Thursday, October 11, 2012

Yoga socio-political manifesto


Nature should have priority.1 It's here first and sustains everything.

The guiding principle is ahimsa. Non-violence translated into deep & skeptic ecology, i.e, the interdependence of human and non-human life in a world out of joint. We cannot understand ourselves if we estrange ourselves from nature, but we're already estranged!   

Socio-political should start bottom-up, not top-down.2 We don't need to wait for the top to change. As actors close to the local/regional nodes of action, we can acquire the know-how to build connections and mobilize public opinion to challenge institutional and social alienation.

* From the bottom ---> up: The initial transformation is individual but it doesn't stop there. We are ONE: There is no true path without some form of dharma/activism.3

* The aporia of human anthropocentric emancipation: We need to see non-human life under a different optic. The Greeks of ancient times didn't realize that non-Greeks were persons. American plantation owners in the late-18th Century didn't realize that blacks were not inferior brutes. The majority of Americans don't realize that non-human animals are more than just foodstuff. We have an obligation to treat animals with dignity4 (our present animal farming needs to be transformed from intensive farming ----> extensive farming).

* The aporia of pollution vs. development: Blaming corporations in order to feel safely excluded from the pollution cycle, while feeding the very thing we try to prevent. We are the world's worst polluters! 5

* Though it may be a little late, the move towards eco-conservation is a social imperative. Let's fight to stop deforestation, to protect sea life from extinction (due to overfishing), ensuring ecological diversity for future generations. Yes, it seems daunting, but it begins by understanding, doing & telling others. 

* The aporia of technology vs. emancipation: What makes us human is a result of our cultural evolution: language, rituals, arts and technology. Yet, our anthropocentric-based culture is leading us to a dead end. Let's move from an anthropocentric to a bio-centric culture!6  Technology = Culture. Technology is not the enemy. Humans cannot live without technology. Yet, technology has the imperative to preserve the delicate balance of Nature.

* We must learn to curb and manage our waste: Reuse, donate, recycle! Food is the primary ecological exchange of energy. Our corporate-driven, production-intensive food paradigm needs to be redefined, from fast food ----> slow food. 7 Let's switch our eating habits and bring back food sacralization. Let's turn environmental degradation and human exploitation into eco-erotics!8

* The aporia of development vs. under-development9: Our post-Capitalist global society is craft-deprived. Globalization has outsourced our manufacturing and trade/skills base. Let's get back to cooking, arts and crafts, organic horticulture,10 etc. We should balance our individualistic tendencies with cooperation & communitarianism!

* Let's change our cities, fighting urban decay with environmental sustainability, changing ugliness into beauty.

* Let's become eco-Romantics!11 engaging in heritage conservation, infrastructure efficiency,  mass transit, regional integration, human scale, and institutional integrity.

* Let's transform our neighborhoods, building sustainable structures, limiting urban sprawl, reducing car dependence, promoting pedestrian friendly urbanism.12

What to do? 

Flipping Marxist formalism, let's turn the base into the superstructure. Our bid is for a different form of emergence: 

1 Aristotle's naturalism can be seen as a forerunner of eco-thics, as expressed by his dictum that Nature does nothing in vain. John Clearly, Aristotle and the Many Senses of Priority, (Southern Illinois University Press, 1988) p. 60. 2 We don't have to choose between markets (Welfare Capitalism) or governments, as instruments of emancipation (Communism, planned-economy Socialism). Nor is there need to eliminate markets, trade, private ownership, the welfare state, or the institution of the corporation. What we need to do is bring about new practices for each of these institutions appropriate to a balance between prosperity and conservation. This task belongs neither to corporations nor to states: They are incapable of questioning the legitimacy on which their present institutional form is based. Citizens, not big-money interests, have to set the terms of the economic and political agenda. This is the force of emergence: Millions of people joining voluntary movements, discovering that the good life is more fulfilling than the endless cycle of accumulation and consumption. Professor Steven Buechler makes a similar (hopeful) point: "Movements can be crucial switching stations in the direction of history (...)  vital free spaces that promote democratization and restore a meaningful public sphere." See Steven M. Buechler, Social Movements in Advanced Capitalism: The Political Economy and Cultural Construction of Social Activism (Oxford University Press: 2000) p. 214.  Enacting Niyama at the social level can bring about a life of material sufficiency with cultural, intellectual, and spiritual abundance in balance with the environment. By osmosis, the social level can bring about needed changes in the political sphere. 3 One's embeddedness in a particular context: job, household/family, or community can lead one to recognize a problem, learn about community needs, and find a way to make life better through new -or reconfigured- social linkages.  4According to philosopher Tom Regan, animals have "inherent value" as subjects-of-a-life, and cannot be regarded as a means to an end. See, Tom Regan, The Case for Animal Rights, (University of California Berkeley, 2005) p. 245. 5The United States has 4.2% of the world's population and produces 24% of the world's C02 emissions. 6One must be careful not to write off culture, as if humans have fallen from paradise straight into some artificial exile of civilization. This is where the ancient Greeks can help. They understood that us humans are not completely "natural" but rather the site of a collision of nature and culture, which uniquely defines us. See Bruce Thornton, Plagues of the Mind: The New Epidemic of False Knowledge (ISI Books, 1999) p. 96.  7 "Slow food" goes against the received notion that cheap food = good food. Carlo Petrini, the man behind this movement defends the "unpolitical" idea that cheap food is really expensive, bad food, when compared with good, clean, carefully harvested food. He is right. In his book, Petrini advocates the idea of "gusto" (taste) and diversity. There is a correlation between slow food and health, which makes slow food more enjoyable. The locus for this revolucion is la osteria, a place where one can find "traditional cuisine run as a family business with simple service, welcoming atmosphere, good wine and moderate prices." See Carlo Petrini, Slow Food, the Case for Taste (Columbia University Press, 2003) p. 51-58. "Cheap food" is a Capitalist ploy to misrepresent real capital allocation and profit in the name of "abundance," hiding government subsidies for monoculture and intensive production which end up as profit for Big Business in food and energy. Take for instance American corn policies: We subsidize corn while (protect Monsanto's right to sell it to farmers as genetically modified seed). Coincidentally, corn is the foodstuff staple for raising cattle in the US (funded by whom?) and an energy commodity. Wonder why such a labor-intensive commodity such as meat is so cheap? Corn is heavily fertilized — both with chemicals like nitrogen and with subsidies from Washington. Over the past decade, the Federal Government has poured more than $50 billion into the corn industry, keeping prices for the crop — at least until corn ethanol skewed the market — artificially low. That's your Big Mac @ McDonald's, a $5 meal bargain, with 1,400 calories (more than half the daily recommended requirement for adults). 8 I thank my friend Gene Ray from Scurvy Tunes, for his suggestion. I'd like to spin his idea of eco/erotics as an embodied striving for well-being that connects us with the animal and non-animal other (life). The opposite of eco/erotics is eros gone astray, a perversion of Nishkam Karma. A desire in the form of a will-to-control that aims to secure itself by mastering all around it. Ridden with anxiety, this eros reduces other to self. In fact, there are examples of such versions in modern times: Certain "peak" historic moments, when factors motivating nations and individuals, such as the desires for profit, security, and hegemony got transformed militaristic erotics. 9 It turns out that the mantra of "emancipated" Communist development in Eastern Europe, Africa, and the Caribbean throughout the 1960's-1980's consisted in mimicking the Capitalist "anthropocentric development" model: 1- constant growth, 2- domination of nature, 3- industrialization and technologization of production and society at the expense of environmental degradation, abandonment of agriculture (land reform in this case meant very little, since arbitrary and exploitative prices were set by the bureaucrats, not by the farmers), massive migration to the cities, urban unemployment and loss of crafts skills. The deterioration of nature brought by these mistaken policies, was invoked by the communist  bureaucracies as a step in the right direction for the attainment of development. 10 Who would think of pursuing horticultural studies in Miami, now, when the expected move of disenfranchised farmers is from the rural areas to the city? Precisely! This overall migration has to do with the switch from farmer-produced to corporate-produced agriculture. How can one reverse it? By encouraging a more simple living. Diversifying instead of homogenizing food consumption; by making good, simple food (not gourmet food) a desired commodity, so that corporations are forced to alter their mode of production. Surely, one must be watchful of corporation's good intentions! It's all about awareness. Are people ready for it? After the subprime mortgage crisis, the Upper Big Branch Mine disaster, and BP's gulf disaster, the answer is yes. 11 The new eco-Romantic is committed to ecological flourishing, but she is neither anti-technology, nor naive in her political expectations about Messianic utopias. The traditional Romantic lived in a paradox he was blind to. (H)e deprecated technology from his studio in the industrial-brought comfort of the pre-Modern city. We must see the good and bad in technology. The Industrial Revolution cannot be simply undone (the remedy would be worst than the disease). It needs to be transformed. Technology can serve us in using the ecosystem resources more efficiently. On the other hand, there is a strong historical relationship between growth in economic output and growing human demands on the earth's finite ecosystem. We've pushed since 1950's the human burden on the planet's regenerative systems, its soils, air, water, fisheries, and forestry systems beyond what the planet can sustain. Anthropocentric "development" is not the answer. Pushing for economic growth beyond the planet's sustainable limits accelerates the rate of breakdown of the whole. It also intensifies the competition between rich and poor for the earth's remaining output of life-sustaining resources. 12 See my  "Miami's Urban Mess.

I'm closing this post next Wednesday at 11pm. 


Jonathan Kohn said...

Not sure what to make of this, a lot is being said and is also very general. First thing that came to mind was George Carlin;

Anonymous said...

Jonathan, regardless of how general it is, I think you can do better than that, for example taking a point you agree or deeply disagree with.

Rodrigo Sandoval said...

Nature does have priority in the world, it just that we (humans) think it doesn't, we think that we have taken it down one spot, and replaced it with what? In the end its all a mixture of natural elements. (buildings)
So my question is what it this really about? "We have to go back to nature" is a remark many people say, or "we have lost touch with our roots." I dont agree 100% with that, I believe that we have changed our medium for doing things, but the motivation remains the same.
I dont think that if a caveman somehow found a supermarket he would not make it a routine to go get his food there.

In order to change our lives and be more "with nature" i believe we have to evaluate what effort we do for the things we want.

As for this being a "political" manifesto i disagree with that also, yoga is only political if you choose to view it that way because yoga is about detachment, and politics is all about interest.

I do agree with change being from bottom to top, in my personal experience I realized this when I understood I couldn't change the way my parents are to change who I am.

What I mean with all this is that we look at ourselves and compare us with a contrasting image of our ancestors, and "scorn" ourselves because of the shame we feel or fear that we might destroy the earth. How conceited to think that our tiny presence can destroy something so big? (In any case we would generate a mass storm that destroys all of us, since the planet is a self regulating movement of energy.)
But we compare our lives to the ones of people that didnt have the resources we do, dont you think that people 200 yeas ago would have loved cell phones too?

It all comes down to sustainability how to make the waste of one thing fuel another and that's the future

The enemy is guilt, not time Triff

More, Noah said...

I don't support the imprudent attitude some of us have towards our planet and fellow creatures, mainly due to the "immediate" negative consequences which sometimes follow. However, the anticipation of a sustainable pollution-free world, I feel is improbable.

To me, nature being a priority is prominent, not for earth's well-being, but for mine... i.e., as a parent, you "prioritize" your child, not because you have the "worlds" best interest in mind...

Earth’s believed to have been around for approximately four and a half billion years, constantly evolving and going through phases: species have come and gone, capricious temperatures, natural disasters, etc.

With that said, our insolence that we control earth's destiny, I find to be arrogant and narcissistic... my presumption is that, "anthropocentric" is stimulated by religion.

Human codes, maybe even the Ten Commandments, should be practiced not from "fear" but "unconditional will/love". It isn't uncommon to witness a religious person hiding behind a bible... a "crime" for instance, shouldn't be committed, not due to fear of consequences from god/government, but rather personal morals and merit.

Francisco Silva said...

It's an intriguing concept that "nature should have priority because it was here first and sustains everything." But people tend to think about themselves first and what is best for their own being. This is also bad faith, lack of knowledge and understanding. Many have clear conscious mind of what can be accepted as wrong or right, but they lie to themselves to indulge in the momentary pleasures that non-human life can bring.They use, they abuse, they destroy, they do not conserve, they do not recycle, they do not protect. Unfortunately many are not aware and make no effort to understand how nature plays primordial impact in human life. That leads to self destruction. As it was said, "we are already estranged from nature." And yes, every and each of us should get involved, act with good faith, educate the uneducated, absorb and digest the principles of Ahimsa and Satya. Human beings are selfish, self-centered, and copycats. They tend to follow a prevailing custom, mold and shape their lives according to what is the latest style. For those who are educated, who have understanding of ethic principles, who have true commitment to what is genuine, they should spread, disseminate and profuse the idea of environmental sustainability, eco-conservation, communitarianism and embrace the bio-centric culture. By doing so, the fashionista world of copycats, would have a vigorous cause and eco-friendly trend to follow.

Jorge Dominik said...

Nature should come first, it is creator of all, including humans.

I do not beleive that humans in general see themselves as part of nature enough to even acknowledge that we are animals, or creatures.
There are only pompous justifications: thumbs, thought, or speech, as equal proofs. Proofs that humans are not, will not be, and never were animals. We are estranged "beings", aliens in our own home planet.

"3 monkeys sittin' under a coconut tree
Discussing things as they are set to be
Said one to the others
Now listen you two
There's a strange rumor that can't be true
They say man was descended from our noble race
But the very idea is a big disgrace
No monkey ever deserted his wife
Or her baby to ruin their lives"
-Damian Marley

This is like a poem from the turtle's POV. Damian marley uses the concept of evolution from the inside looking out, speaking as a group of monkeys. Once you look at life openly and honestly, one can accept a role in nature and progress with it as opposed to disregarding facts of life. As an individual this may be easy for some people, but enlightenment is different for everybody. I once tried to show my cousin that our genetics are almost all chimp, he was disgusted by the very notion .

Tabitha-Alison Lima said...

I do believe nature should always come before the needs of others. Most of us as humans have excluded nature from their daily thinking of life and just constantly substitute nature’s beauty with artificial beauty of fake plants and genetically engendered coloring. We do need to realize that nature is now in the back of our minds as we walk down the streets and the only green we see is not grass, but dirty polluted water on the ground and or imported trees that naturally don’t belong here. I personally believe the laws of nature should be enforced, even though it may be too late.

For the animals to be treated with dignity and respect, we would have to change the corrupt minds of thousands. The farmers and corporations running the animal farms do not really care if it is harming nature as long as they get their money. It doesn’t matter if the cow in front of them is suffering, they can sleep at night knowing they have money in their bank accounts. People would rather get the job done then waiting for an animal to naturally die.

This brings me to the topic of the laziness in mankind now these days. I am not generalizing because there are some environmental lovers out there (shout out), but not enough. Just because some passer by reads an article on how pollution is hurting the earth, they may feel that they are going to die long before that happens, so why bother?

Not everyone sees the world like others, and frankly technology is brainwashing into modern slaves of the future. The city of Miami Beach would be beautiful if they would stop building “modernized” condominiums that block others views of the ocean. You can’t even gain entry on some parts of the beach around Collins unless you live at that condo that owns that property.

People’s morals have changed over time. Money over design. The worst part is, Nature doesn’t seem to exists in Miami’s future, unless it’s artificial, or you can make profits of it.

Brian Daniel Farin said...

Nature shouldn't have to unnecessarily suffer due to human behavior and actions. They are inhibitors of this Earth just as we are, and therefore deserve to be treated with dignity. However, when needed for normal human consumption, survival and growth, even for more than basic needs, nature can be utilized. Of course, there shouldn't be extra pollution, animal cruelty, or ignorance about global issues that we face, but to inflate the issue to the point of suggesting things such as protest, civil disobedience, and social graffiti, is preposterous. If anything, such behavior would just annoy those people that actually have the ability to create programs and methods for conservation of nature and animals. Acting like an animal won't save the animals. The root of the problem (which is likely much less grave than what is suggested by people that claim to advocate for environmentalism) is the lack of education (not memorizing facts, but real education---connecting to the ideas being taught and internalizing them) about the human-nature interactions. No one criticizes Native Americans for their hunting, fishing, or crafting BECAUSE they were conscious of the deep seated relationship between us and nature. Recycle, yes. Conserve, yes. If people would clean up their own neck of the woods, slowly the world will become a more aware place. Regarding global warming and larger issues...don't delude yourself in thinking that humans can fix the larger scale issues---This world has a design of its own when it comes to temperature and its stages. Work on the small issues like civilized human beings, and maybe your kids and grandchildren will feel the difference.

Jacob Sims said...

I completely agree with a lot of points made throughout the posting and I think they are very ideologically sound. However, when it gets to the bottom line of implementing these changes it is kind of unrealistic. I would love for people to be more conscious of their impact on the environment and other life forms but as I've said in other comments, it won't happen on a large enough scale until McDonalds closes down or the X-Factor stops airing until people give a shit. Everything our society has been building towards for the last 30 years - the values we promote in every facet of the media is the antithesis to a movement that requires a level of self-actualization. It would require the world to put less (or no) importance on consumerism and take the human ego down about fifty notches. That just won't happen. As a society we promote the idea of ego to the extent that it is commonplace to hear the word "healthy ego" thrown around.

A reintegration of the reverence of nature into a society that is completely controlled by anything NOT of nature is too far from possible at this time. We need to find an equilibrium with technology and nature. How much we prioritize this is crucial, but from the looks of it, it'll need more time to fester before we really change our lifestyles.

Jonathan Kohn said...

All humans acts are ultimately self serving; its how we evolved. Those who see themselves as altruists are merely acting in bad faith. I dont even think that the collective human civilization has what it takes to save the Earth; we cant even take care of each other, why are we even considering taking care of the earth if all we do is kill each other? Regardless, all things come to an end, the sun will eat this planet and life on earth will cease to exist. I think we should just take a step back and enjoy life. For those born in this country, its so easy to point fingers, like we discussed in class how its so easy to judge history. I would say this also applies to us today, how many of use really make a difference? How many of us really have the capability of even making a difference?

I love and respect nature. But life is not a zero sum game. I think I want to achieve certain things, I see a future for myself. As long as I want to "do something", something has to be exploited. Whether it be cows for me to eat, or trees for me to read, its just a consequence, I think all this discussion is some ways is just nonsense and a waste of time, nothing ever gets done, nothing will ever get done..

Domonique Devereaux said...

though yoga is in search for satya, and believes in ahisma , it is a total ironic call to say whether protest is right or wrong in this case, this is why i would say, yoga is political.

Alex Sosa said...

Sustainability is the key word here. Can we become more sustainable to save our earth. There are people who think so, and have started movements in order to do so.

Take for example the Eastern Islanders. They began using resources at a rate where the environment did not have a chance to regenerate those resources. We must not use any resources faster than our environment can produce them. Because of the Eastern Islanders not using sustainability as a way of living, they eventually all died, and what was once a great society, simply vanished.

Are we heading in the same direction? We can start all the organizations that we want to talk about sustainability and how if we don't change we will eventually face the same inevitable doom as the Eastern Islanders. However, that wont change anything; we are naturally selfish beings and if a problem (whatever it may be) is not affecting us right now, we don't see a need to change our behavior.

R. Kitchens said...

While I think this all was very romantically put, I completely agree that moving away from lofty, abstract ideas and moving towards concrete actions is the only way to create balance our rapidly developing world. Without personal action and a better, more purposeful relationship with nature we will never be able to assign meaning to the aporias aforementioned.
We tend to assume people that are already living ecologically sound lifestyles are new age waifs or hippies or what-have-you, but those people seem to be the most content and positive people I know. Their personal decision to start from the bottom- up and change the pollution cycle and irresponsibility of our generation, is what has made the most impact on me to live in balance with nature and development.
While ideas like dharma and ahimsa are useful in understanding the philosophical underpinnings of why nature matters, the real concrete changes that people are making are what actually matter. Real actions give real meaning to this manifesto.

Ernesto A. Soto said...

Nature should always come first. We humans have fallen into this dark hole in which we are unable to see or in other words choose not to see that if we don’t make a change soon our future generations will be left with nothing. I’ve come across many whom have told me that it’s not their problem because they will most likely be dead by then. I find that to be extremely selfish because as the old saying goes, do on to others as you would have others do to you. I’m 100% sure that if they were in the shoes of the future generations they would certainly not feel the same way. The one and only solution to this major problem is coming together and making some extreme but necessary changes. Unless that happens then there is no hope for our planet.

Fatimah Chavez said...

In the long run i believe that we are nature and that we need to learn how to embrace the beauty of un artificiality . I also believe that we need to take initiative towards making change .How many are willing to make change ? i don't know , but i do know that we need to start at some point . If we who are mostly the source of every problem mentioned don't make change or attempt to take initiative then who will ?

King Felix said...

I feel my previous response largely covers the issues in this post. However I'll take the chance to point out stress that the differentiation in value that the Greeks and slave owners saw was an "inter-human" prejudice, not inter-species prejudice. I have to, in good faith, stress the difference in KIND (not degree) between man and "non-human" animals because it's precisely what safeguards our rights to begin with. If it wasn't a matter of kind but degree then the line would be significantly blurred, and our basic, natural disposition to recognize the evident ontologically precious and valuable superiority of humans over other living beings is compromised (no one would naturally feel or sincerely think, that the destruction of a rose is of even a remote equivalence to the destruction of a child).

I'm also a little intrigued at the contemporary secular, liberal tendency, to be attracted to anarchistic principles in theory, but in practice to vote for representatives (like president Obama) who seek to expand the scope of the federal government to unprecedented degrees. Unprecedented degrees which are already infringing upon the freedom of religious practice through the belligerent implementation of the "HHS" mandate; which will force people opposed to most birth control measures in principle via crippling fines, to pay for those services which are antithetical to their religious and thus moral convictions. This is beyond individual moral views on the matter of contraception. This is a matter of whether or not the federal government has the right to homogenize the morality of a country. This makes the strong arming of businesses to ban indoor smoking look like a kindergarten scuffle. So to champion anarchistic principles and support politicians who seek to significantly centralize power in the federal government is incoherent.

I pray, as a true sympathizer to the principle of subsidiarity and anarchistic visions, that this man is stopped somehow, and that religious people may have the right to practice their faith in peace, as other churlish people have the right to place their faith in pee.

Anonymous said...

Humans damaging the environment we humanity have a remarkable ability to define the world in terms of human needs and perceptions. However, we forget about Mother Nature’s urgency to maintain a balance, purity and the need for time to replenish the resources we extract so quickly such as recycling, many people don’t recycle in our society it should be enforce to create less trash in the streets, keeping beaches cleaner and if everyone would recycle the cities, would be a much more cleaner place. Society has now been educated and shown greater conserve our ecosystem, but it will take much time before we see results from our work and that is if is not too late. Throughout history, humanity has implemented much new technology with an uncertainty of its effect on the environment. As, science, technology and population increase so must our awareness of the environment. The earth must be healthy in order to provide us with the essential needs we require. We should improve every day to have a cleaner place and to keep our cities cleaner.

Amarilis Martinez

Christian Garcia said...

I very much like the "eco-romatics" bit. I can agree on the points stated in this post, but the prioritization of nature seems like such a farfetched idea in this modern day we live in. The general population struggles everyday to achieve what they believe in, and sadly but truthfully, not many of these persons believe in saving the planet. If I can put into use some of the terminology I've learned in class, the modern human has molded society into a realm of ego centrism, and it only shows how we've grown as a race to be completely enveloped within ourselves; a world solely comprised of "Atman" if you will. I can wholeheartedly say that I believe everything to be interconnected, that Atman is Brahman, and the very reason that nature is rapidly diminishing is because the human race has estranged itself from this very concept, thus cutting the ties we had to this one unity with the earth and everything in it. The second that life is on the brink of extinction is when we, the general population, will act profusely to change our ways, and will evolve into a new state of consciousness.

Herlan Quintana said...

I agree strongly with most of the commentary posted here. Nature is something very sacred and is the main priority to keep it always sustained in this planet because without it how can we ever survive for thousands of years more? I believe though that it’s really not the human or humans that are to blame in this situation even if we play a strong role on its continuing defection. This begins with the standing powers that are in control in major sections of the world. Their ability of implementing the single idea in our minds is inevitable because we sadly enough are very weak minded and our whole lives is based around commercializing of the material wants in society so on so forth. The higher governments are no longer caring about nature and its huge necessity required for us to remain on the earth therefore we are like lab mice in a cage and our master is what controls and has the defining power to do whatever it wants with our cage and ourselves. So really the only way to change this before it’s too late for nature and us is to just remove the current powers whatever measures are needed but something has to change but the question would be is it really to late for us? If the idea has already been implemented and can we no longer empty our minds from this delusional construction and start anew?

Anonymous said...

my Continuation to relevant post...
if a non human animal had the same intelligence and language as a human, would he over indulge? Would he be irresponsible with resources for his personal fulfillment? Man does not see himself in all nature, just what he chooses. In order to understand the essence of Brahman- man must be able to see himself in the dirt, shit, tree,leaf,roach ect.

Anonymous said...


Maria Garcia said...

I agree with many of the points here. I do believe that most of our environmental problems can be solved if we started be more actively involved in trying to get our government to change their views on the importance of having a greener living. For example, last night while watching the presidential debate Romney said after pointing out Obama's involvement in greener energy,that he is on the losers' side. How is green energy the loser side? Just because oil companies are huge corporations, that make more money and have more social status does make them the winning side. It's the side that just look more appealing, because its more powerful. But really how can something thats ending so son be so appealing, we need oil companies' rule will soon end. How can we continue living if we do not take care of the one thing we know we cannot survive without? We the people, are the ones that start the change how can we change the "leaders" if we do not apply the ideals we are fighting in our own lives. True revolutionary action start with the self.

Marisabel Lavastida said...

A fellow classmate made a statement the other day in class that things like the occupy movement haven't done or changed anything because people are still dying(I respect this opinion but i disagree mostly because of my direct involvement in Occupy). I was disturbed by the statement since it reflected most people's all-or-nothing attitude(you either save the world or you're a complete failure). It seems that if immediate political solutions (effective laws passing or someone decent getting elected) aren't available to list off, then no progress is being made in a movement.
The flaw with this mentality is the identification of the problem. At least in the United States, our problem is deeper than a political one. We pride ourselves as Americans for living in a nation that respects civil liberties and the right of the people to govern themselves. At some point we culturally accepted apathy as a virture, we resigned from paying attention to what our lawmakers were doing, and decided we were not smart enough to handle the world of politics. Although many manipulating factors (the infiltration of greed and fear by those seeking power*) had a hand in our resignation from ruling ourselves, it was ultimately the day-to-day average people who did not fight back when our democracy was sold to the highest bidder.
I heard a radio interview with the non-profit group YES that works as a support group for the young LGBT community. This interview touched upon something great because the organization's purpose is not to change policy but to have community conversations to inform. The representaive of YES gave a great example that it did not matter if they ban the word "faggot" in the classroom if the students to do not understand how the word is hurtful or discrimminating.
You can burn down the evil business *coughwalmartcough* but I would rather it be abandoned and fall on its own. THAT is a greater impact than just burning it. I want people, out of their own will, not walk into that building. If I burn it down, another will be built (maybe this time not so flamable). It is about getting to the root of the problem, not about listing off "results" on a resume of a movement to try and qualify results. Movements like occupy are leaderless because they encourage people to be empowered and create the change themselves. We have to all be leaders for a change of the status quo can can happen.
The root of every problem is individual and so is the solution. I find it interesting that our usual scape goat is this elusive "society". Blaming society is how we like to ban together in conversations about our destruction, but what exactly is this society that "tells" us how to behave? Aren't WE society? Instead of living in fear of the great and powerful "society" we can be relieved that it is us (not some external boogey man), and we have the possibility of changing the outside when we face our own habits which eventually add up to a changed society.
Its impossible to give a cure to a disease you have not overcome. Social change only comes through individual change.

Anonymous said...

I agree that the way we treat our earth should be deeply rethought and replanned to fit those of our human couunterparts and our non-human ones. There are very little things that are more important than the way that we protect the wildlife that we have. We are destroying the evidence of our own evolution in many ways. How will we be able to teach our children where we truly came from, if we have no evidence but the DNA in petri dish? Its not only those that we feel like are in our likeness, primates. Its important to show the different types of roads that were taken through adaptation and all the benefits that the earth has awarded us. Are we really willing to sacrifice the farm raised fish for the extinction of the beautiful ecosystem that was shaped and painted by the most vibrantly curious colors of our universe?

This isn't the kind of diversity we can lose without knowing that we really have lost. There will be one day that we will wake up and look at how much we have done. And everyone will blame one another, the politicians will blame the inactive population, the scientists will blame the ignorant, the population will blame the corporations, the corporations will in turn blame capitalism. And sooner or later, everyone will start blaming an idea.. instead of the inhabitants. The root of the evil that stepped on the source of life will become invisible. As we soon will be.

I believe in moving from the inside in. I can admit that preserving the earth isn't something that I feel is my calling. But I can't help to think that those preaching to the polluters do have a bigger stage that they aren't exploiting. While they try to keep themselves from blame, do they really think they will feel no guilt? In order to change, we must have leaders that will sacrifice (theres that word again) their livelihood to make sure a movement is carried out. I get it, you feel closer to the earth when you are high, next to the dirt. But you are part of a society, a society that will soon destroy the earth that you seek to feel closer to. And you think the best you can do... is to sit down and join the facebook group for hemp? You can't play a "small" part of a revolution, when there is NO revolution.


Paul Lee said...

I have tried to grasp the concept of reality through my vision of what is right and wrong through my eyes only, this has allowed me to shield endless information that would allow me to grasp a general concept of the things around me.
I have since learned that the best way to obtain knowledge is to really listen to your peers and the people around you, objectively.
Your main focus should be on yourself and how you influence the things around you.
I feel strongly that people should adapt to their environment within, before confronting their external environment.
Within the Dhammapada, flowers, would better explain my view on the subject.I believe that this passage
greatly describes an alternative towards self destruction. If you look at basic ethics,Capitalism would ceased to exist in my opinion.

Anonymous said...

Things I have hypothesized: maybe the nature to our species' narcissism is a result of an evolutionary cycle. This isn't to say we shouldn't save our planet, but perhaps all the burdon shouldn't be placed solely on us ( however you wish to define "us"). There are aspects about our nature that cannot be explained, in this case, our utter egocentrism. We truly have been set apart from the source.

On a stranger note, I ponder whether a wild animal attains narcissistic thoughts while killing its prey... A way of understanding ourselves is by being placed in the minds of other animals--this, however, cannot be. -Juan Lopez

Angel Martelo said...


Your first assertion is that "nature should have priority," because of "it" being here first, as well as sustain everything. The solution(we can all see that there is something wrong, though the source of the overall problem may be more difficult to locate and identify) you propose is that we, as humans, adopt a bio-centric perspective rather than a anthropocentric one. I can see why one might think that anthropocentrism is the problem. A vast "amount" of unnecessary suffering of the inhabitants(which includes humanity) of this world does seem to stem from our lack of consideration or rather a lack of empathy towards other life-forms, and even more disheartening, towards ourselves(individually and collectively). Interestingly enough, it's the eastern catholic view that the root of all evil is philautos, an excessive(I believe the keyword here should be excessive) concern with one's self. I suppose that moving from a mainstream understanding of anthropocentrism towards bio-centrism might broaden our perception of the economy of life, which might lead to the realization of certain(and even important/beautiful truths). However, the bio-centric view is still limited and inferior in respect to our remembrance of our place within the cosmos. What we need is, what I guess I'll term(term poorly that is) as true anthropocentrism. We, as human beings, do need to focus on ourselves and figure out who and what we are, why are we here, what is our purpose in the economy of life, why do we possess the capacity that we do to affect our surrounding, etc. I believe that genuine environmentalists(I emphasize genuine because of the video Jonathan Kohn, which despite how cynical and pessimistic Carlin was, he brought up some valid points) are probably unknowingly being guided by a subconscious desire to rise up and awaken from our fallen state of slumber.

I believe it was the former pope which stated, "man is a mystery to himself." He will not be able to act accordingly in relation to the rest of the "web of life" if he does not understand his place in it. Telling man that he is the same as the animal kingdom(rather than physically arising out of the animal kingdom) simply because they are both a form of life, both suffer pain, both have eyes, or any other similarity will not lead man to his identity or place within existence.

Once we awaken to our true selves, we will clearly see our relation to the rest of creation, and that perspective will include an element of bio-centrism, but will not be focused on nature, instead it will focus on "Something" even greater which transcend temporal reality altogether, on "Something" which gave rise to all things for the purpose of love and to enter communion with creation, through us.

Nature is sacred not due to itself but because its sacredness is derived from the "Source" which brought it into being. Humanity will not be able to respect in its due entirety the sacredness of nature without discovering the Source, who is God. It's because of our coming forth into being in His image that we can be in awe of His work, and by default, desire to protect and preserve it. That is something that we do not share with the animal kingdom. Our realization of our purpose will ultimately lead to the care of animals and the environment, our loss of identity will only lead to destruction.

alevalde said...

I agree with a lot of the things mentioned in this post. We really should strive for change. Each individual action will eventually make a change. From the bottom up, if we focus on our duties, or dharma, for changing and healing the earth and environment then we can make a genuine change globally. I think if we continue to think "my actions will not make change" and millions of others think the same then nothing will ever happen. Everything always begins with one and with your self first.

I feel the same goes for pollution, animal rights, GM foods, urban decay and just about anything that is affecting people on a wide scale and the earth.
These selfish acts for profit can be the end to many species, lands, and possibly ourselves.

Melissa said...

Before Westernization, many people had an understanding of nature(Africans, Asians, Native Americans). There was a respect for the environment around them as they sought to live in harmony with it, and ultimately learned from nature. According to the Bible, man was created to have dominion over the Earth and all the creatures in it. The U.S. took this concept and came up with Manifest Destiny. The Cherokee have a similar foundation, but they consider themselves to be keepers, or protectors. When you are given a title, you are supposed to uphold the title; it is the corrupt that do not. It is only recently, with industrialism, colonialism, and capitalism, that we are running into the massive environmental problems that we are today. It’s only very recently, with civil rights and freedom of speech, that we are even able to speak against religion or government.

Yes, technically it should start from the bottom up. But we live in a world were the top is so high, that for us to reach it, we would have to learn how to fly(maybe meditation). It is time for everyone to realize the little bit of true fact that we know. This is our home and we are destroying it-we are destroying ourselves. This can’t be the way our world ends, with us being so “sophisticated” and “civilized.” Solutions are out there, but they would not require dependence on corporations, they would require self-reliance. If only the government protected the people instead of the corporations, we would not be in the position we are in now, but that most certainly does not mean that things can’t change. It is up to us, but at the cost of having to convince the wicked of this world to change their ways.

If they stopped making plastic bags, then we might have a chance at stopping the epidemic they have created. If we put people to work to clean up these bags and other litter, more people would have jobs. Several clean-up jobs could be done. Recycling could be improved tremendously if more people were only informed on how to recycle, and on what to recycle. If companies were forced to put this information on their labels, and took an initiative to make sure that their products can be easily recycled, maybe that would be a better approach. Organic farming is something we are going to be forced to do. I really don’t understand why our government is attacking it(I know it’s $), but yet they condone the use of dangerous pesticides, genetic engineering, preservatives, hormones, and antibiotics. The psychiatric industry is flourishing off of turning people into walking experiments, they don’t know what those pill really do(and what they do know isn‘t usually nice). The really sad news is that they force people to take these dangerous drugs, even pregnant women and children. Parents are forced to put their kids through chemo even though it is known to cause other problems; and there are alternatives out there. Many plants are remarkable healers of ailments, why not just use them as such. My point is, I get that we have to make the change, but if the top doesn’t change simultaneously with us, I just don’t see it working. We do have to come together. This is the only way.