first-hand explore and record incidents that demonstrated Industrial Society's prejudice against nature and its effects, from 1959-1985 he led year-long Trailside expedition education programs into natural areas. They enabled people to experience themselves in nature for extended periods and hunt and gather information from that experience to discover their prejudice against nature and its effects

Based on his realization that Earth acted like a living organism and with the hope of us relating to Earth with the protection, preservation and compassion that we feel for life and survival, Cohen conceived and inaugurated, with Dr. Jim Swan, an internationally heralded, landmark conference at the University of Massachusetts.  Its purpose was to present evidence for and against the observation that Planet Earth was a living organism.  The denial of this observation was an core of Industrial Society's prejudice against nature problem. A total of 112 worldwide experts presented papers and workshops to support this notion including George Wald, Nobel Prize Laureate in Physiology, James Lovelock, author of the Gaia Theory, Thomas Berry, Mary Katherine Bateson, Paul Winters and 107 other advanced thinking professionals. The conference produced 1300 pages of proceedings all pointing towards Earth being alive. It showed Earth and its life came into being by many unique attraction relationships at many levels.  For example, all materials contract as they get colder, but water was attracted to expanded as it froze into ice, enabling ice to float.  If it did not float, life as we knew it could not exist because vast amounts of water that we now enjoy would not be available on the surface of Earth in contact with sunshine and the atmosphere. Another example: the element, Carbon, a basic of organic matter, other elements, and of life, came into being through ancient, miniscule freak diversity attraction resonances of hydrogen, berrilium and helium being present simultaneously.

At the conference, life was observed to be self-evident, a process that cooperatively organized, preserved, corrected, regenerated and procreated itself to produce its own environment and optimums of life, diversity, beauty and well-being.  Life accomplished this without creating any garbage or pollution, or the excessive stress, abusiveness and disorders that mark industrial society. Dr. George Wald offered that, “There is nothing as much like a living organism as a star, they have a metabolism.”  

An astronaut's report noted that, from the moon, Earth seemed like it was alive, to which an indigenous person responded, “Our people have always known it is alive because we can see and feel its life in and around us. Your society is so out of contact with nature that you have to spend billions to go to the moon and discover what simply thinking on Earth with the landscape and your heart could tell you.”

Since Earth could be seen as a living organism Cohen suggested that all school curriculums be developed within this person/planet sensitivity framework, and that Earth's remote name, “Gaia,” be changed to “Organism Earth” so folks would know what Earth actually is or how it acts. He also suggested that since our planet was the only known organism of its kind, it should be protected under the endangered species act.  

Cohen's conference triggered many additional “Gaia” conferences in the decade that followed. He presented at four of them and from these presentations he was invited to create and direct a Department of Integrated Ecology for the World Peace University, based on the life of humanity and the life of Earth being identical with the exception of one major disconnection factor, our learned and socialized prejudice against nature.

List possible solutions to the problem
of prejudice against nature

Cohen recognized that many solutions in many sectors were being offered and tested with regard to increasing well being in Industrial Society but because most of them did not include increasing the health of the web of life, it was deteriorating as Industrial Society made strides to reduce disease and increase the longevity of human life. In addition, during this period mental and social disorders appeared to be intensifying with respect to stress, depression, working hours, divorce, war, and addiction. If, as Cohen suggested, the underlying problem was society's hidden prejudice against nature, learning how to establish non-prejudicial relationships with natural systems held promise as a solution.

Test possible solutions to the problem of prejudice against nature

The purpose of Cohen's Expedition Education Trailside program as a solution could be simply described as, “To learn how to design and live in community as good citizens of the United States National Parks.” In the parks, under the wisest of all federal laws, one had to think, act and relate in ways that protected and preserved life and life systems so that all of life could enjoyably survive in them.  To hurt or destroy nature in the parks was illegal and the park offered excellent education to help achieve this goal.  The object at Trailside was to learn the joy of living this way, to learn how to do it anywhere and to teach others to do the same. This solution seemed appropriate for if prejudice against nature was the problem, to grow and develop an attractive familiarity with nature was a plausable solution.  

Enamored by the beneficial results and popularity of the 1959-1968 Trailside summer programs that he founded, based on them Cohen designed and directed a full year-round travel/study outdoor camping program, The Trailside Country School. It was steeped in the observation that Earth acted like a living organism and that we must, in reality and imagination, return to our webstring natural origins and set forth on a new, more sensible road to survival now that we were aware of the destructive consequences of our present path.  Its courses were accredited by Lesley College and, in 1974, Cobblesmith published the school catalog and its expedition education process and courses as part of “Our Classroom Is Wild America: Trailside Education in Action -- Encounters with Self, Society, and Nature in America's First Ecology Expedition School.”

The value of the Trailside program and Expedition Education was well reported in Benjamin William's Ed.D. 2000 A.D. dissertation at Harvard University entitled  “Towards a Theory of Expedition Education” although small parts of his historical account were irresponsibly inaccurate. The value of the program was also reflected by Alan Furth in Trumpeter, Vol 14, No 2 (1997)

In 1977 the National Audubon Society hired an expert Vice President to identify a major form of conservation education that Audubon could sponsor to service its 500,000 members.  Out of 116 programs that were evaluated nationally, Cohen's Trailside Country School was deemed to be the best vehicle to meet this goal. In conjunction with Lesley College Graduate School and, along with a promised endowment fund to cover growth and contingencies, Cohen's Trailside School program became part of Audubon as the National Audubon Society Expedition Institute with the ability to issue accredited Graduate and Undergraduate Degrees through Lesley College.  In 1983 the program was evaluated by University of the State of New York for accreditation in their schools. All of its courses were approved for use in the New York State Regents Degree Program and for AA and BS degrees in over 1300 affiliated universities nationally.

One participant said of the Trailside School, “It is more than just reading a book about what Mary Poppins did, you step into the illustrations, accompany her on her adventures and learn important facts of life by co-creating with them in reality and imagination.”  Trailside is described in the preceding Orientation chapter.

An important discovery in the Trailside program was that participants in each of his unique travel/study expedition groups, learned how to most happily sustain themselves in sensible ways by developing strong webstring relationships that helped them meet their natural community goals. In the process, the supportive ways of their webstring sensitivities became apparent. 

In the expedition group setting, it became apparent as to what happened to webstrings that had been injured or subdued during childhood. The close-knit group community was similar to the web of life itself. Its webstring process helped explain why individuals who had been mistreated in certain ways swore they would never mistreat another person in the same way, yet they usually did.  It was as if these individuals had a contagious disease that propagated itself.  For example, Sandy's webstring of trust had been injured by an alcoholic parent who would make, but not keep important promises. Sandy said this was a painful experience and swore to never to do this to others. However, as a reaction to an injured webstring of trust, Sandy:

- Demanded more assurances from others in the group than was comfortable to them.
- Disliked others who had trust issues, because, she discovered, they triggered her trust-webstring pain in herself and, in addition, these individuals competed with her for trust relationships with others.
- Had been rendered less sensitive to the trust needs of others and therefore trespassed their trust and, in the process, became less trustable.
- Hurt others who trusted her by breaking their trust.  This was exactly what Sandy swore would not happen because it was unconscionable. However, breaking trusts gave Sandy a feeling of familiarity and control, of being able to survive and hurt others, as she had been hurt and survived in her non-trusting childhood.

In the expedition community, Sandy saw that webstring fulfillments and healing were available in every moment from people and natural places.  They were real, they produced community support, and they provided immediate relationship rewards and good feelings.  Sandy also found that it was possible to rely on the group's uninjured webstrings of place, community, time, reason and play to replace and perhaps help her restore her injured webstring of trust.   By learning to be aware of the immediate support from webstrings in the group, Sandy became a more trusted member of the community, one who knew from happy experiences how to let webstrings help her produce trustworthy relationships.

The secret to the group's success was to learn how to learn directly from the natural world, the living Earth within and about them. Through natural attraction webstring sensations and feelings that arose through their newly grown sensory roots in Earth, the global life community taught them how to trust it, how to validate and incorporate its balancing ways in their thinking.
From 30 years of all-season travel and study in over 260 national parks, forests and subcultures, Cohen developed a repeatable learning process and psychology that unleashed people's natural attraction to grow and survive responsibly. By documenting that his self and planetary transformation process worked and could be taught, he earned his doctoral degree and the school became a small graduate and undergraduate degree program sponsored by a leading conservation organization and a university degree program.

Select the best solution to the problem
of prejudice against nature

Although Expedition Education was very successful in addressing prejudice against nature, Cohen recognized it was not a practical solution because most of Industrial Society held this prejudice and taking billions of people on expeditions into natural areas was unrealistic in terms of the expense, the impact on natural areas and carrying out such a program internationally. For this reason, from 1985-92, Cohen translated his school's methods and materials into the nature-connecting backyard or backcountry sensory activities of organic psychology. They were the heart of his Webstring Natural Attraction Model and the Organic Psychology of its Natural Systems Thinking Process. People gained health and wellness from its co-creation-with-nature readings and activities at home, work or school through his books and Internet courses.

An unusual circumstance demonstrated to Cohen the effectiveness of sensory contact with nature as a solution to bringing our excessive exploitation of nature into balance came into view.  He wrote:

When I first arrived at the bay, my island a mile offshore beckoned me and I walked to it across the muddy tidelands as clams squirted their greetings.  While visiting it, I reveled in its isolated integrity when panic struck. I saw the tide rapidly returning, cutting off my route to the mainland until midnight.  I rushed back through the muck barely winning the race with the rising water. I learned yet another form of nature appreciation: respect for the rhythm and dance of the tide.

From that day on I usually motored of rowed my boat to my island when the tide was high. In the process I made a fascinating discovery.  When I rowed, some 45 seals in the bay would follow close behind me, staring intently at the boat as I, in wonder and delight, stared back at them.  But, when I used the motor, the seals were nowhere in sight.  Their consistent behavior suggested that they were trustfully curious about me using the oars and disinterested or fearful when I used the motor. Later, I used this information to their benefit. Our state Senator, even though he had never visited the bay, proposed a power dam that would terminate the seals' existence there and permanently remove the water from hundreds of acres of tideland.  I invited the senator to tour the bay with me one sunny day. As I rowed him out to the island, he faced forward towards me while sitting on the boat's back seat.  I asked him how the thought the local seal population might feel about his proposed dam.  He looked perplexed and while the question was on his mind I swiveled the boat 180 degrees saying “Let's ask them.”  His view was now of forty-seven seals treading water and staring intently at him.  He was visibly moved.  That week, back at the state capital, he withdrew his support for the dam he had proposed to build.  He told me that he felt proud to be able to smile off the accusations from some of his colleagues that he was a hypocrite.

Implement the problem-solution

Cohen created a new program, Project NatureConnect, to design and distribute the ways and means to achieve the benefits of expedition education without going on a formal expedition as the latter was not possible for most people.  One if his intentions was to make this newly developed material available to Audubon graduates so they could apply and teach it in their home and professional situations after graduating.  To create a curriculum for Integrated Ecology at the World Peace University, he began to translate into nature-connecting backyard or backcountry activities, the most significant educational experiences his students and he had shared during his 26 previous years living and learning in natural areas while he directed the Trailside and Audubon programs that he founded.  He designed the activities so that they would help people enjoy the same benefits from contact with nature, locally, that had benefited his students and himself on his expedition education programs.  He developed 148 tested and published activities for Project NatureConnect in the eight years that followed. 

To further the Webstring Model Cohen translated into nature-connecting backyard or backcountry activities, the most significant educational experiences in natural areas that his students and he benefited from. He wrote eight books that described the ways and means of the Webstring Model including books about the findings of his Living Earth conference and a practical means to improve the humaneness, social justice and environmental responsibility of any organization. He collected journaled experiences that described rewarding increases well being of Webstring Model participants in a wide variety of relationships and established a Whole Life Factor to be placed on all products to identify their adverse or positive environmental effects.

To help the public benefit from the Webstring Model, Cohen identified and placed on the internet the methodology, science and procedure used by participants and their study groups during the program. It was to first become familiar with the contribution of Organic Psychology and the value of “nine-leg thinking” via the Project NatureConnect website http://www.ecopsych.com and especially

The Webstring Model was put it into practice via the six steps, below.

1.  Establish a support/study group or individual that is interested in the Webstring Natural Attraction Model who will do the program with you and will share their reactions to it with you and welcome you to do the same with them.

2.    Read the activity description, rationale and instructions in the Web of Life Imperative guidebook.  Be sure they make sense to you so you are doing the activity because it seems sensible to you

3.    Go to a natural area that is most attractive and convenient to you, backyard, backcountry or in your house (aquarium, pet, potted plant)

4.    Using the Gaining Consent Activity in Chapter 4 of the Web of Life Imperative,  http://www.ecopsych.com/amental.html, obtain consent for you to visit and do this activity from some natural attraction that calls to you in this area. Be sure you have gained consent from the natural attraction to do the activity before doing it.

5.    Write your results from doing 2, 3, and 4, above, in your Journal. Translate into language and share your sensory/non-verbal webstring experiences and reactions, personally or via email with your study-support group. Use the Thoughtful Verbalization Guidelines on page 148 of the Web of Life Imperative as a framework for your responses.

6.    Respond to the activity reactions shared with you by other study/support group participants who have done 1-5 above. Express to them what you learned, found attractive or admired from their experiences.  

Verify if the problem
of prejudice against nature has been resolved or not

The potential of knowing the world through the Webstring Natural Attraction Model was seen in counselor Larry Davies 1996-98 results [appendix RWN] from offering it to people who were considered almost impossible to reach. His study was undertaken with students who were "uneducatable," because they could not handle regular school programs (17). Each had been physically or sexually abused, were 180% below the poverty level, drug or alcohol addicted and suffered poor self-esteem, suicidal tendencies, and behavioral disorders. Some were homeless or in correctional settings.

The results from involving the students in the Webstring process were overwhelmingly positive. The students' growth was reflected in improved psychological test scores and analysis, which showed reduced stress, depression, sleeplessness and drug use along with higher self-esteem. Every student's attendance and academic progress improved, no indications of chemical remission were observed 60 days after the program ended. The students personally owned and supported the activities and rationale for their continued improvement by reconnecting with webstrings in each other and the environment.
The student's sensed that a trashed natural area that they restored to health, like their personal webstring nature, wanted to recover from the abuse it received from society. They said that, like them, it had been: "hurt, molested, invaded and trespassed," "It wanted to become healthy or die." "It felt trashed and overwhelmed." "It had no power, it needed a fix or help to recover." They wrote: 

"This wilderness community is being choked by alien plants and stressed by pollution, abandonment and major loss. We, too, are being choked by drugs and alien stories that pollute our natural self. We feel abandoned by our society, treated like garbage, and cut off from nature which fills us with grief. By protecting and nurturing this ecosystem we find the strength to open our minds, hearts, and souls for the survival of our Mother Earth and ourselves."

In 1995, to determine the effectiveness of the Project NatureConnect organic psychology process Cohen was teaching on the Internet, Dr. Jan Goldfield and Cohen designed a multifaceted questionnaire that they submitted to all the people who had completed Project NatureConnect courses online.  The responses from 84 of the 126 participants were published in The Web of Life Imperative and online at http://www.ecopsych.com/survey.html.

Results of the survey substantiated that the process of the Webstring Natural Attraction Model helped those that used it make a significant contribution to their own and our planet's well being. It helped them reduce depression, stress and unhealthy dependencies while increasing their stress-management abilities and their self-esteem.  

The survey provided a link to unsolicited statements from field reports by many hundreds of others who participated in the online program. The reports served as objective and empirical evidence for the value and effects of the program since they were written as phenomenological outcomes in student journals for evaluation by other students, not as testimonials to support the program. In the online publication of the Survey, Section Seven published the results of nature-connecting activities and incidents from people not affiliated with Project NatureConnect.

To help verify the Webstring Model as a solution to Industrial Society's prejudice against nature, between 1999 and 2007 eleven students at Project NatureConnect were awarded Applied Ecopsychology MS and PhD degrees from several universities for research in applying the Webstring Natural Attraction Model to the fields of Experiential Education, Eating Disorders, Mental Health, Outward Bound Programs, Medicinal Herbs, Health and Wellness, Occupational Counseling, Education Administration, Energy Medicine, Environmental Mapping and Hypnotherapy.  Each of these scholarly research projects included literature reviews and methodology that showed the Webstring Natural attraction Model helped these fields increase well being in their participants and the environment.  In addition, hundreds of additional online course participants reported similar effects in a wide range of professional areas.

Many professional journals reviewed and published articles that explored the process and validity of the Cohen's Webstring Model process. These included: 

-    John Scull in The Trumpeter, an Environmental Journal of Ecosophy,
-    Janet Thomas in Taproot Journal of the Coalition for Education in the Outdoors,
-    Michael Cohen in the:
-    Environmental Education Report,
-    Proceedings of the World Future Society,
-    Interpretative Naturalist, Association of Interpretive Naturalists.
-    Journal of Instructional Psychology
-    Adventure Education
-    Journal of The National Association for Outdoor Education,
-    Proceedings of the Association for Experiential Education,
-    The Animals Agenda,
-    The Communicator, Journal of the New York State Outdoor Education Association,
-    Proceedings of New England Alliance for Environmental Education,
-    The Education Journal of the North American Bioregional Congress,
-    Nature Study, The Journal of the American Nature Study Society,
-    Journal of Experiential Education,
-    International Journal of Humanities and Peace,
-    Between the Species Journal of the Albert Schweitzer Center,
-    Legacy, The Journal of the National Association for Interpretation,
-    Environmental Awareness. The Journal of the International Society of Naturalists,
-    School Science Reviews. The Journal of The Association for Science Education,
-    Clearing, the Journal of The Environmental Education Project,
-    Progress in Education  
-    The Journal of Environmental Education,
-    The Science Teacher, Journal of the National Science Teachers Association,
-    Monograph of Environmental Problem Solving. North American Association for Environmental Education,
-    Adventure Education, The Journal of the National Association for Outdoor Education,
-    Energy and Nature,
-    Journal of the Oregon Counselling Association,
-    Counseling Psychology Quarterly
-    The Humanistic Psychologist. American Psychological Association.
-    Interpsych, the Electronic Mental Health Journal,
-    Cooperative Learning, International Association for the Study of Cooperation in Education.
-    Greenwich Journal of Science and Technology


Perhaps the most genuine verification of the webstring means for Industrial Society to increase well being was to read the hands-on email journals of participants who were engaged in nature-connecting webstring activities.  Their task was to report to each other the outcomes of doing the activities in a local natural area so they could share and learn from the diversity of their individuality and their varied geographic locations across the planet. 

An additional three hundred of these field reports became available online to provide interested parties with a wide range of authentic information. 

Stress Reduction

We went to a park north of Seattle that is full of beautiful cedars and Douglas firs.
I walked over the pine-needled ground, saying over and over to myself, "attraction, sensation, feeling, webstring (meaning sensory nature attraction)." At first I was drawn to spots of sunlight shining through gaps in the canopy. Then I considered a handsome cedar tree with a light spot right in the nook of the trunk, inviting me to sit down. Yet, the tree was close to the path, and for a quick moment I thought that if someone were to approach me from the path as I sat, it would disconnect me from my experience. I recalled the advice from the reading, "If you sense anxiety producing or discomforting webstring signals from some things, seek another attraction instead. It will prove to be safer and more rewarding." I walked away from the slight anxiety of that location, and picked a similar cedar tree higher up and away from the pathway. I sat down, resting my back on the tree and resting my eyes on the high canopy, enjoying the site of lovely branches waving to me from high.

I opened my journal and wrote, "It feels good to be in a natural space with large, tall trees. It feels good to enjoy this open natural space, I can allow myself to feel personally touched by the trees in a way that is diminished in less private spaces, such as near the pathway or sharing a hike with friends. I feel as if I can expand my personal space in a respectful and natural way."

“My experience in nature shows me that I am a person who gets good feelings and reduces stress by being in a natural wooded area by myself. My experience also tells me that I learn more about myself and my feelings when interacting with the webstrings of life. I become more attuned to my likes and dislikes, and where I am on the relaxation/anxiety dial. This moment reminds me that I am sensitive to other humans, often in a slightly anxiety-provoking way. Sitting beside the tree, looking up to the branches in the sky, I feel relaxed and safe and happy, I feel support and love.”

The most important part of this assignment for me is that it is an activity I enjoyed very much and one that I can see myself repeating with frequency, because the reward is not just a sense of feeling relaxed and safe, but that I feel in that moment I learned something, I grew. I feel like the more moments I create such as that one, the more opportunity I will have to really grow in wisdom. A second thing I would say is that I learned that it helps me to mantra "attraction, sensation, feeling, webstring" when I am searching out my attraction. I also love this statement and want to memorize it, and repeat it often - "We cannot teach Earth to speak English or any other verbal language. We can, however, learn to participate in Earth's non-literate, webstring ways since we, as part of the web of life, are born knowing them and are able to register them. This is part of our natural substance and inheritance."

I would sense a great loss if I had this webstring attraction take away. I would feel robbed of something vital to my health and happiness. I have felt this way when I have lived in areas far away from large natural spaces.

This webstring activity enhanced my sense of self-worth to a degree because I felt that I grew as a person, just sitting there those few minutes and acknowledging, seeing and validating, my natural attraction for moments such as the one I experienced, and feeling how I felt with my guard down. It enhanced my feeling of trustfulness in nature in people and places because I felt my anxiety in one attraction, and trusted that webstring feeling to help me move to a place that was more rewarding to me. And it worked. My sense of peace and relaxation was felt immediately as soon as I sat down.”

- Anonymous Webstring Participant

Webstring Participant Reactions to Each Other's Reports.

Mary - Thanks so much for your honest, open sharing. I love this that you wrote - "Together we have colluded to tell the story about our planet that denies the existence of the web." When you said, "I keep wondering if one can ever do enough.  We need to tune into the web and get the lesson before it is too late." I think that the most important thing is that we keep evolving and that we keep open to the intelligence of nature each day. One wise author once told me, "You become what you think about the most." So I try to think about nature more, to become a better part of nature, a positive contributor to life. I think that it's easy to beat yourself up for not being sustainable in all life's practices, but so long as we're positively growing more connected each day, feeling more webstrings, that's the important thing, I think. Because each move we make to become more sustainable is a required change - and change is easier, more safe and rewarding, when you feel very connected.

Alice - I love your pinch analogy - I think it sums up how nature-conquering stories reverberate and hurt people into feeling too injured to follow their true natural destiny. I would say that human life, with its new brain stories, pinches, but natural life does not pinch- it supports. "Life pinches permanently if we do not see it for what it is and release the fingers. Day to day we pinch people into doing things and we are also pinched to become what we are. Much of it is self-inflicted but we do this through ignorance of the alternatives. We pinch others in ignorance without regard to what they need and stunt their connections and possible growth into what nature intended for them. We inflict pain on the minds of others and ourselves and we all have forgotten how to respond to anything else - most of all the fact that we are born to be living and being at one with the earth."

Donald - Wow, I don't think I could handle that Texan heat! I am attracted to your strong enthusiasm and commitment to PNC as a part of your recovery process. I very much agree with your statement, "The most liked figures are the ones we're most exposed to. This accounts for why we still like unhealthy things and the necessity of continued involvement with PNC to change this for the better." Thank you also for writing "Perceptions change based on a lie." That echoes what Alice was describing about how we pinch and get pinched by others, our perception-changing based on false stories and lies.

Laura - Yes, this is my first marriage. I loved your poetic description of your time on the rocks at Sea PT. The rock people collection sounds like a beautiful way to connect artistically. Also I want to wiggle my fingers as a sign of strong agreement on your comments about our thoughts about children, the "Bonding to the World of Image" Its true, if we could all change the way we view, see, think about children, they are so very important and precious and our society is in an absolute crisis when it comes to educating and protecting children.

Ernine - your profound experiences and expansive imagination are inspiring and refreshing! "These teachings...allow for true change to blossom at the core." Thank you from your heartfelt comments. I have been enjoying every moment.

When I spend time alone in nature it is like a visit with a wise mentor who offers me the wisdom I need to grow. I slept heavily last night, a deep healing sleep. I feel that the nonverbal wisdom and nurturing that I'm receiving from doing the nature activities is soaking in, marinating in my deep subconscious. I feel great and alive today. I do want to teach these activities to others. I want to co-facilitate this course.

In summary, natural senses and feelings are attraction strings of the web of life that can psychologically help a person make conscious sensory connections with the web. I want to experience this more, and more fully. I am moving in that direction.

- Anonymous Webstring Participant


As I was reading the chapter I sensed my own discomfort at being indoors, I felt confined in this tropic-simulated closet  so I wandered out of the door with book in hand and highlighter too. I asked the area around my front stoop if I was welcomed to sit and read and keep it company. I was welcome to do so, and so I did. I was feeling particularly bathed in verdant green, and I thought to myself, I wonder why I want to smoke a cigarette almost every time I come inside from doing these activities. Ha, well it isn't because I am attracted to the cigarette, but it is a response to being disconnected from nature in this tropic-simulated closet!  It is also a response to other discomforts and disconnections, like when I am hungry, like right now, but don't have time to eat or find food, or when I am stressed or nervous, rather than seeing what is causing this feeling, I stuff a pacifier in my mouth, a distraction from my discomfort. This was a mere interesting aside to the exercise, but one of great worth and insight.

When I read through the exercise I noticed that all of the flowers had closed up since the sun had gone, the tulips had pursed themselves together as had the dandelions I had earlier visited with. I thought what an interesting response to the weather change, it had gotten cooler and I felt a sprinkle or two, the flowers were protecting themselves from the impending rain so that their pollen would remain viable to continue to build their communities.

I was not yet deterred by the rain, but my behind was beginning to talk to me about how uncomfortable the concrete stoop was and that I ought to get up and move. The  pain was a catalyst to movement. This simple precept was the very basis of behaviorism not yet gone awry. I thought about the women that stay with abusive men, so many of them grew up thinking love was pain, in some twisted way. So they instead of honoring the real love of nature, by realizing that pain is a catalyst for movement and like getting the hell away from whomever is hurting them, they instead stay. How our human Westernized stories have made not just the earth and creatures sick but society twisted and sick as well.

I got up from my stoop and asked the backyard if I might finish my reading and activity there, it felt welcoming. I ventured down to the log and had a seat and finished my reading. Glancing at the previous chapter activities as directed. Yes, non-verbal, yes new brain, yes green-green and now the positive quality of negativity. I reflected on how I ended up here with the person I am with, I remember the story well. Though I liked the fellow well enough and there were attractions to him in some ways, I had decided there was something that didn't feel quite right. So I had said “lets be friends ,” he was offended and went into a lecture from some movie about “OHHH, yes LET'S be FRIENDS, that's what I need is another friend, I have plenty of friends! ” This made me feel guilty, it hadn't been my intention to offend him or hurt him, and I was attracted to him and didn't want to lose that attraction. I thought about why I had not acknowledged the discomfort that the guilt had brought me. It was the old story about a woman needing to have a man, the prince charming and knight in shining armor stories manufactured to increase a woman's feeling of helplessness and weakness, her inability to take care of herself. That is how I ended up here eight years later, still finding occasional attraction, but most of the time pain and discomfort that I am beginning to acknowledge as a sign that I ought not continue in this way.”

- Anonymous Webstring Participant

Nature Connection

"The activity attracted me to lie in the water beneath that sky of reddish and orange colors, with the sun rising more powerfully than I've ever seen it before. And there I was, all alone in the pond, but at the same time feeling totally held by the outdoor moment. I knew this is where I belonged. I felt a powerful energy being given to me by everything around me. I had a feeling in my throat that made me feel like crying and shouting with joy at the same time; and also a sense of peace, like everything was telling me "It's all right, it's all good."

My sense of isolation, this sense of loneliness, of being abandoned, of having the world against us is a common feeling. But how could a person be lonely when they could feel as part of a pond or see themselves in a lovely flower, in the trees and animals, and in other people? Think of all the lonely people who have no idea that we are so connected to nature.

We are truly not alone but only disconnected from our natural state. I used to be so depressed and now when I feel it come on me I think about how connected I have become to all things. I am less and less depressed now. Imagine if everyone could experience this outdoor connection. It would become a different world."

- Anonymous Webstring Participant

This is Arnalda Nitam. I am originally from Ethiopia. I was to be part of the September 15, 2006 Orientation Course but due to an urgent field trip I wasn't be able to make it but at the mean time I was reading your Book and Web of Life Imperative and I also tried some of the nature connecting exercises and I found it to be life changing. It's still a surprise for me how I overlooked something so amazing and with such a magnitude which was at the whole time trying to connect with me. So please help me to participate in the next Group available.  Can you provide financial assistance?

I really need to feel more.

- Anonymous Webstring Participant

Continue on to Part Three:  Conclusions, Discussion and Recommendations.

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Achieve a Degree or Certificate to strengthen your professional interests, or your hobbies or pastimes, by connecting them with nature. Implement your strongest hopes as you increase personal and global well being.

Topics, subjects or leisure pursuits can include those listed below or other areas of interest:


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Well-being at risk
Help turn the tide!



"Human behavior is rooted most deeply in nature's intentions and desire. The rhythms of nature underlie all of human interaction: religious traditions, economic systems, cultural and political organization. When these human forms betray the natural psychic pulse, people and societies get sick, nature is exploited and entire species are threatened."

-Stephen Aizenstat


In industrial society our excessively nature-separated lives mold us to betray the natural psychic pulse. We learn to block from our thinking over 98 percent of the wise sensory callings and fulfillments we normally share with natural systems and their eons of experience. Our subconscious hurt and frustration from the severed disconnection of these senses underlies our greatest troubles.

-Michael J. Cohen


Benefit from learning to enhance the natural psychic pulse within and around us. Add the sensory ecoscience of Organic Psychology to your life and livelihood.





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Organic Psychology Search Engine

Grant-funded, social and environemental science accredited courses, career training and holistic organic learning degrees: alternative adult education and sustainable career training jobs online for personal and global health.

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"Scientific research is based on the idea that everything that takes place is determined by laws of nature, and therefore this holds for the action of people."

"Truth is what stands the test of experience."

- Albert Einstein


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Accredited nature career holistic education and job courses, organic learning degrees and alternatives; earn extra income money online and increase wellness, spirit and hope.

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360-378-6313 <email>


The Natural Systems Thinking Process

Dr. Michael J. Cohen, Director

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All programs start with the Orientation Course contained in the books
The Web of Life Imperative and Reconnecting With Nature
and the
Naturally Attracted
DVD video