The ocean in a drop: a narrative of reintegration for an era of disintegration

DProf thesis

Savage, R. 2021. The ocean in a drop: a narrative of reintegration for an era of disintegration. DProf thesis Middlesex University Health, Social Care and Education
TypeDProf thesis
Doctorate by public works thesis
TitleThe ocean in a drop: a narrative of reintegration for an era of disintegration
AuthorsSavage, R.

It has been twenty years since I left the corporate world to pursue a life of greater meaning and fulfilment, driven less by the pursuit of wealth, and more by purpose. Initially, that purpose took the form of a mission to raise awareness of our environmental challenges which led me to row solo across the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans, between 2005 and 2011, using my adventures as a campaigning platform. In this context statement, I evaluate the successes and failures of that mission. I conclude that while I succeeded in creating both the platform and the inner resources to be an effective advocate for change, I largely failed in generating that change, due to my naivety regarding both the scale and the structural strength of the forces – particularly the psychological, social, and economic forces – that preserve the status quo. I then explore the subsequent insights that have led me to a more holistic, systems-level approach to societal transformation, which is inseparable from action at the individual level. These insights spring from an eclectic mix of sources, including Taoism, and their implications for leadership as partnership. During the writing of this critical commentary I was inspired by the pandemic to write on the gifts of solitude, the liminal space that enhances the bricolage of the mind to develop insights and be open to uncertainty. I have then extrapolated from the bricolage of my rowing experiences to the bricolage of ideas to generate a narrative that supports the fundamental shift in consciousness that I believe is required for us to escape our existential crisis. This shift in consciousness has become the foundation for a new work in progress, which I include as an Appendix 6 to this statement.

Sustainable Development Goals3 Good health and well-being
13 Climate action
14 Life below water
15 Life on land
17 Partnerships for the goals
Middlesex University ThemeSustainability
Research GroupWork and Learning Research Centre
Department nameHealth, Social Care and Education
Institution nameMiddlesex University
Publication dates
Print21 Oct 2022
Publication process dates
Deposited21 Oct 2022
Accepted01 Jun 2021
Output statusPublished
Accepted author manuscript
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