Berry, Thomas.  The Dream of the Earth.  Counterpoint Press, Berkeley.  1988.

Preface, Terry Tempest Williams

(I)  “The universe, earth, life, and consciousness are all violent processes,” T Berry.

(vi)  Berry’s “cosmology of peace” is not the peace of passivity or withdrawal or sophism, but the promise of enlightened engagement, “the highest state of tension that the organisms can bear creatively.”

    - “tension”…see Berman’s Wandering God and Jung


Forward, Brian Swimme

(viii)  The full reality of the Earth and universe has escaped the narrow spectrum of sensitivity in our industrial eyes and ears.  

(viii)  Until fifty thousand years ago, evolutionary development anchored itself primarily by a shaping of the genetic architecture.  But with the emergence of human culture, a significant dimension of our further evolution has been tied into our symbolic constructions.  Thus, to understand the eye today, one certainly needs to study physiology and neurology and anatomy; but one needs to study as well the Upanishads, the art of India, the Sutras, the Bible, the Greek philosophers, the history of Rome and Russia, the Paleolithic bands, the French Philosophes, the Marxists, the Neo-Confucians and all significant human cultural activity generally.  Our “perception” of the Earth, which we so easily regard as “neutral” or “biologically set,” is in reality the end result of a long sequence of formative evolutionary events which include primate history as well as human history.  



(xii)  Whatever their differences, both liberal capitalism and Marxist socialism committed themselves totally to this vision of industrial progress which more than any other single cause has brought about the disintegration that is taking place throughout the entire planet.  By a supreme irony this closing down of the basic life systems of the earth has resulted from a commitment to the betterment of the human condition, to “progress.”

Ch 1.  Returning to Our Native Place

(2)  If the earth does grow inhospitable to human presence, it is primarily because we have lost our sense of courtesy toward the earth and it inhabitants, our sense of gratitude, our willingness to recognize the sacred character of habitat, our capacity for the awesome, for the numinous quality of every earthly reality. We have forgotten our primordial capacity for language at the elementary level of song and dance, wherein we share our existence with the animals and with all natural phenomena.


Ch 2.  The Earth Community

(7)  In our times, human cunning has mastered the deep mysteries of the earth at a level far beyond the capacities of earlier peoples.  We can break the mountains apart; we can drain the rivers and flood the valleys.  We can turn the most luxurious forests into throwaway paper products.  We can tear apart the great grass cover of the western plains and our toxic chemicals into the soil and pesticides onto the fields until the soil is dead and blows away in the wind.  We can pollute the air with acids, the rivers with sewage, the seas with oil - all this in a kind of intoxication with our power for devastation at an order of magnitude beyond all reckoning.  We can invent computers capable of processing tens of million calculations per second.  And why?  To increase the volume and the speed with which we move natural resources through the consumer economy to the junk pile or the waste heap. Our managerial skills are measured by the competence manifested in accelerating this process.  If in these activities the topography of the planet is damaged, if the environment is made inhospitable for a multitude of living species, then so be it.  We are, supposedly, creating a technological wonderworld.

(11)  If we have powers of imagination, these are activated by the magic display of color and sound, of form and movement, such as we observe in the could of the sky, the trees and bushes and flowers, the waters and the wind, the singing birds, and the movement of the great blue whale through the sea.  If we have words with which to speak and think and commune, words for thinner experience of the divine, words for the intimacies of life, if we have words for telling stories to our children, words with which we an sing, it is again because of the impressions we have received from the variety of beings about us.
        If we lived on the moon, our minds and emotions, our speech, our imagination, our sense of the divine would all reflect the desolation of the lunar landscape.
        The change that is taking place on the earth and in our minds is one of the greatest changes ever to take place in human affairs, perhaps the greatest, since what we are talking about is not simply another historical change or cultural modification, but a change of geological and biological as well as psychological oder of magnitude.  We are changing the earth on a scale comparable only to the changes in the structure of the earth and of life that took place during some millions of years of earth development.

    - we are increasingly only inspired by, evolved by, our own creations; a bio-narcissism.   


Ch 3.  Human Presence

(16)  The physicist Brian Swimme tells us, “The universe shivers with wonder in the depths of the human,”

(16)  Our scientific inquiries into the natural world have produced a certain atrophy in our human responses.  Even when we recognize our intimacy, our family relations with all the forms of existence about us, we cannot speak to those forms.  We have forgotten the language needed for such communication.  We find ourselves in an autistic situation.  Emotionally, we cannot get out of our confinement, nor can we let the outer world flow into our own beings.  We cannot hear the voices or speak in response.

    - “we only understand the mechanics of things, we can’t speak to the why of things, except maybe in poems,” Chomsky, Understanding Power.
    - A Language Older Than Words, Derrick Jensen.
    - Modern language, without the totemic myths of nature based peoples, is a narcissistic language.

(17)  We are constantly drawn toward a reverence for the mystery and the magic of the earth and the larger universe with a power that is leading us away from our anthropocentrism to this larger context as our norm or reality and value.
        Perhaps nothing is more difficult for those of us who live within the Western biblical-classical tradition.  Throughout the entire course of this tradition, the autism has deepened with our mechanism, our political nationalism, and our economic industrialism.

(21)  Our sense of reality and of value must consciously shift from an anthropocentric to a biocentric norm of reference.
        This anthropocentrism is largely consequent on our failure to think of ourselves as species.  We talk about ourselves as nations.  We think our of ourselves as ethnic, cultural, language, or economic groups.  We seldom consider ourselves as a species among species.  This might be referred to in biology, but it has never meant that much in real life.  We must now do this deep reflection on ourselves.  What earlier peoples did immediately and intuitively in establishing their human identity, we must do deliberately.


Ch 4.  Creative Energy

(31)  The psychic energies sustaining the industrial illusion are now dissolving in confrontation with the problems of water for drinking, air for breathing, nontoxic soil for food production.  A new energy is beginning to appear.  Already a pervasive influence throughout the North American continent, this energy is finding expression I more than ten thousand ecologically oriented action groups on this continent; it is distributed through all the professions and through all the various forms of economic, political, educational, religious, literary, and media enterprise.
         If this movement has not yet achieved its full efficacy in confrontation with the industrial vision, it is not primarily because of the economic or political realities of the situation, but because of the mythic power of the industrial vision.  Even when its consequences in a desolate planet are totally clear, the industrial order keeps it control over human activities because of the energy generated by the mythic quality of its vision.  We could describe our industrial society as counterproductive, addictive, paralyzing, manifestation of a deep cultural pathology.  Mythic addictions function something like alcohol and drug addictions.  Even when they are obviously destroying the addicted person, the psychic fixation does not permit any change, in the hope that continued addiction will at least permit momentary survival.  Any effective cure requires passing through the agonies of withdrawal.  If such withdrawal is an exceptional achievement in the industrial lives, we can only guess at the difficulty on the civilizational or even the global scale.

(32)  The main difficulty in replacing the industrial order os not the physical nature of the situation, but its psychic entrancement.  This mythic commitment preceded the actuality of the industrial achievement.  It was, rather, a condition for, not the consequence of, the industrial achievement.  So, too, with the ecological pattern: the myth is primary, although its early realization must be achieved and valid indications established of its possibilities for the future.  A taste for existence within the functioning of the natural world is urgent.

(33)  In every country a mystique of the land is needed to counter the industrial mystique.  This mystique must be associated with the three basic commitments of our times: commitment to the earth as irreversible process, to the ecological age as the only viable form of the millennial ideal, and to a sense of progress that includes the natural as well as the human world.  Only by fulfilling these conditions can we evoke the energies that are needed for future survival in a setting of mutually enhancing human-earth relationships.


Ch 5.  The Ecological Age

(37)  Our difficulty is that we are just emerging from a technological entrancement.  During this period the human mind has been placed within the narrowest confines it as experienced since consciousness emerged from its Paleolithic phase.  Even the most primitive tribes have a larger vision of the universe, of our place and functioning within it, a vision that extends to celestial regions of space and to interior depths of the human in a manner far exceeding the parameters of our own world of technological confinement.  

(38)  What has fascinated the scientist is a visionary experience that is only now coming to conscious awareness in the scientific mind.  It can hardly be repeated often enough that the driving force of the scientific effort is nonscientific, just as the driving force of the technological endeavor is non technological.  In both instances, a far-reaching transforming vision is sought that is not far from the spiritual vision sought by the ancient tribal cultures, as well as by the great traditional civilizations of the past.  Only such a visionary quest could have sustained the efforts made these past two centuries in both science and technology.  Nor could anything less than entrancement have so obscured for scientists and technicians the devastating impasse into which they have been leading the human venture.  
         Not until Rachel Carson shocked the world in the 1960s with her presentation of the disasters impending in the immediate future was there any thorough alarm at the consequences of this entrancement.  That is what needs to be explained - our entrancement with an industrially driven consumer society.  Until we have explained this situation to ourselves, we will never break the spell that has seized us.  We will continue to be subject to this fatal attraction.

(39)  The divinities have been changed, the visible expression has been altered, but the ultimate source of power still remains hidden in the dynamics of the earth and in the obscure archetypal determinations in the unconscious depths of the human mind.

(39)  In the Western world a new capacity for understanding and controlling the dynamics of the earth came into being.  While former civilizations established our exalted place within the seasonal sequence of the earth’s natural rhythms and established those spiritual centers where the meeting of the divine, the natural and the human could take place, the new effort, beginning in the sixteenth and seventeenth century work of Francis Bacon, Galileo Galilei, and Isaac Newton, was less concerned with such psychic energies than with physical forces at work in the universe and the manner in which we could avail ourselves of these energies to serve our own well being.
        …These scientific attitudes and technological inventions became the modern substitutes for the mystical vision of divine reality and the sympathetic evocation of natural and spiritual forces by ritual and prayerful invocation.

(41)  America took seriously the words of Thomas Paine in 1775 in his pamphlet Common Sense: “We have it in our power to begin the world over again.  A situation similar to the present hath not appeared since the days of Noah until now.  The birthday of a new world is at hand..”  Earlier the Pilgrims had foreseen this continent as the setting for the new City on the Hill to which the universal human community could look for guidance into a glorious future.  Throughout the founding years, even until the twentieth century, peoples have crossed the Atlantic with a vivid sense that they were crossing the Red Sea from the slavery of Egypt to the freedom and abundance fo the Promised Land.

    - see F. Turner’s Beyond Geography and Perry Miller

(41)  With such expectation came a new exhilaration in our powers to dominate the natural world.  This led to a savage assault upon the earth such as was inconceivable in prior times.  The experience of sacred communion with the earth disappeared.  Such intimacy of was considered poetic conceit by a people who prided themselves on their realism, their aversion to all forms of myth, magic, mysticism, and superstition.  Little did these people know that their very realism was as pure a superstition as was ever professed by humans, their devotion to science a new mysticism, their technology a magical way to paradise.  

(43)  Much of our trouble during these past two centuries has been caused by our limited, our microphone, modes of thought.  We centered ourselves on the individual, on personal aggrandizement, on a competitive way of life, and on the nation or the community of nations, as the guarantor of freedom to pursue these purposes.  A sense of the planet Earth never entered our minds.  We paid little attention to the more comprehensive visions of reality.  This was for the poets, the romanticists, the religious believers, the moral idealists.  Now we begin to recognize that what is good in its microphone reality can be deadly in its macrophases development.

(46)  Our primary need for the various lifeforms of the planet is a psychic, rather than a physical, need.  The ecological age seeks to establish and maintain this subjective identity, this authenticity of the heart of every being.  


Ch 6.  Technology and the Healing of the Earth   

(50)  The twentieth century has eliminated the terror of the unknown darknesses of nature by devastating nature herself.

(57)  Our entire society is caught in closed cycle of production and consumption that can go on until the natural resources are exhausted or until the poisons inserted into the environment are fed back into the system.  We are so committed to this industrial cycle, so alienated from the needed knowledge of the competence to return to the ever-renewing cycle of the natural world, that even when we begin to experience the impending peril, we feel that we must cling to these “established” or “traditional” ways, way that have become, as it were, a kind of salvific process.  We feel that we must become even more dedicated to the cause; we must intensify our efforts.  This, a kind of industrial-technological “fundamentalism” becomes prevalent, a fundamentalism that has led to the Reagan political regime.  This fundamentalism expresses itself especially in magnifying our military establishment in order to defend ourselves and our industrial mode of existence.  The military-industrial establishment then generates an overwhelming support for the industrial-commercial cycle.

(68)  The mechanistic patterns of the past are not adequate to solve the biological problems of the present.  

(69)  The work of the scientist has been spoken of by Brian Swimme in terms of the shamanic journey into a strange and distant world.


Ch 7.  Economics as a Religious Issue

(72)  The immediate danger is not possible nuclear war, but actual industrial plundering.

(76)  The mythic commitment to continuing economic growth is such that none of our major newspapers or newsweeklies considers having an ecological section equivalent to the sports section or the financial section or the arts section or the comic section or the entertainment section although ecological issues are more important than any of those, even more important than the daily national and international political news.  The real history that is being made is interspecies and human-earth history, not nation or international history.  The real threat is from the retaliatory powers of the abused earth, nor from other nations.  

(87)  The evolutionary process is from the beginning a spiritual as well as a physical process.


Ch 8.  The American College in the Ecological Age

(93)  There is a historical sequence in cultural coding that is parallel to the evolutionary mutation of prehuman species.  Thus we have not only the diverse patterning within a certain level of cultural development, but also historical change of a cultural level.  So far in the course of human development we can identify five basic phases of such transformation.  These we might indicate as the Paleolithic, Neolithic, the classical-traditional, the scientific-technological, and now the emerging ecological phase.  

(106)  Every reality of the universe is intimately present to every other reality of the universe and finds its fulfillment in this mutual presence.  The entire evolutionary process depends on communion.  Without this fulfillment that each being finds in beings outside itself nothing would ever happen in the entire world.  There would be no elements, no molecules, no life, no consciousness.  
          This law of communion finds its most elementary expression in the law of gravitation whereby every physical being in the universe attracts and is attracted to every other physical being in the universe.  Gravitation at this elementary level finds an ascending sequence of realizations through the variety of lifeforms and their modes of generation up to human affection in its most entrancing forms.
          This universality and intensity of this communion indicates its immense value.  But even more evident is the fact that human survival depends so immediately and absolutely on this capacity for intimate human [and more-than-human] relationships.

    - see Spell of the Sensuous, D Abram


Ch 9.  Christian Spirituality and the American Experience

(112)  We really do not understand the new story of the universe or its meaning.  We have the scientific data.  We can perform the magic.  But the scientists themselves seldom manifest any sense whatsoever of what it all means.  Interpretation compromises scientific inquiry.

    - and yet interpret is all we can ever do…Metaphors We Live By (George Lakoff), etc..
    - Chomsky: “Science has nothing to say about what we are doing right now – only about the mechanisms that are involved in it, not about how we do it.  About that there’s nothing to say, except you can write poems”…He goes on to talk about how in neurophysiology, people are studying a simple organism, a worm called the nematode.  They know its entire neuron system and its entire gestation period is known, in short they have a complete physical map of the creature, “but still, nobody can figure out why the stupid worm does whatever it does – I don’t know, turn left or something…it’s just too complicated, too many things going on, too many chemical interactions,”  (Understanding Power, 220).  And this mystery is from a three hundred neuron-based system.  We each have 10 to the 11th power number of neurons in our head..

(113)  When we inquire into the reasons for this inefficiency [of traditional Western spiritualities not providing a platform to ‘protest the terrifying assault of American society upon the natural world], we might observe that [1] our identification of the divine as transcendent to the natural world makes a direct human-divine covenant relationship possible [!!], but also we negate the natural world as the locus for the meeting of the divine and the human.  The natural world becomes less capable of communicating divine presence.  This makes possible the conception of the natural world as merely external object.  
        A further difficulty results from our insistence that [2] the human is a spiritual being with an external destiny which is beyond that of the other members of the created world.  We were related to the divine by a special covenant.  Our sense of being integral members of the earth community was severely weakened through both of these commitments.  We thought that we were elevating the human when in reality we were alienating ourselves from the only contact in which human life has any satisfying meaning.

    - transcendence of written word religious traditions vs immanence of oral, nature based traditions  
    - the species-narcissism of this “special covenant,” an anxious, desperate, self-conscious being who, in realizing that they have separated themselves from Nature, posits a God in his own image, thereby reposing in false divinity.

(114)  A third difficulty came later, when not only [3] the divine and the human were taken away from intimate presence to the natural world, but also when the inner principle of life in natural beings was taken away in the Cartesian period.  The concept of crass matter emerged as mere extension, capable of only externally manipulated and mechanistic activity.  We entered onto a mechanistic phase in our thinking and in our basic norms of reality and value.  If this has proved to be enormously effective in its short term achievements, it has been disastrous in its long term consequences.  
        Another significant factor in the American experience is found in [4] the Christian doctrine of an infrahistorical millennial age of peace, justice, and abundance to be infallible attained in the unfolding of the redemptive order.  This concept of the millennium is different from the idea of utopia, from that of paradise, and from that of Arcadia..
       Just as the doctrine of divine transcendence took away the pervasive divine presence to the natural world, so the millennial vision of a blessed future left all present modes of existence in a degraded status.  All things were in an unholy condition.  Everything needed to be transformed.  This meant that anything unused was to be used if the very purpose of its existence was to be realized.  Nothing in its natural state was acceptable.
       This compulsion to use, to consume, has found its ultimate expression in our own times, when the ideal is to take the natural resources from the earth and transform them by industrial processes for consumption by a society that live on her-heightened rates of consumption.  That consumption has something sacred about it is obvious from the central position it now occupies.  This is all quite clear from the relentless advertising campaigns designed to convince the society that three is neither peace nor joy, neither salvation nor paradise, except through heightened consumption.

    - [1] divine as transcendent to the world - therefore not in the world, but beyond it
      [2] special covenant of humans gives us a destiny that is not connected to the Earth
      [3] mechanistic matter, no longer containing spirit/soul, of Cartesian non-human world
      [4] millennial ideal where all natural forms are transformed by human effort into a divine state [relation to Lockean ownership ideals?]

    - Sacred Consumption: the transformation of “natural resources” into images of ourselves…machines as sacred extensions (ie Edward T Hall, Beyond Culture).

    - American Millenialism: self-propelled progress, instead of Nature or God propelled.

(116)  The argument of Lynn White that the historical roots of this ecological disturbance like in the deepest sources of Western spiritual tradition could be quite easily critiqued if we consider only its limited consequences.  This has been done by Rene Dubos, who rightly points out that all the classical cultures abused their land and devastated their environment.  Yet none of these other traditions had the millennial entrancement or the technological skills that exist in the Western religious traditions.  This is what makes the devastation within our world so terrifying in its consequences.  

(119)  The negative side of our cultural determinations is generally hidden from consciousness.  In this sense the culture depends on what might be called an altered state of consciousness, a trance state.

    - it is the trance state of sacred consumption that facilities our current narcissistic, myopic “cultural determinations”
    - Wandering God, Morris Berman


Ch 10.  The New Story

(127)  The Novum Organum of Francis Bacon appeared in 1620, the Principia of Isaac Newton in 1687, and the Scienza Nuova of Giambattista Vico in 1725.

    - and DesCartes’ Meditations, 1641.  

(128)  The redemptive believing community, first dazzled by this new vision of developmental time, then frustrated by an inability to cope with the new data, lapsed unenthusiasticlly into its traditional attitudes.  In recent centuries, indeed, the believing community has not been concerned with any cosmology, ancient or modern, for the believing community has its real values concentrated in the Savior, the human person, the believing church, and a post earthly paradisal beatitude.

(129)  The Christian redemptive mystique is little concerned with the natural world.  The essential thing is redemption out of the world through a personal savior relationship that transcends all such concerns.  Even the earlier mystical experiences of ascending to the divine through the realms of created perfection are diminished.

    - a Transcendent God and a personal savior both circumvent any need for a relationship with the natural world.  It’s reality is diminished, abstracted, depersonalized, etc.

(131)  The pathos in our own situation is that our secular society does not see the numinous quality or the deeper psychic powers associated with its own story, while the religious society rejects the story because it is presented only in its physical aspect.  The remedy for this is to establish a deeper understanding of the spiritual dynamics of the universe as revealed through our own empirical insight into the mysteries of its functioning.

    - ie, CA Institute of Integral Studies

(134)  The universe does not come to us in pieces any more than a human individual stands before us with some part of its being.  Preservation of this feeling for reality in its depths has been considerably upset in these past two centuries of scientific analysis and technological manipulation of the earth and its energies.  During this period, the human mind lived in the narrowest bonds that is has ever experienced.  The vast mythic, visionary, symbolic world with its all-pervasive numinous qualities was lost.  Because of this loss, we made our terrifying assault upon the earth with an irrationality that is stunning in enormity, while we were being assured that this was the way to a better, more humane, more reasonable world.

    - The Death of Nature, Carolyn Merchant
    - The false picture of reality that scientific reductionism/atomism/mechanism presents to us.  The pathological sentiment that controlling something is the same as understanding it.


Ch 11.  Patriarchy: A New Story

(140)  Reflection on the basic human values expressed in this earlier culture [pre Indo-European Old World, goddess centered] and their suppression by the patriarchal culture of the invading Aryan peoples is bringing about a re-evaluation of the entire Western civilizational enterprise as it has developed over the past five hundred years.
         When the apparent success of this earlier matri-centic period is seen in contrast with the devastation of the earth resulting from the civilizational order that followed, we have a comprehensive critique of the Western civilizational process that has probably never been surpassed.  We are confronted with a profound reversal of values.  The entire course of Western civilization is seen as vitiated by patriarchy, the aggressive, plundering, male domination of our society.  This condemnation is more severe in tis implication than the secularist judgment of our religious culture as suppressive of basic human values.  It is also greater than the Marxist condemnation of bourgeois oppression of the proletariat.  

(141)  A postpatriarchical dictionary is needed, one that would establish a new sense of reality and value throughout the entire structure of the Western language.  

    - (1) Classical Empires through Roman; (2) Ecclesiastical Establishment (Christianity) through French Revolution; (3) Nation State, politically/ethnically driven; (4) Corporate State, economy driven.

(149)  The Biblical tradition begins with the creation narrative wherein the Earth Mother of the eastern Mediterranean is abandoned in favor of the transcendent Heaven Father.  Later the relationship between the human and the divine is constituted in terms of a covenant between a chosen a people and a personal transcendent creative Father deity.  This becomes the context in which human-divine affairs are no longer the locus for the meeting of the divine and the human.  A subtle aversion develops toward the natural world, a feeling that humans in the depth of their beings do not really belong to the earthly community of life, but to a heavenly community.  We are presently in a state of exile from our true country.  The natural world is little mentioned in the official prayers of the church, even though the Psalms carry extensive references to the divine praise associated with the various natural phenomena.  The Christian world is the world of the city.  Its concerns are primarily supernatural.  The rural world is the world of the pagan.  The natural world is to be kept at a distance as a seductive mode of being.  
         In the Bible narrative, woman becomes the instrument for the entry of evil into the world and for the breakdown of the human-divine relations.  Only in a derisive sense, through their association with men, do  women function in the public life of the sacred community.  Later, in explanation of the lesser quality of female being, women are seen as biologically the consequence of some lack of vigor in the male component of the conception process, since in its full energy conception should produce a male child.  In this context the whole of feminine existence becomes profoundly diminished as a mode of personal being.  

(156)  Whether industrial, financial, or commercial, the corporation is considered the primary instrument of “progress,” although just what progress means is never clear.  The supposition seems to be that the greater the devastation of the natural world thought construction of highways, airports, development projects, shopping malls, supermarkets, and corporate headquarters, the closer we are to fulfilling the American Dream.  It is precisely through this dream vision of a new humanly created wonder world that the advertising industry brings about the level of heightened consumption upon which the corporation depends for its ever-increasing profits.  Through advertising the corporation has gained control over the public media.  Through the public media the corporation controls the deepest psychic as well as the most power physical forces of the planet.  

(157)  The difficulty with our industrial wonder world is that its products last for a brief period and then forever remain as a trashed and toxic world in which we and all future generations are condemned to live for an indefinite period.  Like the illusion of a magician, we are presented with the blissful moment in the use of these inventions, with no indication of their abiding dark aspect.  Human productions do not consistently renew themselves in the manner of natural forms…In the natural world there is no such problem as that of disposing of some product.  The waste product from one lifeforms is the nourishment of another.  We, on the other hand, are making a world of universal waste and maximal entropy.  

(161)  One of the main characteristics of the emerging ecological period is the move from a human-centered norm of reality and value to a nature-centered norm.  We cannot expect life, the earth, or the universe to fit into our rational human designs of how life, the earth, or the universe should function.  We must fit our thinking and our actions within the larger process.  We must move from democracy to biocracy.  We need a constitution for the North American continent, not simply a constitution for the humans occupying this continent.  We need a United Species, not simply a united Nations.  

    - Patriocene Era

Ch 12.  Bioregions: The Context for Reinhabiting the Earth

(165)  Any progress of the human at the expense of the larger life community must ultimately lead to a diminishment of human life itself.  A degraded habitat will produce degraded humans.

(169)  The larger functioning of bioregions leads to a consideration that the earth be viewed primarily as an interrelated system of bioregions, and only secondarily as a community of nations.  The massive bureaucratic nations of the world have lost their inner vitality because they can no longer respond to the particular functioning of the various bioregions of their borders.  

Ch 15.  The Dream of the Earth: Our Way into the Future

(203)  We are the sane, the rational, the dreamless people, the chosen people of destiny.

(203)  Ever-heightened consumption was the way to ultimate human fulfillment.  Every earthly being was reduced from its status as a sacred reality to that of being a “natural resource,” available for human use for whatever trivial purposes humans might invent.  

(204)  Our sense of endless progress emerges from the millennial expectations of our scriptures.  From the prophetic period onward our scriptures speak to us of a period when the human condition would be surmounted, when justice would reign, when the fruits of the earth would be available in lash abundance.  All this fostered a profound resentment against our human condition.  


Ch 16.  Cosmology of Peace

(217)  From Heraclitus to Augustine, to Nicholas of Cusa, Hegel, and Marx, to Jung, Teilhard, and Prigogine, creativity has been associated with disequilibrium, a tension of forces, whether this be in a physical, biological, or consciousness context.  

(219)  As the distinguished anthropologist A.L. Kroeber once indicated:  The ideal situation for any individual or any culture is not exactly “bovine placidity.”  It is rather, “the highest state of tension that the organism can bear creatively.”

    - the placidity of modern comforts creates unconscious activity; uninvolved, depersonalized, mundane, with the drugs of media, technology, alcohol, caffeine, nicotine, etc to give  the illusion of contentment.