by Citizen Nobody, 21st Feb 2019
The word ecology is made up of two words “Ecos” and “logos.” Ecos means Earth home and logos means knowledge or wisdom and so ecology is the knowledge and wisdom of the Earth our home. The word “economy” means the management of our home. So it would seem wise to say that there must be unity between ecology and economy to create sustainability. The science of ecology is the understanding of the interactions of organisms and their relationships to the environment in which they live and how we cannot understand those organisms without first understanding their environment. And within this study of these relationships, there are two very different ethical points of view. There is Shallow Ecology and there is Deep Ecology.
One is political and one is spiritual. Both claim to seek in different ways to address the vast ecological crisis that we are now facing. To put this crisis into perspective it is a crisis of such profound magnitude that it threatens the future of human life existence upon this planet and one which we have not even begun to address or perceive never mind reverse as we climb the slow steady slope towards the apex of ecological disaster.
So if we are ever truly to address this crisis then the unity of the understanding of the ecology of nature and the economy of society should be seen as essential to sustainability.
Shallow Ecology looks at the relationships of organisms to their environment from a superficial point of view and from the perspective of what matters to “mankind.” It is a political ideology and fundamentally a human supremacist worldview from which all forms of domination have been born. A political ideology that seeks to put the needs of the human economic system, specifically that of the first world state capitalism – above the needs of the natural world. It is an ideology that seeks the continuation of the exploitation of nature of the “resources” (the life-breath of nature upon which our lives depend every second of life) needed to sustain industrialised civilisation and a capitalist economy.
This can be seen today within the political world with talk of green capitalism’s “Green New Deal” and “Green Energy” that are the Trojan horse for the total and final monetisation of the last remaining life support systems of the natural world. A marketing strategy to save capitalism under the guise of saving the environment. Or in other words – the wrong kind of green. This Shallow Ecology sees the human people as separate and above nature and sees the natural world as nothing more than a resource to be exploited to serve the needs of humans and the hierarchy of its social, political and economic systems.
Deep Ecology is a view that seeks to ask deeper questions about the interactions between the human people and the natural world as a whole. It is a perspective that says that the ecological crisis has been brought about by a crisis of perception and which seeks to realise the intrinsic value of nature not based on its usefulness to humans but upon the realisation that nature has value in and of itself irrespective of its usefulness to any economic system. That the river should not just have the right to flow freely, unpolluted and undammed purely because we can drink from it or that we should take care of the tree because the tree gives us air to breathe and wood to burn and fruit but that the river and the tree have value in themselves and so have as much right to exist freely as we the human people do.
So the spiritual perception of reality of Deep Ecology, unlike the politics of Shallow Ecology says that when we take from nature we should do so in balance and with respect and reverence and with gratitude not because we feel it is ours to exploit, dominate and own but because we value the right of all life to exist. This is a view that is not human supremacist and one that sees the human people as one strand of the many strands of the interconnected and interdependent network systems of nature and that if we are to create economies that are in unity with ecology, so therefore sustainable, then we must first understand how we fit in the natural order of the world and readdress our relationship to the reality of the natural world, what it means to be a human being and our place within it from a perception of reality that is much greater than our egocentric perspective of the world and certainly greater than the needs of any economic system.
Within western science, philosophy and indeed religion we have been conditioned to view the human being as the masters of the Earth and to view ourselves as separate from nature, not that we are a natural shape of this Earth but that we are disconnected and distinct from it. We have perceived nature in the totality of its forests and rivers and oceans and animals as being there to serve the needs of humans. That they are ours and we can use them for our purposes and that it is our right to do so. This world view has been extended into many aspects of the environmental movements today which take the view that we must preserve the forests and the rivers and the animals and the environment not because all the creatures and energies and life forces with which we share this world together have as much value and right to life as we do but because we need the resources of nature in order to sustain our way of life. The very cause of the ecological crisis in the first place.
The fact that electric cars and “green energy” will not stop this systems genocidal relationship to the natural world which is driving 200 plus non-human life forms to extinction everyday day in day out is not factored into this thinking. The purpose of this ideology is not to preserve and respect all life on this planet but to preserve the system that is actively destroying this planets ability to sustain life as we know it. This is what Shallow Ecology is, it is fundamentally an authoritarian supremacist ideology not only of the first world over the rest of the world (since we in the first world consume 80% of the world’s resources yet make up only 20% of the population) but of human beings supremacy over nature, that nature is something to be conquered and dominated for its usefulness to humans. That nature exists to serve the needs of the human people not that the human people exist to serve the needs of nature. A very important and crucial difference in perception. One authoritarian and one anti-authoritarian, since authoritarianism is the belief that the world exists to serve our needs not that we exist to serve the needs of the world as one whole totality of life.
We have been conditioned to view money as wealth, that the more of this illusion of wealth we have the richer we become and our economies are designed to generate and indeed perceived as successful if they generate enough of this perception of wealth. And yet it seems clear to me that the richer we become the more oppressive we are since the measurement of wealth within this system of destruction is our ability to consume and destroy by hyper exploiting the resources of the natural world. So there is therefore disunity between economy and ecology. The real wealth of the world is not held within the digits of a bank account of a CEO of a multinational corporation neither is it contained within the GDP of a nation state nor the trillions of $ that will be generated by the “Green New Deal” though the continued destruction of our life support systems. Real wealth is held within nature herself in all her beauty and many colours of life and the biggest danger to nature are those that put a dollar sign upon everything within the natural world while claiming they are doing so to save it.
Real capital is not what is in the banks it is what is in the natural world all of which nature gives freely to us for what price can we put on a rainforest or upon the oceans? Or the air we breathe? Or the ground beneath our feet? What price can we put upon the soil or a sky full of stars or a sunset or the song of the dolphin or a spring breeze that carries the seeds of the tree unto the soil to begin life again? A system that places monetary value on the destruction of such things and calls it wealth is a system of insanity. Which is why the most insane become the most powerful because this death urge, this death cult of capitalism, this destructiveness, this drive of the sociopathic authoritarian is what gets rewarded within this system of the oppressor for this is what generates its illusion of wealth that is destruction. There are those that say that humans are innately destructive however if this was true then we would not be here and the 99.9% of our history in which the human people did not destroy the planet would seem to prove this wrong. For we were once sane before we became conquered by this machine system that eats our spirit and calls it freedom.
There is a sacrifice going on within nature all the time, a dance that both gives and sustains life and the indigenous peoples of the world and their cultures (including the indigenous culture of Europe that existed long before it was conquered by the machine) have always known this. That is why they did not worship imaginary men in the sky nor the god of materialism and money and instead worshipped nature herself as sacred and holy and life-giving, the waters of life flowing within a river, the light of the sun, the stars the moon, the animals, the air, the trees, the wind, the rain everything was seen as holy and sacred and life-giving because it is. And when they ate they didn’t thank this imaginary being in the sky they thanked nature and when they prayed they prayed to nature and when they in acted rituals they did so in reverence and gratitude to nature for the gifts that nature gave them. And they never took more than they needed. There is a balance and sanity and indeed a beauty to this that we have tragically lost.
This was a much more sane perception of reality as they were in direct contact with reality and so understood that we are nature too and the drive that seeks to dominate and conquer nature would conquer us, and if we did not live in balance and unity with nature we would not survive as we would destroy the very thing on which we depend upon for our survival. And yet today we are no longer aware of this and in turn, we have created a system that is at war with nature so therefore is at war with us and if any economic system is ever to live in unity with ecology this must not only be understood and fully perceived and realised as the base of our worldview but must be the foundation of any economic system if it is ever to be sustainable. The Earth must be primary and economic systems secondary.
The changing of the energy systems that propel an economic system will not be enough if the perception of reality behind the economic system is not changed also. The green capitalism of the economic program of the Green New Deal, or any other economic program that seeks to extract its illusion of wealth through the destruction of nature is an attempt to save capitalism and it’s insane industrial corporate ruling class who own this system of destruction that is killing this planet, not to save the planet from it and them. This must not just be understood from an intellectual perspective that is merely words but perceived from an spiritual understanding of feeling as the foundation of reality. Technology will not solve this crisis and it’s not hard to see that the more technology we have the more destructive we become and the less freedoms we have. A fundamental revolution of spirit and the human heart is needed and one that perceives reality as it is not how we want it to be that once again we understand what it means to be a human being. Human beings who are sons and daughters of the Earth who share this world with our relatives, for we are all relatives we all share the same mother. Our Mother Earth.
A radical transformation of our minds and our hearts and our spirit based upon the unity of humanity and nature, from separation to unity, disconnection to connection. Only then will we understand how to live in balance with the natural world. And I’m not saying that the oil economy doesn’t have to go, it does. What I am saying is that this culture was killing this planet long before there was oil, oil has only accelerated that destruction. Oil is a symptom it is not the cause. The cause is the dominant cultures genocidal relationship to nature that places monetary value upon everything beautiful, wild and free upon this profoundly beautiful planet we call home. If we want to cure a sickness we must first know what the cause is before we can diagnose a cure. And if the diagnosis does not cure this abusers sickness this abuser that is this dominant culture must be stopped, brought down root to branch so that this planet can live and breathe and grow and heal again. We need to de-grow economies and regrow the living world.
These problems will never be solved by politics either as we cannot solve a problem by thinking in the way that created them. These problems are spiritual in essence and are an outcome of our spiritual defeat to a system that has detached us from who we are and has downsized our perception of ourselves and our relationship to reality. And by spiritual I don’t mean to imply anything supernatural nor any relationship to our metaphors of god. I simply mean the intrinsic and invisible qualities of life that when realised give birth to a sense of responsibility to each other that knows that everything touches everything, everything breathes together within this Earth our home and so must coexist with all the other forms with which we share this Earth and this reality together and on which we are all mutually dependent upon each other.
This is the real revolution and indeed the perennial philosophy of the human race and this is the war that must be fought. And it will not be fought by armies of men on a battlefield it will be fought in the hearts and the spirits of the human people for this systems war with nature does not simply exist outside of you, it exists within you since you are part of this world and you are part of nature and in the same way that this system mines the energies and minerals of the Earth it mines the energy of our spirit also. This is the dance of nature and we must dance this dance with ecology and economy dancing together in balance and unity as one being, one body, one whole for if we do not we will continue our cycle of destruction.
Nature is not the hierarchical world of domination that all too many evolutionary biologists have lead us to believe. It is not based upon competition and authority and hierarchy where one part has more value than the other, things do not exist higher or lower within the web of life only the patriarchal societies of the world view nature that way. The dominant culture of patriarchy is authoritarian and hierarchical so we have been conditioned to view nature this way and this conditioning is reflected in the insanity of the economic system. Rather, nature is a system of networks where nothing exists in isolation within this web of life and anything that is held in isolation is an abstraction enfolded within the totality of the whole of nature. The tree is a tree because of the soil, the rain, the sun, the wind and the air for without those things there is no tree. The tree does not stand alone nothing stands alone. We too are like the tree. Everything is connected nothing exists in isolation.
In 100 years time the things that will matter the most will not be the global state capitalism of Green New Deals. The Shallow Ecology of the Green New Deal is a capitalist system in crisis desiring to consume itself and this world by monetising the last remaining resources of the natural world and it will be done so like the exploitation of fossil fuels as before by the same corporations who value not life, not beauty, not the intrinsic value of nature herself but greed and profit and illusory concepts of power. And indeed an urge of destruction that is even beyond the ugliness of greed and profit. What will matter most is whether or not the air can be breathed or the rivers drank from and if the land will sustain life and whether or not we fought to save it from the insane that sought to destroy it in the name of money and wealth.
So if any economic system is to dance the dance of nature with ecology it must follow the flow of the river of life. Otherwise, those that seek to stand against this system will only perpetuate it. Will become the oppressor even in their rebellion. And that is and will be unforgivable. And the generations that come after us will never forgive us for stealing their future out of our selfishness and our greed and our refusal to think of them. Who could blame them? Not me. For the Earth is our mother and any child that turns on their mother is living in a terrible state of confusion.
What if the voice of the Earth has been silenced within us by society and separated us from our deepest connection to the natural world, disconnected us from our truest nature and put us in a state of profound grief? When we seek to respond to the ecological crisis what is it we are calling upon in us? If it is based upon fear or shame are we saying nothing binds us to nature other than those narrow emotions? What if there are stronger bonds of love to nature which has mothered us into existence? At a very deep level, the human psyche is grafted to the planet from which we have evolved. There is an ecological unconscious, ecological wisdom if not there we would not have evolved and survived. An energy which connects us to the natural world around us. The essence of sanity. What if we are part of this natural world? What if the Earth is our Mother? And what if this mothering planet is keeping you alive every second of your life? What if the ultimate collective to which we belong is the whole planet? Does this Earth not deserve our love? Should we not fight for her? We must complete the circle. Nothing will ever be more important.