Recently a hugely important bill that, in part, contains hundreds of billions of dollars to fight global warming, passed the U.S. Senate with exactly zero support from Republicans.
This is so crazy, it makes people in mental hospitals seem positively sane.
There's no logical or empirical basis for the conservative claim of a need to balance human economic interests with environmental interests. Not when it comes to global warming, which threatens to upend human civilization if greenhouse gas emissions aren't cut dramatically, and soon.
Nature isn't a nice thing to preserve. Nature is what we are.
It's absurd to consider that we Homo sapiens are somehow separate from nature, or controllers of nature, or that God created nature for our benefit, as many Christians believe.
No nature. No us. That's the simple obvious fact.
But just as dualism leads people to wrongly believe that an immaterial soul resides within the physical body, so a long history of dualism in both Western and Eastern philosophy leads people to wrongly believe that the natural world is a pale reflection of a higher supernatural reality that's our true birthright.
I've started reading a book by James Bridle, Ways of Being: Animals, Plants, Machines -- The Search for a Planetary Intelligence. The Introduction speaks of how we need to look differently upon our relation to the natural world.
Here's some excerpts.
More than ever, it is time for re-imaginings. Yet this act of imagination cannot be ours alone. To think against human exceptionalism requires us to think outside and beyond it, and to recognize in Blake's vision the deep truth of his words: nature is imagination itself.
In this truth is encapsulated the philosophy behind the phrase I used earlier: the more-than-human world.
Coined by the American ecologist and philosopher David Abram, the 'more than human world' refers to a way of thinking which seeks to override our human tendency to separate ourselves from the natural world.
This tendency is so pronounced it is rife even within environmentalism, the movement which seems to bring us closer to nature and thereby to preserve it. For in so framing our intentions, we have already set up an implicit separation between ourselves and nature, as if we were two separate entities, unbound by inseparable ties of place and origin.
Conventional terms such as 'the environment', and even 'nature' itself (particularly when opposed to 'culture'), compound the erroneous idea that there is a neat divide in the world between us and them, between humans and non-humans, between our lives and the teeming, multitudinous living and being of the planet.
In contrast, the 'more-than-human world' acknowledges that the very real human world -- the realm of our senses, breath, voice, cognition and culture -- is but one facet of something vastly greater. All human life and being is inextricably entangled with and suffused by everything else.
This broad commonwealth includes every inhabitant of the biosphere: the animals, plants, fungi, bacteria and viruses. It includes the rivers, seas, winds, stones and clouds that support, shake and shadow us.
These animate forces, these companions on the great adventure of time and becoming, have much to teach us and have already taught us a great deal. We are who we are because of them, and we cannot live without them.
...We have come, as the shock of more-than-human consciousness testifies, to think of 'nature' as something separate from ourselves. When we speak of the fantastical futures envisioned by high technology, we speak of a 'new' or 'next' nature, some utopia of computation which further alienates and supplants the actual ground we came from and still stand upon.
It is time to put aside such adolescent solipsism -- both for the sake of ourselves and of the more-than-human world.
There is only nature, in all its eternal flowering, creating microprocessors and datacentres and satellites just as it produced oceans, trees, magpies, oil and us. Nature is imagination itself. Let us not re-imagine it, then, but begin to imagine anew, with nature as our co-conspirator: our partner, our comrade and our guide.
I suppose that being a life-long naturalist, the obvious fact that we are part of nature only arises for me on hearing people talk as though we and nature were separate things. I guess there are several reasons for this; one being that the Abrahamic religions teach that man has been given dominion over other creatures. Another could stem from the fact that we see ourselves separate due to the exaggerated importance of our self structures which habitually looks at the world as being something other and outside of ‘me’ which has to be battled with and brought under control.
Unfortunately, part of such control verges on exploitation. Instead of working with the rest of the natural world in a spirit of harmonious interdependence, we have taken the route of ‘self’ interest where everything must feed an insatiable ‘me’.
I don’t feel very optimistic that we humans can ever work in harmony with nature, with the planet we live on. Science has made great strides in developing alternative and sustainable technology, yet as the ‘zero support from Republicans’ shows re climate change, there just isn’t the will and not just from political leaders as even everyday folk would not want to consider altering their standards of living to help the planet regain its natural balance.
Recent elections around the world show that many people want a leader that will maintain or even advance standards of living. We can recycle our jam jars and plastic containers but to give up our gas-guzzling cars, holidays in distant countries and generally our habitually wasteful ways of life is unlikely – as indeed the recent years of ‘Covid’ lockdowns showed to the point of denial and violence.
What is probably inevitable is that future government planning and action will take into their equations and forecasts predictable loss of land, towns and villages, infrastructure and even lives. Nature, even if the human species dies out will continue as it always has. Species and planets evolve and die – which in the future may include us.
Posted by: Ron E. | August 09, 2022 at 08:34 AM
Perfection is an ideal that is always present in now-ness.
Perfection can be explored from two different vantage points.
From the vantage point of actuality, all things (Physical, emotional, psychological, or any combination thereof) are perfect in now-ness because, due to causality, they cannot be other than they are, so are therefore perfect as they are.
From the vantage point of subjective reality, perfection remains an ideal to move towards but can
never be realized.
But it’s also helpful to be aware that what drives us towards seeking perfection is an underlying subconscious worry that our current experience is somehow wrong or not good enough.
When in actuality it is perfect as it is. As all human experience is related to the pleasure and pain principle of want and not want.
The way to engage with the ideal of perfection is to pay attention to what alleviates or eradicates the unhelpful worrying aspect, so the mind can remain at peace with itself, others and the world around it whilst seeking perfection.
Although “non-harm” is impossible within the human experience, the ideal of perfecting a way of life that causes the least amount of physical, emotional or psychological harm to yourself, others and the world, is itself a perfect solution to alleviate or eradicate the worrying mind.
Posted by: Roger | August 10, 2022 at 06:29 PM