Monday, October 20, 2008

Deep Ecology


If we are to achieve ecological sustainability, Nature can no longer be viewed only as a commodity; it must be seen as a partner and model in all human enterprise.

We begin with the premise that life on Earth has entered its most precarious phase in history. We speak of threats not only to human life, but to the lives of all species of plants and animals, as well as the health and continued viability of the biosphere. It is the awareness of the present condition that primarily motivates our activities.

We believe that current problems are largely rooted in the following circumstances:

  • The loss of traditional knowledge, values, and ethics of behavior that celebrate the intrinsic value and sacredness of the natural world and that give the preservation of Nature prime importance. Correspondingly, the assumption of human superiority to other life forms, as if we were granted royalty status over Nature; the idea that Nature is mainly here to serve human will and purpose.


  • The prevailing economic and development paradigms of the modern world, which place primary importance on the values of the market, not on Nature. The conversion of nature to commodity form, the emphasis upon economic growth as a panacea, the industrialization of all activity, from forestry to farming to fishing, even to education and culture; the drive to economic globalization, cultural homogenization, commodity accumulation, urbanization, and human alienation. All of these are fundamentally incompatible with ecological or biological sustainability on a finite Earth.


  • Technology worship and an unlimited faith in the virtues of science; the modern paradigm that technological development is inevitable, invariably good, and to be equated with progress and human destiny. From this, we are left dangerously uncritical, blind to profound problems that technology and science have wrought, and in a state of passivity that confounds democracy.


  • Overpopulation, in both the overdeveloped and the underdeveloped worlds, placing unsustainable burdens upon biodiversity and the human condition.


  • ...We believe that values other than market values must be recognized and given importance, and that Nature provides the ultimate measure by which to judge human endeavors.

    Deep Ecology Movement


    I find this one of the clearer, more inspiring statements to come from humanity.

    Its essential thought -- "We believe that values other than market values must be recognized and given importance" -- is the essence of traditionalism. Market values reflect popularity, popularity reflects the Pleasant Illusions of the masses rather than the sensible outlook that can be found through study, discipline, wisdom and experience. We can't trust popularity filters to get us the right answers, only popular ones.

    When you think about a motivation behind this blog, a deep ecology-like thought is its primary impulse: we rush around, desperate for the Next Big Thing, buying stuff and worrying about social status and who thinks what and blah blah blah it's all too tedious to mention, forgetting that society is a subset of reality.

    Read that again: society is a subset of reality. It represents, but does not enclose, life itself. It is an interpretation, a "knowing" in the Nietzschean sense that is not reality itself, but appears to our primate brains to supplant reality because, hey, we have to make a living selling these people stuff so what they think is real is right -- "the customer is always right."

    Deep ecology is an inherent part of traditionalism, and it's one of the few but vital areas where traditionalism diverges from conservatism. We believe in conservation because we recognize that we are a subset of nature, and that nature is inherently beautiful and spiritually important in its own right.

    Something for all four of my readers to think about as they go about their day-to-day lives.

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    Subvert the dominant paradigm, don't be a solipsist.

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