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

 

Fisher Cats and Pot Farming – Repost from NPR

This brings up another side to the “legalize pot or not” debate.  From a personal standpoint, I’m not going to weigh in one way or the other on the legalization issue or the use of marijuana (from a holistic health practitioner standpoint, the use of it definitely isn’t doing your body any good on a recreational use level – a somewhat separate issue from the legal one).  What I will say is that everything – and I mean EVERYTHING – we humans do has at least some affect upon another life (or lives).  And this adds another level of complication to the entire legalization debate.  Fisher cats are rare and are being considered for the federal endangered species list according to this article on NPR.  But they are not the only wildlife being harmed by the practice of placing rat poison around illegal marijuana crops – owls, foxes, bobcat, and so…the list of wildlife harmed or killed can keep growing right along with the crop.

I am posting this under Animal Welfare as, to me that is what it primarily is, but it is every bit an ecological issue.

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.

Fido + Your Lawn = Fido’s Cancer?

Fido loves to romp and play in the yard – and why shouldn’t he?  However if you are the typical American home owner, you could be giving Fido cancer (not to mention yourself and the rest of your human family).  This is a good article by Dr. Karen Becker about the cycle of chemicals our pets can go thru on just a routine basis; also a video interview with Ronnie Cummins.  Dr. Becker talks about detoxing your pet if he/she should become exposed to chemicals but detoxification is not a “free ticket” to continued exposure to toxic chemicals.  There will be a point at which the body says enough and will begin to seal off the offending cells – that’s what we then interpret as cancer.

Read Article Here