The Cultural Phenomenology of Literature

by William Irwin Thompson

First of all, I would like to thank you for inviting me back to York for this conference, for this is a particularly appropriate time for me to return. If I were still on the faculty at York, this would be the year of my compulsory retirement, so I look upon this as my Last Lecture or Swan Song. It is doubly appropriate for me to give this lecture here, for it was in this very room in 1971 when I was an Associate Professor of Humanities that I organized a conference entitled “Thinking on a Planetary Scale,” to which I invited the global theorist Bucky Fuller, the ecological architect Paolo Soleri, and Richard Falk, Professor of International Law at the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton. The conference was my effort to express to my colleagues that business as usual was not enough and that we were living through a radical juncture in history in which a new planetary culture was emerging, a culture that was distinct from the internationalism that had characterized the world-system since the end of World War II.1