Relationships and Environment

I haven’t blogged in a while and miss doing so; this is a start at getting back into it…even if they are short pieces like this. Couldn’t help but share this quote when I read it.

From the Facebook page of She Sings to the Stars:

Life wants to continue.

When we look at all the damage we’ve inflicted, it is easy to believe the Earth has been broken, the land is broken; but it is our relationship with the land that’s broken and we have the power to change that.

We can choose to consume with honor from the Earth. We can choose to consume less. We can choose to understand the world as a gift and respond accordingly.

Not more policy, not more data, not more money, but a change of heart.

Robin Wall Kimmerer, biologist and member of the Potawatomi Nation

In our mechanistic life it is extremely difficult for most people to “see” relationships. Yes, we all acknowledge them, but generally not very consciously until something has caused a distinct change. We go about our everyday lives almost robotically; it is when something disrupts that we sit up and pay attention: we found out our life partner has been cheating on us; a storm damages the neighborhood we live in perhaps even our home; a wildfire threatens to take every material thing we hold dear; and so on. Even in the face of these devolving situations we still do not recognize the dynamic that is occurring, concentrating only on its affect upon us. And even then, if it does not affect us either/both mentally and/or physically right away, we think nothing more of it. This is not to say we should ignore the atomistic aspect and how it does affect us both mentally and physically – but what we are missing are the dynamics of the thing itself that affect us – i.e. the very relationship. By not consciously living and participating in the relationship as it goes through its normal dynamics of ebbs and flows we keep ourselves just separate enough that we do not truly see this undulation. This also causes us to disregard the fact that something that occurred relationally 10 or 20 years ago could now be manifesting itself into an anomaly within us.

Let me give an example: we often say we have a relationship with something…so for instance we think we have a deep abiding relationship with our farm, our land. Some gas company dude comes along and tells us how much money we can get for the land, giving us all kinds of “scientific” analyses that say how benign fracking is; we’re getting on up in age, kids are grown and no one in the family is interested in farming any more…so we sell, take our money and move to the city to enjoy a new life. Yet we’ve said all these years how much we “love” our farm and would always take care of ‘it’ – that is, until some “prettier face” comes along. In this situation, what is lacking is the ontological relationship…there is only the farmer and his/her family vs the land; this is what can be called a substantive relationship. Defined within ecopsychology (aka conservation psychology), we see this kind of relationship as just described as individualistic in which reality is reduced to its fundamental or atomistic parts that interact with each other regardless of what those parts are – atoms, people, nature, cultures, etc. This makes the reality of the relationship always viewed and understood in terms of the individual identities of the respective parts. (Wiggins, et.al, 2012)

Let’s look at a different kind of relationship, the ontological or strong relationality in which the relationship itself is the ontological foundation of the identities of the respective parts. This means that the identity of any organism, place, object, or idea is not self-contained but is in fact mutually constituted from the relationship. (Wiggins, et.al, 2012) In other words in viewing relationships as individualistic, we lose sight of the fact that, at each moment, we are a creative function of each and every relationship we engage in. So, if we view relationships as integral parts of the living organism (and yes, we can think of an entire culture as an organism, just as the entire earth is an organism), in the example I gave above regarding the selling of the farms to the gas companies, in essence those people selling have literally severed a part of their “body”. The relationship between the entities is the phenomenon from which the natural world flows. David Seamon talks and writes wonderfully about this when discussing place attachment and the six-place process he developed to describe one’s relationship with place, in all its dynamic evolving and/or devolving forms. You can access many of his articles here: https://ksu.academia.edu/DavidSeamon

And my example is not to be taken as a judgment as to whether the land should have been sold or not in this manner. What I am trying to work toward here is one of the most important values to be learned from Goethean science; and that is to foster understanding. “To understand, says [Henri] Bortoft, is to see the way things belong together and to see why they are together as they are.” (David Seamon, 1997; emphasis and text added) Environmentalism has reached epic proportions regarding polarization…to the point that not much else is being accomplished except bickering. We have extreme environmentalists on one side who seemingly want to declare every living species (except humans) as endangered regardless of what impact that has on the entire ecosystem – including disregarding human beings and their “rights”, to the relatively recent movement of post-environmentalism (aka “green” environmentalism) in which the earth is regarded as a “garden”. Now if everyone could agree on exactly HOW to go about gardening, this might not be so bad. Unfortunately we have the Monsanto advocates on one side vs the organic/vegan cult on the other with many people falling somewhere in between and not really understanding the impact of either. And then of course we have those that basically don’t give a *&^% and will continue doing whatever they please without any regard for any other life form. This is what Henri Bortoft says (The Wholeness of Nature, 1996; added text by D. Seamon) regarding knowledge:

Knowledge is not achieved by the senses alone. There is always a nonsensory element in knowledge, and this must be so whether this element is verbal-intellectual [analytical] or intuitive. The difference is that, whereas the verbal-intellectual mind withdraws from the sensory aspect of the phenomenon into abstraction and generality, the intuitive mind goes into and through the sensory surface of the phenomenon to perceive it in its own depth. It is by first going into the full richness and diversity of sensory detail that the intellectual mind is rendered ineffective, so that we can escape from its prison into the freedom of intuition.

We have relegated ourselves to the analytical aspect of science only, forgetting that every relationship is a functional dynamic. Yes, relationships will change – that is the dynamic part – but if we can begin to understand and view them from an ontological perspective instead of reducing them only to the parts (the players involved), there will be no need for bickering over this or that restrictive policy.

Blinded by the Light

Night Song

Oh, on your soft pillow

Dreaming now, half-hear!

In my music’s echo

Sleep! What would you more?

In my music’s echo

The starry host appear,

Eternal feelings, bless, now:

Sleep! What would you more?

Eternal feelings, bless, now,

Lift me higher and higher,

From all earthly beings: oh,

Sleep! What would you more?

From all earthly beings, oh,

You carry me, now, so far,

Enchanted by the cool flow:

Sleep! What would you more?

Enchanted by the cool flow,

Dreaming now, you hear.

Ah, on your soft pillow,

Sleep! What would you more?

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Sleep is what refreshes us, sustains us.  Sleep is vital not just for the restful feeling we get, but without proper sleep our physical and etheric bodies cannot carry out the necessary anabolic (building up) processes without being impeded by the catabolic (breaking down) forces taking place within the upper body (the ego and astral bodies).  The body functions in this polarity of building up and breaking down resulting in a middle ground, called balance or homeostasis.  When we suffer sleep deprivation, the “breaking down” process becomes dominant, resulting in premature aging and all the various maladies that can result…many conditions that reductive science labels “disease”.

This is an excellent article from Aeon by journalist Rebecca Boyle.  We begin to see that all those lights shining at night is much more than “energy pollution”…it effects not just the environment but our health as well as behavior and wellbeing of many species.  Its not that we need to return to the “dark ages”, its finding that balance in between, the mid-range so to speak.

Read Article Here

 

Waste Not, Want Not

What I really like about this video is that it asks questions – gets one thinking about the entire life cycle of what we use and dispose of.  Humans are the only non-recyclable-waste producing species inhabiting this planet, but we don’t have to be.  Nature is the epitome of recycling; we are part of nature so why don’t we participate in this loop to a much greater extent?  Because we humans think we can control nature.  Please don’t misunderstand…I am in no way suggesting that people should be made or forced to participate in recycling via taxation or legal threat, particularly when done on a global basis.  I am not averse to paying to support local community utility services, but that’s where it needs to stay.  There is a time to “go global”, but there is also a time to understand when certain services need to remain at the community level to be most efficient.

Sustainability is about supporting the local economy.  [Quote at 43.22 minutes in the video – I couldn’t agree more!]

What I am suggesting is that we as individuals become more educated; that we as individuals take a few minutes of our precious time to at least briefly understand the entire birth/life/death cycle of that “thing” that you use for a little while and then throw away.  What I am suggesting is that we each become a little more responsible.  If we all share a heart-felt responsibility for this planet we live on, this planet that nurtures us, this planet that feeds our bodies, minds and souls – then there would be no need for “forced participation” in what is our responsibility to begin with.

One of the primary issues addressed by this video is the concept of “zero waste”.  Many people think that is impossible and why should we even strive for it, we should simply strive for a reduction.  Well, who gets to define what is a sufficient reduction?  That kind of thinking is exactly what leads us into the forced taxation/legal aspect because no one will have the exact same definition.  Zero waste carries the same definition no matter where you are, what you do.  Why not think outside the box and strive for that?  I find this same kind of negative attitude when I deal with some clients on health consults, whether it’s for themselves or their animal – “I can’t” do that, “I can’t” do this – I can’t feed my dog a raw diet because, because, because.  You can, I can, we can.  This is not to say don’t pause along the way and say – “look what we’ve accomplished, this is good!”  But don’t stop.  There is always a way to return to the flow of nature because that is where we are supposed to be.  Can’t doesn’t exist in nature – if something isn’t right at a given moment in time, then it doesn’t happen, something else that is appropriate will; the relationship between will determine what happens and when.  And that is what we humans have ignored for so long – that relationality; we stay too focused on ourselves or “things” and do not see what flows between.

Humans are potentially very creative, that is what defines us from non-human animals; we have the ontic (ego) organization that allows us to imagine what could be and then create it.  Non-human animals are experts at understanding nature and flowing – dancing, if you will – with nature.  Non-human animals are ultimately part of us in the greater scheme of things; they participate in our lives for reasons, we need them – all species old and new depending upon where humankind is in our own evolution of consciousness.  It is our responsibility to provide a continued safe haven (the Earth) for them and it is their “job” to re-engage us in the dance of nature, we have to learn how to let that happen without orchestrating it through some kind of conditioning…but I’m about to digress again – the chasm between operant conditioning/behaviorism and cognitive ethology is a huge one; a subject I will begin to address in coming months.  (See?  Everything really is related.)  Back to the subject of this post…

The video is about 54+ minutes long but well worth the time to listen.  It focuses on Seattle and the ways they have accomplished becoming much more green.  No, it didn’t happen overnight and it took a lot of people in a lot of different organizations working together – but that is what I find so wonderful about this, the true sense of community.  Baby steps at first, then you’ll be running before long!  It has made me realize that I could be doing more.  Please watch.  This video was also included in a featured post (Jan 18) on Dr. Mercola’s website here.

Nutrition begins with Soil

Just finished reading an article on Mercola.com that prompted me to post this…is a subject I covered somewhat in my equine nutrition book although I did not refer to it specifically as “biological farming”, nor did I go into it to this depth, which is something I’ve wanted to do for some time.  These same principles apply to animal health as well as human health – we are all dependent upon the soil to grow food that nourishes us on all levels, regardless of whether we eat just vegetables or include meat and/or animal products in our diet.  All life on this planet is connected – we seem to forget that in the one-eyed reductionist mentality that permeates modern science.

Our nutrition begins with the soil…the plants growing in the soil are consumed by humans either directly or indirectly via meat and animal products.  Conventional farming methods concentrate only on yield, this methodology cares nothing for the “food source” of the crops themselves; that aspect is considered irrelevant.  Andre Voisin said (1):

The “dust” of our cells is the dust of the soil.  We should frequently meditate on the words of Ash Wednesday:  “Man, remember that you are dust and that you will return to dust.”  This is not merely a religious and philosophical doctrine but a great scientific truth which should be engraved above the entrance to every Faculty of Medicine throughout the world. … If these “dusts” have been wrongly assembled in plant, animal or human cells, the result will be the imperfect functioning of the latter.

I honestly don’t know how we have “forgotten” that plants are living organisms that have relationships with their environment – yes, plants do communicate!  I posted a fascinating video a while back about how plants “talk” – see it here.  I suppose it is the ego-based attitude that humans can not only control nature but can do things better than nature can.  Unfortunately we are in the midst of a rude awakening about that – at least some of us are.  Several enlightened individuals such as William Albrecht, Carey Reams, Rudolf Steiner (and Goethe before him), Lady Eve Balfour, Sir Albert Howard, Weston A. Price, and more recently Harvey Lisle, Michael Astera, Jerry Brunetti, and others have been writing, practicing, and teaching about the link between soil health and our health, and how that link influences virtually all of life.  Almost all of these people were/are scientists who had/have the capability of “seeing” phenomenological relationships…even if they might not have used those terms (except for Goethe & Steiner who certainly did).  Yet they are shunned by “allopathic” science as not being “real”.  I do not disregard mainstream reductionist science as do many “holistic” practitioners/teachers, because I understand (as did Goethe, Steiner, et al) that you have to be able to break the whole down into its parts in order to be able to then actually “see” the whole.  It is not a “sum of the parts is greater than the whole” as much of holistic science would have you believe; nor does each individual part work by itself as mainstream science would have you believe.  The truth lies in the relationship of the parts to the whole.  So it is exciting to me when I read articles (or books) such as this that demonstrate this kind of “seeing” – this kind of conscious awakening.

Now…I am going to go out on a limb here and say something that most of you reading this will likely disagree with – at least at first blush.  Organically grown food is NOT necessarily more nutritious than conventionally grown food.  What???  You must be insane!  Before you virtually tar and feather me, read on.  There is absolutely no doubt that organically grown food is better than food that has been sprayed with chemicals.  But…most organic growers concentrate on building soil tilth – I know, I used to be a small commercial organic grower and was rather active at one point in my local organic association (before the USDA “bought” the word organic).  There is nothing wrong with building humus in the soil; the problem is humus alone does not provide nutrition for the plants growing in that soil.  And the whole concept of “organic” is actually a negative one inasmuch as it considers what is NOT in your food (pesticides, herbicides, etc).  What I have come to realize is that we are missing very key elements in our food.  Why do you think the supplement industry is so huge?  Our soils are depleted.  What most people don’t realize is what they are depleted of.  Minerals, plain and simple.  Minerals cannot be added back by simply tilling in the fall crop of leaves or compost or what-have-you.  Yes, there may be some elements that are added back…but by and far the soils at least in this country (if not most of the developed world) have been so heavily farmed without ever putting back what was taken out that there is nothing left.  Why do you think conventional agriculture tends to keep such a strong-hold on our food supply?  Yes, there are many other factors involved, but the bottom line is you can produce a more “nutritious” vegetable by directly feeding the plant – according to lab analysis.  What is missing from this picture however is the quality and how the nutrients are utilized by the body – lab analyses only give you quantities.  All of us in the animal world – humans included – were designed to ingest our minerals that have been assimilated first by the plant kingdom.  Plain and simple.  Minerals are the electromagnetic means of communication between the soil and the plant kingdom.  Remember what I said above that it is more the relationship between entities than it is the entities themselves that drive responses?  It is the relationship between the plant and the soil that dictates what the plant will become – a purveyor of health or simply something to ingest.  Taking and taking, never giving back = depletion.

Samuel Hahnemann gave us a medical system over two centuries ago called Heilkunst, or “art of healing” in a rather crude translation.   Within that he recognized certain “miasms” or chronic, many times inherited diseases.  Those that have worked to bring his medical system into present times have recognized the “cancer” miasm, which is a state of mentality more so than the conventional diagnosis of tumor (although the mental state can certainly lead to tumors).  The mental state of cancer is one of continuously giving – we can characterize it by the person that continually gives and gives until her physical and spiritual bodies are totally depleted.  If the soil keeps giving and giving without having the opportunity to replenish itself – what do you think it will produce?  Cancerous causing products.

Harvey Lisle called minerals the “enlivened rock powders”.  Why?  Because they give life.  The soil replenishes itself slowly by the breakdown of rocks.  The advent of agriculture put pressures upon this process that would eventually cause severe depletion if these minerals (“rocks”) were not replaced – at state which we have now realized.  It is not, at least in my opinion, that so-called “modern” agriculture is a bad thing, it is human greed and inflated ego that has kept us from “seeing” our responsibility.  The soil, the plant life, the animal life…are all available to us to utilize as we need – and that is the key…use as needed.  In a loving caring, nurturing way.  However we treat the soil, we treat ourselves.

 

(1)  Quote from front matter of The Enlivened Rock Powders, Harvey Lisle, 1994, Acres USA.

 

 

 

Ghost Fishing: A Dangerous Kind of Fishing – Reposted from Dr. Becker

“Ghost fishing” is a term that describes what happens when lost or abandoned fishing nets and other gear are left behind in the ocean. The nets trap fish, kill marine mammals, smother habitat and pose navigation hazards.  According to the NOAA’s National Ocean Service, this derelict fishing gear is one of the primary types of debris impacting our marine environment today.

Read Article Here