Eco Philosophy

1d. Eco Philosophy

I was lucky enough to study at Dartington College in Devon, UK. This was a place founded on spiritual values. A Bengali mystic poet called Rabindranath Tagore had been ‘adopted’ by the owners of Dartington Hall, the Elmhirsts. He became the first non-European to win the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1913. Sometimes referred to as “The Bard of Bengal”, Tagore’s poetry was viewed as spiritual and mercurial. Tagore was knighted by the ruling British Government in 1915, but within a few years he resigned the honour as a protest against British policies in India. An artist and a rebel, as you might imagine he was soon an influence on me.

I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was service. I acted and behold, service was joy.”

Dartington Hall and College became a place to study art, music and theatre based on spiritual values and when I attended even had its own ‘Philosopher in Residence’ called Henryk Skolomowski. This was in the 1980’s and was my first exposure to the philosophy of ecology, or as he called it in his book, ‘Eco Philosophy’.

Eco Philosophy verses Present Philosophy

We are in a time when our personal and cultural, spiritual and material values are negatively influencing our ability to solve our problems because they are imbalanced. Henryk Skolomowski, in his book, Eco-Philosophy, explains that on a molecular level human beings are ‘complex fields of force’, which also react to their environment as ‘complex fields of force’. Quantum physics now endorses this view.

On a molecular level he draws no clear delineation between us and our environment. Skolimowski says that many of our present problems have come about through an elevation of ‘knowledge over values’, resulting in a general philosophy that regards our environment as something to be conquered rather than cherished.

His book proposes an improved balance of knowledge and values as a means of development, both personal and social, which he calls ‘The New Imperative’, as opposed to the present day philosophy at the core of our values system.

The table below shows the values of ‘Eco Philosophy verses Present Philosophy’, from his book. It shows how utterly different are the values systems between our current capitalist ways of thinking and a society run on ecological values.

Pursuing information Pursuing wisdom
Environmentally and ecologically oblivious Environmentally and ecologically conscious
Related to the economics of material progress Related to the economics of the quality of life
Politically indifferent Politically aware
Socially unconcerned Socially concerned
Mute about individual responsibility Vocal about individual responsibility
Intolerant to transphysical phenomena Tolerant to transphysical phenomena
Health mindless Health mindful
Language orientated Life orientated
‘Objective’ (detached) Committed
Spiritually dead Spiritually alive
Piecemeal (analytical) Comprehensive

The values associated with ‘present philosophy’ and the first and second paradigms as described in the previous article are preventing our society from evolving into something wholesome. Although many of us are ‘waking up’, the social structures we have are controlled by people of extremely limited vision, stuck in a material world.

It is not enough to just ‘change ourselves’ or even simply ‘become the change we wish to see in the world’. We also need to resist at every level the impositions of un-evolved people making laws and creating conditions that severely limit our human choices to evolve as we might wish to. Otherwise we wake up to polluted water and air along with climate catastrophe and slide down the snake to face our basic physiological needs again. Those of us left.

Far be it from me to actually answer the question posed by the heading of this section 1:  ‘What are Human Beings For?’ I could say what I personally believe my own life is for – ‘to help others evolve through art’ – I could say that I believe that awake human beings ‘in consciousness’ are an example of the universe experiencing itself and you might not even know what I mean, let alone agree. This is clearly my own purpose and to impose this on anyone else would be a form of spiritual fascism. I cannot tell you your own purpose as a human being, this is for you to find out with the many tools of self discovery that are available.

What concerns me is the many options for human beings have become systematically removed, through legislation, from the ‘possibilities’ available for the amazing phenomenon of humans to continue their evolution.

The term ‘glass ceiling’ has been traditionally used to describe an unacknowledged barrier to advancement in a profession, especially affecting women and members of minorities. I want to use it here to describe the barrier to evolution that stops with Maslow’s ‘self-actualisation’ and the second paradigm of anthropomorphism as described above – leaving people stranded in a physical, unconnected and spiritually dead universe; a sort of ‘spiritual glass ceiling’.

It leaves people as hungry ghosts, doing their best to act out the story of success as told to them over and over. Indigenous American and other people have a concept for this state which they call ‘Wetiko’.

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