7 June 2009

Towards the 'Ecozoic'

We have indeed become strange beings so completely are we at odds with the planet that brought us into being. We dedicate enormous talent and knowledge and research to developing a human order disengaged from and even predatory on the very sources whence we came and upon which we depend at every moment of our existence. We initiate our children into an economic order based on exploitation of the natural life systems of the planet. To achieve this perspective we must first make them autistic in their relation with the natural world about them. This disconnection occurs quite simply since we ourselves have become insensitive toward the natural world and do not realize just what we are doing. Yet, if we observe our children closely in their early years and see how they are instinctively attracted to the experiences of the natural world about them, we will see how disorientated they become in the mechanistic and even toxic environment that we provide for them.
-- from The Meadow Across the Creek by Thomas Berry.

In a biographical note, Mary Evelyn Tucker links Berry to Teilhard de Chardin:
to have become conscious of evolution means something very different from and much more than having discovered one further fact… It means (as happens with a child when he acquires the sense of perspective) that we have become alive to a new dimension. The idea of evolution is not, as sometimes said, a mere hypothesis, but a condition of all experience.
For Teilhard and for Berry, writes Tucker
the perspective of evolution provides the most comprehensive context for understanding the human phenomenon in relation to other life forms. This implies for Berry that we are one species among others and as self reflective beings we need to understand our particular responsibility for the continuation of the evolutionary process. We have reached a juncture where we are realizing that we will determine which life forms survive and which will become extinct. We have become co-creators as we have become conscious of our role in this extraordinary, irreversible developmental sequence of the emergence of life forms.
(The photo of shipping container houses is from Poverty in America. The lily is in Glacier National Park, Montana. The boy swims in water at Cilincing, Jakarta.)

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