Vivir al amor de la vida.

A paradigm consists of a community’s ideals, observations, and practices. It contributes to a collective sense of reality and undergirds how the community organizes itself.1 A paradigm of interdependence—what Kriti Sharma calls radical contingency, Fritjof Capra calls the systems view of life, and I suggest calling living al amor de la vida—is coalescing in the global community. Below, I offer a translation of the phrase and a colloquial bibliography outlining this cosmopolitan sense of congenial connectivity.

Vivir al amor de la vida, literally translated “to live to the love of life,” means to live in harmony with the nature of life, so generous and wild.

It is a slang Spanish neologism derived from the form of two similar idioms, two more phrases that don't translate directly word for word. Estar al amor de la lumbre, “to be at the love of the flame,” means to be close to the fire—typically a hearth or a bonfire. Ir al amor del agua, “to go to the love of the water,” means to go with the current, the flow. I suggest that “al amor de” can indicate a copacetic relationship with anything prolific and maybe fierce. Since we humans are about 60% flowing water, utilize a poetic kind of fire—oxygen-based metabolism that resembles combustion—within our cells, and are very much alive, in the cases of fire, water, and life, this relationship transcends distinctions of inside and outside. Doing anything “al amor de” these three includes being another form of that generous wild. Finally, like systems theory and all language, this phrase can function at multiple contexts and scales. A mystic might describe their experience as a sense of living al amor de la vida, a profound feeling of connectedness. The citizens of a city might declare that they plan to build apartments al amor de la vida, utilizing state-of-the-art regenerative practices for peoples in places so that the residents can more easily live al amor de la vida themselves. A country of people might better live al amor de la vida by eating fermented vegetables. Al amor de la vida is an adverb akin to the noun buenvivir or the adjective ecological. But caution: like systems theory and all language, important differences might emerge between the model and the system or the word and world. Sometimes, the uttered words might cease to serve. When is "living al amor de la vida" greenwashing? When is it a lie?


I list the influences in loose chronological order of their primary innovation. An asterix (*) indicates a major shift of an oral tradition incorporating a written tradition. These teachings their teachers hail from all over the Earth; they often converge with or influence each other. For now, I list the teachers from whom I have learned the most and omit many.

Organisms and earth formations are family members to care for and who give care in return. Kincentricity; indigenous ecology*; Robin Wall Kimmerer, Enrique Salmón.

Phenomena depend upon one another. A person can cultivate a feeling of caring love toward all sentient beings that leads to devotion to their/our wellbeing and alleviation from suffering. Dependent co-arising, metta, and bodhicitta; Buddhism*; The Buddha, Nāgārjuna, Thich Nhat Hahn.

The universe is in continual flux and humans can live in harmony with it. The Tao and Wu Wei; Taoism; Lao Tzu.

Vast, loving forgiveness. This kind of grace seems, at least to me, needed sometimes. Mercy; Christianity*; Christ.

Living organisms are all kin related; they often enter into mutually caring relationships with one another; land masses are materially dynamic and teem with living organisms; and the metabolic processes of living organisms can affect the life-sustaining characters of the local and global environments. Evolution, symbiosis, ecology, Gaia; recent science; Charles Darwin, Lynn Margulis, James Lovelock.

At the level of the smallest particles yet observed, the universe is dynamic and relational. Phenomena depend on each other. Quantum mechanics, entanglement; recent science; Albert Einstein, Edwin Schrödinger, Neils Bohr.

The “births and deaths” of stars generate materials and habitable conditions for life; the study of seemingly distant, abiotic systems is also the study of life. Cosmology, astrophysics, and big history; recent science; Carl Sagan, David Christian.

Systems can usefully be studied at multiple scales in terms of boundedness, networks, emergent behaviors, nonlinearity, and adaptation. Systems theory, autopoiesis, complexity; recent science; Humberto Maturana, Francisco Varela, Ian Stewart, Donella Meadows, Melanie Mitchell.

Human beings display an affinity for living beings. Biophilia; recent science; E.O. Wilson.

All living beings have merit and actions should be taken for their benefit. Deep ecology; recent spirituality and science; Arnae Nass.

Sensually vibrant, equitable, caring relationships might pervade society, politics and economy. The erotic; feminism; Audrey Lorde.

Syntheses of the above. Systems View of Life, Work that Reconnects, Deep Transformation, Radical Contingentism; Fritjof Capra,1 Joanna Macy, Jeremy Lent, Kriti Sharma.

Select examples of how I enact this paradigm, how I strive to work al amor de la vida, comprise my website.