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Going Beyond Paris or Even “Sustainability”: A Meta-Narrative for Sharing the World with Natural Systems


Going Beyond Paris or Even “Sustainability”: A Meta-Narrative for Sharing the World with Natural Systems

Elizabeth Oriel

The Paris Climate Talks were a top-down collaboration in the global political sphere, producing a hopeful treaty to reduce carbon emissions. At this moment of global alliances, what is a bottom-up approach that rejoins humans and natural systems? Our anthropocentric mindset that de-values all other life forms, the Cartesian influence that reduces all life to functional objects or resources in the service of human goals and activities– this is the central delusion that propels us towards ecological destruction.


Ethnology as practiced by Latour, Marilyn Strathern, Eduardo Vivieros de Castro and others provide the 'modern' west with insight to examples of re-thinking western assumptions of dominance and non-western perspectives on the treasure of vast relational intricacies. Insights into how to re-evolve complex relational ideas and practices can be gleaned from their work and that of others.
Vivieros de Castro and associates have evolved 'Amazonian Perspectivism' - where essential to the engagement is a difficult process of recognizing and eschewing the dominance prejudices in the discipline.
Just some thoughts that I recall - in the west we are conditioned to think that beneath our cultural 'clothes' we are animals - and maybe this is why the devolution into brutality happens with such reflexive speed. Among many peoples for example animals are regarded and engaged as former human beings in a complex cosmos and universe of spirit.
Outsiders who become accepted by some groups do not recognize an indication of intimate trust as in the west as brother or sister but rather as in-law. I find this very wise. Personally it would seem to place me in recognition of my interaction of rich and fruitful interactions while at the same time unknowns to be protected with respectful formal understandings and parameters. In other words it premises it on always reaching outward with awareness and consideration.
These make me wonder about how much more carefully we could be considering how we regard our interactions and what a well spring of living wisdom the respectful choice to engage can be.

The recent publication of English translation of "The Falling Sky" a decades-long undertaking by Yanomami shaman Davi Kopanawa and anthropologist Bruce Albert. An entire chapter is dedicated by Albert to explaining how he had to consider the two of them working together in the collaboration. Not the least of which is an entire cosmos of language that is always alive.


We may find it easer to coexist with with snakes and poisonous animals than to live near carnivorous animals. These are often taught aversion with rock throwing and such but there are better ways. One good way is to install a receiver on collared animals that will give a mild to severe shock to a
Predator if it gets too close to anything or anyone with a transmitter.


Humanity beyond humanity


"Oh Boy. That aught to make for great fun," said the Bear to the cougar.


It's true, of course, humanity has long since lost our sacred connection with Source.
Connection with Source(the Earth, God, Creation) on an intimate basis is our birthright as humans. Somewhere along the way we lost it, and in doing so severely compromised the future of life on Earth. Simply stated: We are out of control. We have forgotten who we are; what our mission is, was, and still is. Most of us today are not even aware (emotionally, where you feel it) that all life is One. Whatever we do to another, whatever we do to the Earth, to our atmosphere, we do to ourselves. We are AWAL from the spiritual reality central to our being.
There is Hope, and it doesn't take intense intellectual prowess to comprehend and began to practice.
We are all connected though our hearts. And it's our true connection; to ourselves, to others, to the Earth(our mother), to God and to Creation itself. Get in touch with your Heart, and teach yourself to stay centered there. In this powerful vision of Creation the Heart becomes the final decision maker.
As we all get going on this pathway we are going to lighten up a lot. And, in so doing, will began to make the kind of decisions designed to dramatically lessen much of the pain and suffering we are currently creating on this planet.


I tend to think that its not that 'we are out of control'- but rather have been and are being subjected to a plethora of narrow distortions imposed as controls. Those that work to enforce those distorted controls to the exclusion of nurturing balances for that control, power and profit claim in essence that without their distortions/controls we face 'anarchy' - a false dichotomy based on a systemic model of profligate waste and usurpation. From planned obsolescence, 'sacrifice zones' that span the conceptual spectrum from viewing nature as a thing with no value unless exploited, to the destruction of social/spiritual relationships of indigenous peoples in their lands of traditional life and occupation to enable industrial 'growth' completely out of scale with and dissociated from living balances.
I'm reminded of Quaker perspectives - that there is that of God/the Sacred in all of us; and as you note, consciously choosing to settle into this centering - especially in community for practice.
As the disempowerment patterns of domination are let go of, the heart increasingly listens and hears within the spectrum of possibilities for learning, experiencing, loving, and seeing flexible nurturing alternatives. My weaknesses, humbly and lovingly accepted in centered attention, can then serve as resonance points to see/hear potential strengths in others - and the energy and motion of the spirit becomes creative in community.
What if 'ego', rather than something to be exploited and deplored or dressed up in narcissistic identity, is actually nothing more than a resonance nexus to be consciously cultivated in quiet centering to be linking with all the varied aspects and parts of the path and journey?


some of the tribal peoples’ views in which leopards are sacred members of their community. They know how to prevent attacks and even know individual leopards and their past experiences, which sometimes explain the reason for a violent episode. The leopards are people, of a sort.

Love this.


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Or, reclaiming TRUE humanity:
Human; Humble; Humus, all come from the same root. We are Earthlings. We need to re-member our humanity.


When we relate peacefully to wild animals and we know their habits and respect their space, like native Americans did, we can coexist in the fullness of nature. When we see nature through European eyes, as something to be conquered biblically, nature becomes the enemy. As part of nature we then become our own worst enemy.