... and ... between I and Thou : stretching metaxic space for children as seen from the perspective of my own spiritual journey
This thesis investigates the nature of children’s experience of solitude in the natural world (Magic Spots), during an earth education programme called EarthkeepersTM over a period of ten years at Ringsfield EcoCentre, Suffolk. It explores the practice of stretching metaxic space, that is the creative space inbetween one and another, to enable children to begin a way of learning which in turn will facilitate ways of being, or better, ways of becoming which can befriend the planet and not destroy it. The thesis is also the story of my own process required by the exploration. I have told this story through the lenses of hermeneutic-phenomenology and autoethnography while developing a diacritical hermeneutic of my own life and spiritual journey, which includes multiple ‘horizons’, in order to interpret the children’s responses. Finding the notion of the hermeneutical circle inadequate I have developed a dialectical hermeneutical, resonating and oscillating spiral, which demonstrates that in metaxic space children can be active agents in their own discovery and creation of self and meaning. Just like the developing children themselves, the process, the opportunities, and the space for the process are fragile and precious. It is easy to damage the spiral, thus the thesis also explores some implications for adults’ relationship with children. ‘…and…’ produces not conclusions but restless anticipations which are a contribution to the articulation of metaxic space in which children negotiate some meanings which have an adequate fit for a new way of being or way of becoming which suggest new directions for relationships with self, Others, the more-thanhuman- community and the cosmos. Keywords children, metaxic space, dialectic hermeneutics, hermeneutic spiral, relational consciousness, parenthesis, earth education, clowns.