Cirpit Review Monographs n.3/2016 The Life and Work of Scott Thomas Eastham


Miriam Lancewood

Wings of Flight

We begin this book with a poem written by Miriam who met Scott for the first time in July 2013.  She and her husband, Peter Raine, popped in for a visit one afternoon when Scott was not very well, and yet the spiritual energy of that encounter transformed us all.  Indeed, our beautiful afternoon with Miriam and Peter was one of the last entries Scott made in his daily journal.  Miriam’s poem conveys the ecstasy of engaging with a very realised human being: “He was the bird; We were the wings.  His mind made us fly together.  And upon return, Everything was different.”

Part One: Scott Thomas Eastham, Family Man

Todd Robert Eastham


Todd Eastham, a very accomplished journalist and writer himself, describes Scott’s childhood and teen years.  His chapter is absolutely charming — light, witty and funny.  Todd often uses the word “Magic” to recount Scott’s early life in his beloved San Francisco with his family and friends.  Todd presents the nucleus of every dimension of Scott’s persona and scholarly life: Nature as gift and grandeur, Scott’s love for trees and his insatiable curiosity to understand everything.  We see also the great gift of being nurtured by wonderful parents and grandparents.  To be sure, growing up with Scott could sometimes be a harrowing experience, but it was never dull.

Casey Eastham-Hazelton

The Echoes of my Father Ring Throughout my Life

Casey describes her father as a family man.  We see his love for music and travel as well as his enduring influence on her life.  We also see Raimon Panikkar’s impact on Casey’s life at a very young age — three years old, when the family spent the summer of 1990 in Tavertet so that Scott and Raimon could collaborate to produce the first draft of The Rhythm of Being from Panikkar’s 1989 Gifford Lectures.  Our daughter, Alison, was only four months old at the time.  Casey’s portrait of her father becomes in fact the story of her own life.

Alison Eastham

“News In Two”

Alison’s contribution is very different. Hers is the musing of a child observing her father’s daily routine and wondering what it’s all about.  There is a rationale behind what seems to be a very ‘arbitrary, but carefully observed routine,’ and once she understands it, her father, the writer and scholar, become more clearly defined for her.

Part Two: Scott Thomas Eastham, The Scholar

Gerard Hall, SM

Scott Eastham, Raimon Panikkar and the Meeting of Spirits

Gerard Hall begins the section of the book dedicated to Scott’s message.  At the Catholic University of America, Gerard also took Scott’s graduate seminar, “Religion and Culture 600,” where he was introduced to the cross-cultural, inter-religious hermeneutics of Raimon Panikkar. Although Gerard met Scott as a graduate student, he very soon became a colleague and a prominent Panikkar scholar in his own right.  Gerard and Scott deeply respected one another, as people and scholars dedicated to the search for truth, goodness and beauty. In his elegant tribute to Scott, Gerard describes Scott’s creative collaboration with Raimon Panikkar as the meeting of interdependent spirits. He provides a masterful tour-de-force of Scott’s interdisciplinary scholarship in philosophy, communication studies, literature and religious studies, and describes Scott’s passionate search for truth as a template for communicating wisdom through depth engagement with one’s tradition in the context of creative encounter with the insights of other traditions.

Samantha Kelly

“Say Not in Grief He is No More – But Live in Thankfulness that he was”

Samantha Kelly’s poignant chapter describes Scott, the charismatic teacher, who encouraged her to find her own voice, and for whom an assignment provided the opportunity for metanoia/ mutation of consciousness.  For Scott, learning was about enhancing our relationships with ourselves, others and the world by igniting the divine spark within.   In Scott’s 100 level papers in Media Studies, Samantha was introduced to the ‘integral’ vision of Buckminster Fuller, for whom “technology is not merely a tool but that we form relationships with it, and the nature of these relationships can influence our way of thinking. Fuller was an advocate for “effective working relationships between humans, technology and nature.”  We see here Fuller’s expression of the vision of the Whole, i.e, that everything is relational because Reality is interdependent.

Bridget Herlihy

“O Captain my Captain”

From Bridget Herlihy, we gain insights into Scott’s work in the field of technology and human values.  Bridget took Scott’s course ‘Science Fiction Cinema and the Technological Mythos’ in 1999, as one millennium was coming to an end, and another beginning.  Scott introduced her to the ‘depth dimension’ of the science fiction genre — psychological, technological and scientific — in both its literary and cinematic forms, and also directed her Master’s thesis on Shelley’s Frankenstein.  Frankenstein, of course, is a classic statement about what happens when the three dimensions of the Real — cosmos, divine and humanity in between — are radically out of balance: “In the case of Shelley’s Frankenstein, the tale warns against humankind’s unrestricted pursuit of knowledge, defiance of the gods and the rules of nature through the creation of artificial life by man in the name of scientific exploration.”

Christine M. Tracy

Teilhard as Integral Theorist: The Mystic as Everyman

Media ecologist Christine Tracy writes about the “integral awareness” of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin SJ, mystic and scientist.  In her chapter, Christine discusses the integral awareness proposed by French paleontologist, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, SJ, which enables every human being to experience life as profound interconnectedness. Christine brings together Marshal McLuhan’s insights about the connective potential and power inherent in communicative media with the need for the integral awareness Teilhard possessed. If not, an “artificial noosphere” will be created, which will bring “great psychic turbulence, opening fractures and fault lines in the collective unconscious.” Although Christine never met Scott face to face, they enjoyed a lively email correspondence in which Scott introduced her to Panikkar’s ideas, such as “The End of History.”  Christine told me that she felt a strong intellectual bond with Scott who encouraged her interdisciplinary work and told her that her work on Teilhard was “great stuff.”

Adrian Heays

The Man Made of Words Revisited

For Adrian Heays, the extreme weather which devastated the Hawkes Bay in the late 1980s catalyzed his life long passion to heal the Earth.  When he enrolled in Massey University’s Bachelor of Environment Studies in 1994, he took Scott’s 100 level papers in the English and Media Studies Department and came to understand the power and transformative effect of language and meaningful dialogue.  Adrian’s chapter describes his integration of these insights in his professional life as a resource manager and regulator.  Scott directed Adrian’s BA Honours thesis in Environmental Studies, Communication and Media Studies at Massey University, New Zealand.

Charlotte Helen Sunde

Flight From the Antipodes: The Journey of a Cosmotheandric Man

Scott referred to Charlotte as a gifted nondual thinker with a beautiful writing style.  Her chapter illustrates how nondual thinking can shape and challenge creative research in both theoretical and practical realms. Charlotte responds to ideas that Scott laid out in the final draft set of notes for a conference paper he intended to deliver in November 2013, titled “Flight from the Antipodes (or, ‘Thinking in Threes’).” Her chapter illustrates “thinking in threes,” by referencing major themes in Scott’s work as well as her own in Environmental Studies and the ecosophy of understanding.  Charlotte pays special homage to Scott as mentor and friend, and also acknowledges the key role that Scott played in introducing Raimon Panikkar’s works to the next generation of scholars.

Stephen M. Palmer

With Scott at my Shoulder: A Discussion of Science and Religion

Although Scott directed Stephen Palmer’s MPhil thesis in Media Ecology, Stephen chose to write about science and religion, a ‘modern problematic’ which has been an intellectual passion for many years. Stephen critiques the ‘modern scientific technocratic worldview’ and the ‘mechanistic cosmology of modern science’ with reference to the cosmotheandric intuition.  It’s as though the more Stephen clarifies the issues for himself, the more he clarifies them for others in his very thorough and comprehensive discussion.


Peter Horsley

Scott’s Quest for Wholeness, Embodying Life’s Threefold Realities

Peter Horsley was Scott’s closest friend and colleague in New Zealand.  Both lectured at Massey University. Peter once referred to Scott as a “taonga,” the Maori word for “treasure,” and a “rangatira” of the mind — rangatira is Maori for wise leader — which gives us some idea of the esteem in which Peter held Scott as a poet, a scholar, a teacher and a writer.  Peter’s chapter explores the depth dimension of Scott’s life with reference to the themes defining Scott’s life’s work, and the scholars that nourished his intellectual and spiritual vision: Ezra Pound, Buckminster Fuller and Raimon Panikkar.  He devotes an entire section to Scott’s article, “Making Peace with the Earth,” a passion they both shared. As a tribute to Peter’s significant contribution in New Zealand culture and society in the fields of resource management and environmental studies, Scott dedicated to him his book, Biotech Time- Bomb: How genetic engineering could irreversibly change our world, 2003.

Peter A. Raine

The Sheep Farmer’s Son

The cosmotheandric intuition transformed Peter Raine’s view of Reality to such an extent that he realised he must live it. Trusting in Cosmic Confidence became the cornerstone of his life. Peter’s chapter is a moving tribute to Scott, the person and scholar. The question of technology’s effect on the human mind was a major theme in Scott’s life’s work, as it was for his mentors, Martin Heidegger, Raimon Panikkar, and Iain McGilchrist. Peter draws on insights from these scholars to reflect on how human beings can experience the mutation of consciousness required today to move us beyond the ‘calculating frame of reference’ that traps much of Western thinking today.

Scott and Mary Eastham

Homage to Elder Brother, Robert Vachon

Scott honours the life’s work of his revered friend and colleague, Robert Vachon, by making explicit Panikkar’s hermeneutics of cross-cultural dialogue — morphological, dialogical and diatopical — with reference to Robert’s internationally recognised dialogue with the Mohawk Elders in North America.