Biased at the basis

Scientists claim to be subjects in a universe of objects. But call them subjective and you’ll know what’s wrong with them…

When asked why they want all that technological stuff in the first place they’ll come up with reasons which turn out to be unquestioned beliefs (and untrue the same) like, “Science and technology make people’s lives better” – or phrases like, “Man must follow his curiosity. It’s his destiny.”

Yeah, right. How could I forget that? Feeling curious is the basis of rational science. Better check your axioms, man. All of them.

Unreasonable rationality

The other day I read somewhere that you can make a rational decision, but that doesn’t mean you’re reasonable by doing so. I guessed the same would go for the opposite. I had to contemplate a while on it, wondering about the fundamental difference between the two. Are they incompatible systems of decision-making, or is there some sort of relationship among them? I came up with the following answer.

To be rational means that you roughly follow a certain value system in which material and scientific issues matter most, and emotional or spiritual least. If, by applying the scientific method, you can serve an emotional interest as well – fine. But looking after the emotional issue first would be regarded as irrational.

Let’s say you have to shift to a new place and there’s a cat with you. You cannot move to the cheapest, nicest place because they don’t allow pets. So you take the less attractive, more expensive flat where you can stay together. From a rational point of view you’d be silly to act according to your emotional relation to a “disposable thing”. It’s irrational to give up a financial advantage. Many people get rid of their pets in such a situation. But others find it more reasonable to go for the other solution: keeping the cat at any cost.

So what does reasonable mean?
The term simple states that you act according to reason. You have a reason to do something, whatever that may be. That reason could be anything, and as long as you have it and your actions reflect its logic you can always claim sanity. It might be irrational, but there is sense in what you’re doing, as opposed to nonsensical, random, insane, impulsive, or compulsive decisions and behaviours. To be reasonable means to be connected to a value system, any value system, and it can contain science and materialistic points, although it is not limited to those; it means you are likely to have a much broader perspective than a physicist or an investment banker, because you are not an expert with a narrow range of interest.

It means even more than that.
From a reasonable point of view, not only the nonsensical, but also the rational way often represents insanity. Why is it, that there is enough food on Earth for twice as many people, but more than one billion are starving? Why is it that we use drinking water for flushing off faeces? Due to rational decisions which save us time, money and effort our whole civilization, especially in its current form, is a global madhouse full of insane people making foolish decisions and acting like maniacs – absolutely unreasonable.

What makes a merely rational person an unreasonable one is that they leave out vital information, crucial reasons, fundamental values other than pure matter and instant benefits. They may act on just one thing, e.g. immediate money profit, and forget about (or dismiss) longterm or “side” effects, such as the biosphere getting damaged to the point of collapse or humans being deprived of their dignity til they claim it back with violence.

Ratio (latin: the mind) is condemned to repeat foolish acts over and over again because it is limited to science and logic which, by categorization, reduce knowledge to an abstraction of the actual thing and which are by (self-)definition just fractions of what is going on within a human life and the biosphere as a whole.
You cannot reduce reality to abstractions and expect the outcome of your acting upon those images of reality to be consistent with the real thing.
You cannot have a value system that dismisses feelings as irrational and expect the outcome to be worth living for human (and other) beings. Much worse so in a world where cybernated units, the apex of rationality, would run the show, as The Venus Project promotes it.
You cannot achieve working solutions while you “arrive at decisions” by assuming that “the real problems in the world are technical” when in fact they are not. There’s more to life than this. So much more than this.

It took me a while to realize that but finally I arrived at a point where I see no more use in pimping up our social systems or, heaven forbid, our gadgetry which failed to make life better for 10,000 years now. Rationality itself has failed, and it isn’t likely to do better within the next ten years either. To believe in that sounds Utopian to me, insane even.
It’s fine to have water desalination devices and electricity and virtual libraries which all help in patching problems of industrial civilization. But as far as I’m concerned, that’s far from constituing a solution. The real change will be a shift from rational to reasonable, and from there to spiritual which is a state beyond reason, because there is no more need to argue.
Spirituality can end world hunger, regardless of (and freed from) scientific rationality – which created the problem in the first place. You can call me irrational to say so, or even unreasonable, and you would be right. I have nothing to add.

Am I out to saving the world?

Definitely not.
What do you mean by ‘world’ anyway?
The Universe? – It doesn’t need to be saved.
The Planet? – So far we cannot destroy it.
The Biosphere? – Well, one could say that man, being the most powerful species on Earth, has some responsibility for his fellow creatures. But that derives from a human understanding of ‘morality’, ‘rights’, and ‘justice’ or, on the material level, of ‘resources’ and ‘life stock’. It has nothing to do with laws of nature – if they even exist outside our intellectual concepts of the fabric of reality.
So maybe saving the world is about saving our species, our civilization, the status quo. And I am not even trying to help that. It would mean that I’d impose my idea of what the world should look like on others. It would mean that they’d have to live under conditions that I find to be useful, regardless of their needs, and I think that is a fascist way of handling the situation we’re in.

I mean, it’s alright to find likeminded folks to join forces. But there’s a limit to how many allies you can bind. Have you ever explained your world view to another person, or have you ever tried to help them, and then noticed how many reject your view or your way of helping? Even if you had the power to force ‘their advantage’ onto them, the only thing you can achieve by that is turning an advantage into misery for them.
So what can we do at all?

As far as I’m concerned the only thing we can actually change is ourselves: our way of looking at the world, our emotional, rational and behavioural reactions, and our expectations. Altering ourselves can be learned easily and it doesn’t require the smallest piece of technology. Not even a pencil.
That sounds revolutionary but it is knowledge having stood the test of time for thousands of years.
That sounds selfish but the result of changing yourself into someone content is a human being able to relate peacefully to others.
That sounds destructive, and in fact it is. It destroys the notion of being a separate self and creates a feeling of oneness that comes from deep within. It destroys my ability to act loyal towards faceless institutions and replaces it with loyalty towards all forms of life. It destroys consumerism and progress-ism and gigant-ism in favour of sustainable living. It destroys the belief into atomistic models of reality so I am able to mentally return to where I am never able to quit physically – interdependency.

If you are content with what you have – what you ARE – then there is no need to argue with others over world views and resources and saving the world. There is no need for a common system of governance, trade, administration, farming. There is also no need for an objective language (which is physically impossible to have anyway). And most important: there is no need for waiting for the right moment, a trustworthy politician, or a ‘necessary’ invention to actually make the world a better place.

You can argue that backing down from the world’s affairs doesn’t solve anything. But the same goes for forceful intervention which we have tried over and over again, this situation being a result of it. Top-down doesn’t work. It never did.
After all, what does a group, organisation, institution, society, or even mankind consist of? It is persons, isn’t it? You and me. What each of us believes, thinks, says, decides, does, sums up to the thing we call society. It makes a difference, however small you may think it is.
So, whether I try to change society or myself, it is a systems approach because I face the situation at its very root: human behaviour, and at the root of that: human thought.
Only that, starting out small, I am not dependent on others.
When I decide not to take a gun then war stops right where I am.
When I buy less stuff then consumerism ends at my door.
When I step back for the benefit of another person then greed gets extinct before my eyes.
When I share my surplus with others then poverty ends where I live.
When I neither demand / expect nor obey the culture of dominance collapses.
When I see similarities instead of differences human unity becomes real.
Trying to change the world without having to change oneself right now is an attempt to have the cake and eat it, too.

Why I had to leave the movement to actually join the movement

Recently, I read a blog that really impressed me with its reasonable criticizm of The Zeitgeist Movement (TZM). Although Jacque Fresco’s vision of a resource-based economy (RBE) is one of the most desirable to me, Fresco and TZM are missing one thing that is absolutely necessary for bringing about fundamental change: The values on which an RBE is based have to be part of people’s world view FIRST, before they are going to actually work towards a transition. Otherwise people will just perpetuate their previous ways until someone does the revolution for them.
The real revolution takes place in people’s individual heads, just like Jiddu Krishnamurti said, or it will stay “a theoretical fantasy that will appease those who still want both their gadgets along with their clean air”. As a matter of fact, many TZM members are in for saving their asses from the grip of impending poverty.

The new society cannot work if the paradigm it is based upon remains a mere intellectual knowledge instead of becoming a fact of (everyday) life.
Why?
“My argument is”, says Mark Boyle, “that under the vision that Peter [Joseph] and Jacque have, people will be so far disconnected from the things they consume to have (or maintain) any respect for them now or continuously. I also believe they will have no understanding as to why we need to change so drastically to begin with.”

The lack of understanding within the front rows of TZM has shown blatantly since late 2009. In fact, the request for a practice-what-you-preach approach has been regarded as a threat to the integrity of a movement that is, in contrast to its vision, busy with aggressively self-protecting its hierarchical chain of command and telling their members to proceed with supporting the monetary system til doomsday.

“The low-tech but completely organic society I am proposing, whilst not as attractive to the addicted masses, I believe is actually possible and not just a fantasy that looks great and will appeal to people who want to continue with their fantasies and addictions. – Walden versus TVP, I guess, as a solution”, states Boyle, author of “The Moneyless Man”. And I agree, because I see the need to first reconnect people to the foundations of their lives before enabling them to toy around with nanotech and other stuff from which we would really benefit… provided we became wise enough to avoid self-destruct.

Given a real shift in how we look at the world, a low-tech resource-based approach will offer at least as much contentment in life as Fresco’s technical wonderland. The change we need, no matter if we go for huts or skyscrapers, is a progress in our social abilities which are horribly retarded compared to our scientific achievements. It can only result from inner observation and understanding the processes of the mind. Such an understanding will manifest, without effort, in behaviours much more sane. And no matter what type of society structure we erect then (likely some sort of RBE anyway), it is going to be a highly desirable one.

The one-straw revolution

Do-nothing farming, also known as natural farming, Fukuoka farming, and The Fukuoka method, is an alternative permaculture farming method to chemical or traditional farming. It reduces human intervention to an absolute minimum, allowing nature to do the work. As odd as it may seem, do-nothing farming is able to produce at least as much food per acre as any other method, without tilling, nursing, pruning, planting in tidy rows, or using machinery, fertilizers, compost and pesticides.

The One-Straw Revolution

The method became widely known through the book The One-Straw Revolution, originally published in 1975, by Masanobu Fukuoka (1913-2008), a Japanese microbiologist who tested spiritual insights on his father’s farm.

He began his career as a soil scientist specializing in plant pathology. In 1938, he began to doubt the wisdom of modern agricultural science. He eventually quit his job as a research scientist, and returned to his family’s farm on the island of Shikoku in Southern Japan to grow organic fruits, vegetables and grain. From that point on he devoted his life to developing a unique small scale organic farming system that does not require weeding, pesticides, fertilizers, or tilling.

The One Straw Revolution has been translated into many languages and usually sold for the net cost price. Fukuoka shared his knowledge with everyone interested and allowed people to volunteer on his farm for days, months or even years.

Idea

Origins

Going through a crisis at the age of 25, Fukuoka had a revelation: “In this world there is nothing at all.” There was no reason to worry about life because he suddenly realized that “all the concepts to which he had been clinging were empty fabrications. All his agonies disappeared like dreams and illusions, a something one might call ‘true nature’ stood revealed.”[1]

This insight, and the observation of a rice plant growing wildly on an uncultivated piece of land lead him to the notion of do-nothing. But having ruined his father’s tangerine garden that way, his first important lesson in natural farming was that one can’t change agricultural techniques abruptly. Trees that have been cultivated cannot adapt to neglect. Newly-planted untouched plants can, he found out. They seem to somehow remember their natural offspring which required no cultivation whatsoever. Human intervention weakens plants, so they get addicted to pruning, fertilizing, plowing, additional watering and pesticides.

During the following years, Masanobu Fukuoka developed, by observing nature and trial, simple methods for a natural way of doing agriculture.

A Way of Life

Fukuoka insisted that natural farming was not just a method but a way of life based on simplicity and oneness with the Earth. Ideally, all people would become farmers. He predicted that a large-scale change in consciousness would lead to the fall of governments and whole economies, for a human being, independent of external food supply, would be no more prey to manipulation, power games and consumerism. He wanted man to reexamine his relationship with nature in its entirety. That would be a revolution triggered by straw. But it requires that people shift to seasonal, regional and vegetarian diet rather than consume exotic and/or protein-rich food.

Fukuoka saw an opportunity that people could live in harmony with each other and with nature: “Natural farming is not simply a way of growing crops; it is the cultivation and perfection of human beings”[2], he said. “Most people do not yet understand the distinction between organic gardening and natural farming. Both scientific agriculture and organic farming are basically scientific in their approach. The boundary between the two is not clear.”[3]

While nature is the real expert in growing stuff, Fukuoka says, man’s intellect has distorted this wisdom. Modern science, along with industry and government, is leading man ever further away from the community of life. We seem to be “so steeped in science that a method of farming which discards science altogether will not be digested.”[4]

Method

Despite the catching phrase “do-nothing” there still is some work to do, of course. But it points out that many agricultural practices, which generally are regarded as essential and indispensable, can be left out, which results in a significant reduction of effort, money and time to be invested.

The method, originally developed for Japanese conditions, got successfully adapted to other places around the world. In India, for example, natural farming is often referred to as Rishi Kheshi.

Green Manure only

Fukuoka mixed seeds of white clover with rice or winter grain. A ground cover of white clover will grow under the grain plants to provide nitrogen and keep weed plants from overpowering the crop. Weeds are also considered part of the ecosystem, periodically cut and allowed to rot on the surface so the nutrients they contain are returned to the soil.

Ducks are let into the grain plot, to eat slugs and other pests. They leave just a little bit of manure.

No prepared compost or chemical fertilizer must be applied.

Seed Balls

In order to protect seeds from being eaten by birds, they have to be dampened a bit, then wrapped in a layer of clay powder, compost, and sometimes manure. The seeds necessary for 1/4 acre can be prepared within a few hours. The result is a denser crop of smaller but highly productive and stronger plants.

Little or no Tillage

The seeds get brought out on the surface of the untilled earth to grow. Tillage is usually unnecessary if the ground is not too hard. Plowing severely disturbs insects and worms which keep the earth fertile.

Mulching

The ground has to stay covered all the time. The clover does that during the growing season.

Shortly after the harvest, the complete straw is scattered loosely (not straight!) in thick layers as mulch. The straw decomposts until the next harvest time, giving back all the taken-out nutrients from the previous crop.

Fukuoka used short-stemmed grains which had a spike to halm weight ratio of 1:1

Crop Rotation

By observation of natural processes, Fukuoka learned about the optimal moment for seeding, and also which plants best complement with each other. He only intervened when necessary.

Regarding grain, he brought out rice and winter grain in rotation. Each grain crop is sown two weeks before the previous one is harvested. This is done by broadcasting the seed among the standing crop(!) During the harvest, the new shoots get trampled down, of course, but they recover quickly and begin to sprout.

This sort of double crop rotation can be done over and over on the exact same spot, without ever depleting the soil. Mulching by clover and straw even enriched its fertility over the years.

Minimal Irrigation

Fukuoka seeded rice directly on the spot where it finally got harvested, without transplanting from a nursery field and without the use of paddy fields. With very little irrigation and just one week of water standing in the field, the do-nothing method saves enormeous amounts of water and labour (i.e. transplanting, min. four times of weeding a year, flooding) and thereby avoids overly methane production.

Natural Pests Regulation

Instead of trying to root out pests, natural farming lets nature have its way. The insect population in and above the ground is much higher than in plowed and sprayed fields. Predators like mice, birds and spiders are allowed to roam. The species control each other and keep balanced. Plagues appear rarely and never mean the loss of whole crops.

No Pruning

Trees and bushes never get pruned. Branches and twigs arrange themselves so they each get the optimum of sunlight. An already pruned tree has to be withdrawn carefully over at least two years before it adapts to do-nothing farming. A wide range of grass species on the ground and mixing various tree species keeps the orchard healthy.

Scattering and Mixing

Vegetables can be grown wherever there is a small unused piece of land, preferrably among fruit trees to enrich the soil. Varieties should be brought out mixed with each other on the already existing vegetation cover.

Results

Fukuoka’s labor resulted in an equal or higher amount in crops than traditional and chemical farming in the same area, while the fertility of the soil constantly increased over the years and natural balance was kept. This balance self-regulated pests so there have been little to no losses in crops. With an average of about one hour of work per day, Fukuoka was able to get as much grain from a quarter acre of land as needed to feed a family of five. Costs reduced to almost zero, as no fertilizer, pesticides, seeds, heavy machines or food had to be bought to run the farm.

Literature

* Masanobu Fukuoka: The One Straw Revolution – The Natural Way of Farming.
* Masanobu Fukuoka: The Road Back to Nature
* Masanobu Fukuoka: The Natural Way of Farming – The Theory and Practice of Green Philosophy

References

1. ↑ http://www.onestrawrevolution.net/MasanobuFukuoka.htm
2. ↑ http://www.onestrawrevolution.net
3. ↑ Masanobu Fukuoka: The Road Back to Nature p.363
4. ↑ http://www.rmaf.org.ph/Awardees/Biography/BiographyFukuokaMas.htm

Deep Ecology II

(compiled of Wikipedia, notes from my current Deep Ecology class, and personal knowledge)
Deep ecology is a contemporary ecological philosophy that recognizes the inherent worth of other beings aside from their utility. The philosophy emphasizes the interdependent nature of human and non-human life as well as the importance of the ecosystem and natural processes. It provides a foundation for the environmental, ecology and green movements and has fostered a new system of environmental ethics.
Deep ecology’s core principle is the belief that, like humanity, the living environment as a whole has the same right to live and flourish:

“The right of all forms of life is a universal right which cannot be quantified. No single species of living being has more of this particular right to live and unfold than any other species.” (Arne Næss)

1 The Name

Deep ecology describes itself as “deep” because it persists in asking deeper questions concerning “why” and “how” and thus is concerned with the fundamental philosophical questions about the impacts of human life as one part of the ecosphere, rather than with a narrow view of ecology as a branch of biological science, and aims to avoid merely anthropocentric environmentalism, which is concerned with conservation of the environment only for exploitation by and for humans purposes, which excludes the fundamental philosophy of deep ecology. Deep ecology seeks a more holistic view of the world we live in and seeks to apply to life the understanding that separate parts of the ecosystem (including humans) function as a whole.

2 The Deep Ecology tree

The movement can be seen as a tree. The picture relates to deepening levels of questioning, as well correspondingly, increasingly relevant practices.
Each person comes from its own direction, with its own fundamental beliefs and convictions, which constitute the roots of the tree. It is the basis for everything else.
Nevertheless, all supporters of the movement agree on the 8-point platform, which is the trunk of the tree. It is a unifying guideline, a common source of collaboration between many different kinds of movements, and it provides both strength and flexibility.
The values of the 8-point platform show in different branches on the level of society and lifestyle choices. People form projects, groups, organisations and are also part of general directions, like vegetarianism.
The particular decisions and actions taken each moment are regarded as the leaves of the Deep Ecology tree.

3 The 8-point platform

Supporters of the deep ecology movement (rather than being referred to as “deep ecologists” or followers) are united by a long-range vision of what is necessary to protect the integrity of the Earth’s ecological communities and ecocentric values. In order to establish shared objectives, Arne Næss proposed a set of eight principles to characterize the deep ecology movement as part of the general ecology movement.
Due to its inclusive character the platform is not meant to be a rigid set of doctrinaire statements, but rather a set of discussion points, open to modification by people who broadly accept them. Therefore it is natural that the wording of a version of the platform cannot be the same everywhere.

  1. The well-being and flourishing of human and nonhuman life on Earth have value in themselves (synonyms: intrinsic value, inherent value). These values are independent of the usefulness of the nonhuman world for human purposes.
  2. Richness and diversity of life forms contribute to the realization of these values and are also values in themselves.
  3. Humans have no right to reduce this richness and diversity except to satisfy vital human needs.
  4. The flourishing of human life and cultures is compatible with a substantial decrease of the human population. The flourishing of nonhuman life requires such a decrease.
  5. Present human interference with the nonhuman world is excessive, and the situation is rapidly worsening.
  6. Policies must therefore be changed. These policies affect basic economic, technological, and ideological structures. The resulting state of affairs will be deeply different from the present.
  7. The ideological change is mainly that of appreciating life quality (dwelling in situations of inherent value) rather than adhering to an increasingly higher standard of living. There will be a profound awareness of the difference between big and great.
  8. Those who subscribe to the foregoing points have an obligation directly or indirectly to try to implement the necessary changes.[1]

4 Social ramifications

Individuals adopt appropriate lifestyles and actions consistent with, but not determined by the 8-point platform.

“The frontier is long. There are many ways of acting for good. You cannot do everything!” (Arne Næss)

In practice, deep ecology supporters work towards decentralization, the creation of ecoregions, the breakdown of industrialism in its current form, and an end to authoritarianism. Deep ecology calls for nothing less than a complete overhaul of the way humans live on the Earth. It wants to be the framework for future societies.

5 Development

The phrase “deep ecology” was coined by the Norwegian philosopher Arne Næss in 1973,[2] and he helped give it a theoretical foundation.  

“For Arne Næss, ecological science, concerned with facts and logic alone, cannot answer ethical questions about how we should live. For this we need ecological wisdom. Deep ecology seeks to develop this by focusing on deep experience, deep questioning and deep commitment. These constitute an interconnected system. Each gives rise to and supports the other, whilst the entire system is, what Næss would call, an ecosophy: an evolving but consistent philosophy of being, thinking and acting in the world, that embodies ecological wisdom and harmony” (Stephan Harding)[3]

Næss rejected the idea that beings can be ranked according to their relative value. For example, judgments on whether an animal has an eternal soul, whether it uses reason or whether it has consciousness (or indeed higher consciousness) have all been used to justify the ranking of the human animal as superior to other animals. Næss states that from an ecological point of view “the right of all forms [of life] to live is a universal right which cannot be quantified. No single species of living being has more of this particular right to live and unfold than any other species.”
This metaphysical idea is elucidated in Warwick Fox’s claim that we and all other beings are “aspects of a single unfolding reality”.[4]
As such Deep Ecology would support the view of Aldo Leopold in his book, A “Sand County Almanac” that humans are “plain members of the biotic community”.
They also would support Leopold’s “Land Ethic”: “a thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability and beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong when it tends otherwise.”
Daniel Quinn in Ishmael, showed that an anthropocentric myth underlies our current view of the world, and a jellyfish would have an equivalent jellyfish centric view.[5]
Deep ecology offers a philosophical basis for environmental advocacy which may, in turn, guide human activity against perceived self-destruction. Deep ecology and environmentalism hold that the science of ecology shows that ecosystems can absorb only limited change by humans or other dissonant influences. Further, both hold that the actions of modern civilization threaten global ecological well-being. Ecologists have described change and stability in ecological systems in various ways, including homeostasis, dynamic equilibrium, and “flux of nature”.[6]
Regardless of which model is most accurate, environmentalists contend that massive human economic activity has pushed the biosphere far from its “natural” state through reduction of biodiversity, climate change, and other influences. As a consequence, civilization is causing mass extinction. Deep ecologists hope to influence social and political change through their philosophy.

5.1 Scientific basis

Næss and Fox do not claim to use logic or induction to derive the philosophy directly from scientific ecology [7] but rather hold that scientific ecology directly implies the metaphysics of deep ecology, including its ideas about the self and further, that deep ecology finds scientific underpinnings in the fields of ecology and system dynamics.
In their 1985 book “Deep Ecology”[8], Bill Devall and George Sessions describe a series of sources of deep ecology. They include the science of ecology itself, and cite its major contribution as the rediscovery in a modern context that “everything is connected to everything else”. They point out that some ecologists and natural historians, in addition to their scientific viewpoint, have developed a deep ecological consciousness—for some a political consciousness and at times a spiritual consciousness. This is a perspective beyond the strictly human viewpoint, beyond anthropocentrism. Among the scientists they mention specifically are Rachel Carson, Aldo Leopold, John Livingston, Paul R. Ehrlich and Barry Commoner, together with Frank Fraser Darling, Charles Sutherland Elton, Eugene Odum and Paul Sears.
A further scientific source for deep ecology adduced by Devall and Sessions is the “new physics” which they describe as shattering Descartes’s and Newton’s vision of the universe as a machine explainable in terms of simple linear cause and effect, and instead providing a view of Nature in constant flux and the idea that observers are separate an illusion. They refer to Fritjof Capra’s “The Tao of Physics” and “The Turning Point” for their characterisation of how the new physics leads to metaphysical and ecological views of interrelatedness, which, according to Capra, should make deep ecology a framework for future human societies. Devall and Sessions also credit the American poet and social critic Gary Snyder—with his devotion to Buddhism, Native American studies, the outdoors, and alternative social movements—as a major voice of wisdom in the evolution of their ideas.
The scientific version of the Gaia hypothesis was also an influence on the development of deep ecology.

5.2 Spiritual basis

The central spiritual tenet of deep ecology is that the human species is a part of the Earth and not separate from it. A process of self-realisation or “re-earthing” is used for an individual to intuitively gain an ecocentric perspective. The notion is based on the idea that the more we expand the self to identify with “others” (people, animals, ecosystems), the more we realize ourselves. Transpersonal psychology has been used by Warwick Fox to support this idea.
In relation to the Judeo-Christian tradition, Næss offers the following criticism: “The arrogance of stewardship [as found in the Bible] consists in the idea of superiority which underlies the thought that we exist to watch over nature like a highly respected middleman between the Creator and Creation.”[9] This theme had been expounded in Lynn Townsend White, Jr.’s 1967 article “The Historical Roots of Our Ecological Crisis“, in which however he also offered as an alternative Christian view of man’s relation to nature that of Saint Francis of Assisi, who he says spoke for the equality of all creatures, in place of the idea of man’s domination over creation.

5.3 Experiential basis

Drawing upon the Buddhist tradition is the work of Joanna Macy. Macy, working as an anti-nuclear activist in the USA, found that one of the major impediments confronting the activists’ cause was the presence of unresolved emotions of despair, grief, sorrow, anger and rage. The denial of these emotions led to apathy and disempowerment.
We may have intellectual understanding of our interconnectedness, but our culture, experiential deep ecologists like John Seed argue, robs us of emotional and visceral experience of that interconnectedness which we had as small children, but which has been socialised out of us by a highly anthropocentric alienating culture.
Through “Despair and Empowerment Work” and more recently “The Work that Reconnects”, Macy and others have been taking Experiential Deep Ecology into many countries including especially the USA, Europe (particularly Britain and Germany), Russia and Australia.

5.4 Philosophical basis

Arne Næss, who first wrote about the idea of deep ecology, from the early days of developing this outlook conceived Spinoza as a philosophical source.[10]
Others have followed Naess’ inquiry, including Eccy de Jonge, in Spinoza and Deep Ecology: Challenging Traditional Approaches to Environmentalism, and Brenden MacDonald, in Spinoza, Deep Ecology, and Human Diversity—Realization of Eco-Literacies
One of the topical centres of inquiry connecting Spinoza to Deep Ecology is “self-realization”. See Arne Naess in The Shallow and the Deep, Long-Range Ecology movement and Spinoza and the Deep Ecology Movement for discussion on the role of Spinoza’s conception of self-realization and its link to deep ecology.

6 References

  1. ↑ Devall, Bill; Sessions, George (1985). Deep Ecology, p.70
  2. ↑ Næss (1973) ‘The Shallow and the Deep, Long-Range Ecology Movement.’ Inquiry 16: 95-100
  3. ↑ Harding, Stephan (2002), “What is Deep Ecology”
  4. ↑ Fox, Warwick, (1990) Towards a Transpersonal Ecology
  5. ↑ Quinn, Daniel (1995), Ishmael: An Adventure of the Mind and Spirit
  6. ↑ Botkin, Daniel B. (1990). Discordant Harmonies: A New Ecology for the Twenty-First Century
  7. The Shallow and the Deep, Long Range Ecology movements A summary by Arne Naess
  8. ↑ Devall, Bill; Sessions, George (1985). Deep Ecology
  9. ↑ Næss, Arne. (1989). Ecology, Community and Lifestyle: Outline of an Ecosophy. p. 187
  10. Spinoza and Deep Ecology

Operating Manual For Spaceship Earth

If you are in a shipwreck and all the boats are gone, a piano top buoyant enough to keep you afloat that comes along makes a fortuitous life preserver. But this is not to say that the best way to design a life preserver is in the form of a piano top.
I think that we are clinging to a great many piano tops in accepting yesterday’s fortuitous contrivings as constituting the only means for solving a given problem. Our brains deal exclusively with specialcase experiences. Only our minds are able to discover the generalized principles operating without exception in each and every special-experience case which if detected and mastered will give knowledgeable advantage in all instances.

It is obvious that the real wealth of life aboard our planet is a forwardly-operative, metabolic, and intellectual regenerating system. Quite clearly we have vast amounts of income wealth as Sun radiation and Moon gravity to implement our forward success. Wherefore living only on our energy savings by burning up the fossil fuels which took billions of years to impound from the Sun or living on our capital by burning up our Earth’s atoms is lethally ignorant and also utterly irresponsible to our coming generations and their forward days. Our children and their children are our future days. If we do not comprehend and realize our potential ability to support all life forever we are cosmicly bankrupt.

Only complete world desovereignization can permit the realization of an all humanity high standard support.


 Our labor world and all salaried workers, including school teachers and college professors, are now, at least subconsciously if not consciously, afraid that automation will take away their jobs. They are afraid they won’t be able to do what is called “earning a living,” which is short for earning the right to live. This term implies that normally we are supposed to die prematurely and that it is abnormal to be able to earn a living.

 To take advantage of the fabulous magnitudes of real wealth [Anm.: natural resources] waiting to be employed intelligently by humans and unblock automation’s postponement by organized labor we must give each human who is or becomes unemployed a life fellowship in research and development or in just simple thinking […] For every 100,000 employed in research and development, or just plain thinking, one probably will make a breakthrough that will more than pay for the other 99,999 fellowships. Thus, production will no longer be impeded by humans trying to do what machines can do better.


We may now raise our sights, in fact must raise our sights, to take the initiative in planning the world-around industrial retooling revolution. We must undertake to increase the performance per pound of the world’s resources until they provide all of humanity a high standard of living. We can no longer wait to see whose biased political system should prevail over the world.
 You may not feel very confident about how you are going to earn your right to live under such world-around patron-less conditions. But I say to you the sooner you do the better chance we have of pulling out of humanity’s otherwise fatal nose dive into oblivion.

Quotes from R.Buckminster Fuller: Operating Manual For Spaceship Earth. 1969

Zeitzeuge

Heute vor 40 Jahren fanden in den USA die letzten groß angelegten Friedensmärsche gegen den Vietnamkrieg statt, das sogenannte Moratorium. Dabei kam es u.a. vor dem Weißen Haus zu einer Massendemonstration, die beinahe ein weltweites Desaster ausgelöst hätte. Durch Courage in den Reihen der Sicherheitskräfte konnte dies verhindert werden. Neulich hatte ich das Vergnügen, einen Zeitzeugen kennenzulernen und veröffentliche dessen Erinnerungen mit seiner ausdrücklicher Genehmigung, auch der zur Nennung aller Namen.

I was a Sp4 in the 1/17th Airborne Cavalry of the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, NC in 1969… I was in the Army from 1967 to 1970.
During the weekend of the Moratorium, the 82nd Airborne Division was put on alert to go to Washington, DC, to ‘police’ the protest. Leaves and passes were canceled and the Division was ‘briefed’. We were told that the Moratorium was a cover for a violent government takeover by communists that was to be suppressed by any means necessary. We were told we were to go to the Moratorium with loaded weapons and if we felt it necessary to open fire, we would not be held responsible.

To the soldiers, after years of lies about the Viet Nam War, this meant a bloodbath against the protesters was the intended result of the action. At first, one soldier refused to accept a weapon, then more, and after a few hours, it was apparent that the soldiers, many of them Viet Nam Veterans, would not go and obey orders.

Personally, I refused the order at the door to the armory room and was told to go up to my platoon bay and wait. I did so, expecting to be alone in the bay and ultimately be either jailed for life or be killed for refusing orders. At the time, I had decided I would die for my country, if necessary, so I would as easily die when refusing an illegal order. As I sat there, more and more soldiers came up, without weapons, and we sat and played cards, not talking about it, all of us afraid but apparently resolute. I had decided I would rather go to prison than obey an order I consider against the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, which I had taken a vow to uphold. I was ordered to go down to see the Captain, and upon entering the office, I was confronted by a room lined with angry NCOs [Unteroffiziere] and Officers, with my Commanding Officer sitting at a desk.

He asked me if I had refused to take a weapon. I responded by reciting the Constitution that says that people have the right to assemble for regress of grievances, word for word, surprisingly doing it from memory, an astounding act I didn’t know I could do. My CO then told me I had to obey orders and THEN protest those orders. I responded by saying that ultimately it was every individuals responsibility to decide what they will do, regardless of other people’s orders, that I would not go to Washington and kill Americans exercising their rights regardless of orders.

We argued awhile, my demeanor exactly as expected by a soldier talking to his commanding officer, but making clear to him that my decision, regardless of what is done to me as a result, was not going to change under any intimidation. Finally he ordered me up to my bay, saying as I left that he was sorry that the Viet Nam war was not a ‘declared war’ so he could take me out and shoot me. At that point, I was willing to die for the People of the USA if it was decided to kill me, even if carried out by my own Army. I also decided I would be a pacifist from then on, a decision I have upheld since that day. War, regardless of reason, is obviously social insanity committed by an insane institution.

More soldiers were called down and returned. I have no idea what was said to them, because nobody talked about it. There was no ‘conspiracy’, no ‘subversion’, no agenda… it was completely spontaneous and unplanned, before, during, and after. I expected the news to carry the story, but apparently nobody spoke to the press about it. I am not, nor have ever been, a believer or member of any communist or any other ‘ism’. I consider them all equally stupid.

After hours of waiting, play cards and not talking about anything but cards, our NCO came up all smiles and we were given our leaves and passes back, and it was as if the incident never happened. Years later, I heard that the USSR had warned Nixon that if he dropped a nuke on Hanoi, the USSR would consider it a ‘first strike’ and retaliate massively. The Generals told Nixon it was a bluff, so Nixon ordered a nuclear bomb dropped anyway. Apparently the 82nd had to then tell Nixon that the soldiers would not come to Washington, where he was planning to announce the strike from the Oval office, -to be seen as ‘Presidential’-. Knowing that such an announcement might well cause the protesters to come through the fence of the White House like a Tsunami, Nixon recalled the B-52 and the bomb was not dropped. Under the Freedom of Information Act, I heard that the USSR considered the incident as important to them as the Cuban Missile Crisis was to Kennedy and was planning to retaliate just as they had warned. I believe that the world exists now because of the soldiers of the 82nd refusing, en mass, an illegal order by the President of the United States.

– (William Alan Fangohr aka Roan Carratu aka Worldmind,
mit der Nummer RA16961035 im Juni 1967 in die Armee aufgenommen und ehrenvoll entlassen im Juni 1970)

Bad English with good intentions

Fear separates us from each other. Fear is the key to division, possession, rules and laws and any kind of corruption. Remember “Addendum” where it displays corruption as the dominance of self-preservation.

So would you prefer to fight your fear by seeking security? Or is it more useful not to separate from each other and thus annihilate any conflict before it comes into existence?
What if we didn’t emphasize the ME any more – MY wishes, MY hopes, MY fear, MY interests, MY insight, MY way of life, MY property, MY security – and started thinking and acting as though we really were the change we wanted to see in the world?

For The Zeitgeist Movement is not simply about throwing overboards our belief in money, hierarchy and all the rest. WE are the ones who create our individual self. So WE separate the world into persons, groups, nations, races. So WE create borders, both visible and invisible, and property within the borders. So WE are the ones who create the feeling of the borders, of the property and of our beliefs being threatened. So WE create suspicion. So WE try to protect ourselves through fences, laws, patents, weapons and so on.
So WE are the system we want to overcome.

This is easier understood than actually lived, I know. But there is no way past the dissolution of the self(-interest) or we will end up with the same old mess on just a different day.
Beating the system by its own game won’t serve us well.

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