Saturday, May 26, 2007

opposing the system

“The U.S. must be the most difficult country to correct in the world. Americans are always open discussing values at a personal level, but when you mention opposition to the system, they think you are a communist” (Erik Dammann, 1989, from Wisdom in the Open Air, 215).

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

More on being lost...

“A man that is lost and seems to be wandering has undoubtedly the best opportune to find his new calling” (reflection based on Arne Næss and Al Gore).

Sunday, March 4, 2007

Isak, immersed in the wilds

“In the wilds, each season has its wonders, but always, unchangingly, there is that immense heavy sound of heaven and earth, the sense of being surrounded on all sides, the darkness of the forest, the kindliness of the trees. All is heavy and soft, no thought is impossible there” (Knut Hamsun, Growth of the Soil, 1921, page 178).

Saturday, March 3, 2007

Beautiful Sellanrå

“Look at you folk at Sellanraa, now; looking up at blue peaks every day of you lives; no new-fangled inventions about that, but fjeld and rocky peaks, rooted deep in the past – but you’ve them for companionship. There you are, living in touch with heaven and earth, one with them, one with all these wide, deep-rooted things…Look, Nature’s there, for you and yours to have and enjoy. Man and Nature don’t bombard each other, but agree; they don’t compete, race one against the other, but go together” (Knut Hamsun,1921, Growth of the Soil, page 428).

Friday, February 23, 2007

Wergeland and early norsk ecological poetry

“There is nothing, great or small,

that is fruitless, or decayed,

but its ending keeps a purpose,

however hidden that may be”

– Henrik Wergeland (1808-1845), from Follow the Call

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Carson and strength

“Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts” (Rachel Carson, unknown source, from Call of the Wild, 2002, pg. 100).

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Lost and finding the way

“I offer myself as a nature guide, exploring for values. Many before us have got lost and we must look the world over. The unexamined life is not worth living; life in an unexamined world is not worth living either. We miss too much of value” – Holmes Rolston (Light and Rolston, Environmental Ethics, 2003:143).

Impossible, unthinkable

"If we do not do the impossible, we shall be faced with the unthinkable" (Murray Bookchin, unknown source). –speaking in regards to an ecological disconnect.

Monday, February 12, 2007

More domination and table scraps

"In our own time we have seen domination spread over the social landscape to a point where it is beyond all human control. Compared to this stupendous mobilization of materials, of wealth, of human intellect, of human labor for the single goal of domination, all other recent human achievements pale to almost trivial significance. Our art, science, medicine, literature, music and ‘charitable’ acts seem like mere droppings from a table on which gory feasts on the spoils of conquest have engaged the attention of a system whose appetite for rule is utterly unrestrained" (Murray Bookchin, unknown source).

Friday, February 2, 2007

Singing into existence

“The philosopher Martin Heidegger said all we had to do was sing.  You might have heard other things about him, good and bad, but remember he did say that the Earth needs humanity in order to sing it into existence, to give it word, name, not substance but story.  Much as I too want to sing I can’t quite believe that.  The world is wonderful because it doesn’t need me at all, except perhaps to save it from the sum total of human mistake” (David Rothenberg, Always the Mountains, pg. viii).

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Ibsen's human revolution

“We have been living on crumbs dropped from the revolutionary table of the preceding century.  They have been chewed far too long.  Thought requires new nourishment and stimulus.  Liberté, Egalité et Fraternité no longer mean what they meant in the age of the guillotine.  Bullheaded politicians make no effort to understand this.  That is why I hate them.  All they want is a political revolution, a particular revolution superficial in all things.  Such a revolution is absurd.  The important thing is renovation of the human spirit” (Henrik Ibsen wrote in a personal letter, taken from Choose Peace: A Dialogue Between Johan Galtung and Daisku Ikeda, 1995, pg 11).

Philosophers from the masses

“The truly great members of the masses of humanity are the people who labor not in the spotlight, but behind the scenes. I am most comfortable and can work most untiringly in the company of philosophers from the masses” (Daisaku Ikeda, Choose Peace: A Dialogue Between Johan Galtung and Daisku Ikeda, 1995, pg 6).

Friday, January 26, 2007

Good servant, but bad master

"It used to be said of fire, the first of the technological weapons, that it was a good servant but a bad master. The same holds true for the newer weapons of technology". (James Lovelock, Gaia: A new look at life on earth, 1979, pg 115).

Friday, May 12, 2006

The value of spontaneous crazy experiences

"I remember in Tokyo, our car stopped unexpectedly. I found right there no building, but a small area of 'weeds', excitingly different from those in Norway. Consequently, I had a splendid time for a whole hour inspecting the strange weeds. Conclusion: teach children to value spontaneous crazy experiences - crazy because usually one would say, 'There is nothing there'". (Arne Næss, Canadian Journal of Environmental Education 5, 2000, pg 54).

Friday, May 5, 2006

Merely a strand in the web of life

"Man does not weave this web of life. He is merely a strand of it. Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself." (Chief Seattle)

Tuesday, May 2, 2006

Love for the earth, eachother, and those that follow

“We seek a renewed stirring of love for the earth
We plead that what we are capable of doing is
Not always what we ought to do.
We urge that all people now determine
That a wide untrammeled freedom shall remain
To testify that this generation has love for the next.
If we want to succeed in that, we might show, meanwhile,

A little more love for this one, and for each other.”
(Nancy Newhall, This is The American Earth, 1961; taken from Deep Ecology, pg 118)

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Modern science's ancient mentality towards nature

“The ‘control of nature’ is a phrase conceived in arrogance, born of the Neanderthal age of biology and philosophy, when it was supposed that nature exists for the convenience of man. The concepts and practices of applied entomology for the most part date from that Stone Age of science. It is our alarming misfortune that so primitive a science has armed itself with the most modern and terrible weapons, and that is turning them against the insects it has also turned them against the earth.” (Rachel Carson, Silent Spring, taken from Deep Ecology, pg 94)

Thursday, April 27, 2006

"Prayer for the great family"

Gratitude to Mother Earth, sailing through night and day -
and to her soil: rich, rare, and sweet
in our minds so be it.
Gratitude to Plants, the sun-facing light-changing leaf
and fine root-hairs standing still through wind
and rain, their dance is in the flowing spiral grain
in our minds so be it.
Gratitude to Air, bearing the soaring Swift and the silent
Owl at dawn. Breath of our song
clear spirit breeze
in our minds so be it.
Gratitude to Wild Beings, our brothers, teaching secrets,
freedoms, and ways; who share with us their milk;
self-complete, brave, and aware
in our minds so be it.
Gratitude to Water: clouds, lakes, rivers, glaciers;
holding or releasing, streaming through all
our bodies salty seas
in our minds so be it.
Gratitude to the Sun: blinding pulsing light through
trunks of trees, through mists, warming caves where
bears and snakes sleep – he who wakes us –
in our minds so be it.
Gratitude to the Great Sky
who holds billions of stars – and goes yet beyond that –
beyond all powers, and thoughts
and yet is within us –
Grandfather Space.
The Mind is his Wife.

so be it.
(Gary Snyder, Turtle Island, 1974, pgs 24-25)

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Living with the earth - building the best character

Now I see the secret of the making of the best persons.
It is to grow in the open air, and to eat and sleep
with the earth.
(Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass; taken from Deep Ecology, pg 77).

Monday, April 24, 2006

St. Francis and natures democracy

“The greatest spiritual revolutionary in Western history, Saint Francis, proposed what he thought was an alternative Christian view of nature and man’s relationship to it; he tried to substitute the idea of the equality of all creatures, including man, for the idea of man’s limitless rule of creation…The key to an understanding of Francis is his belief in the virtue of humility – not merely for the individual but for man as a species. Francis tried to depose man form his monarchy over creation and set up a democracy of all God’s creatures”. (Lynn White Jr., “Historical Roots of our Ecological Crisis”, 1967).
See St. Francis's canticle "Brother Sun, Sister Moon"

Friday, April 21, 2006

Agressively confronting violence with only love at hand

"Gandhi sought to lead the force of love into contructive channels wherever it had gone astray and he was always ready to meet men to try to persuade them to relinguish their trust in violence as a method". (Arne Næss, Gandhi and the Nuclear Age, 1965, pg 106)

Monday, April 17, 2006

The need for Deep Ecology (as explained by Devall and Sessions)

“While accepting the best of reformist environmentalism, many people have sensed that something is missing. They are asking deeper questions. They understand that the environment/ecology movement needs an articulate philosophical approach grounded upon assumptions which are different from those of the dominant worldview. They realize that a perspective is needed that will place the best of the reformist response into a coherent philosophical perspective – a philosophy based on biocentric rather than anthropocentric assumptions. This philosophy should be able to draw on the science of ecology, but should not be constrained by scientism and by the definition of Nature as just a collection of bits of data to be manipulated by humans. This philosophy should be both rational and spiritual. It should focus on ways of cultivating ecological consciousness and on principles for public environmental policy. It should be a philosophy that draws from the Earth wisdom of Native Americans and other primal cultures and that makes these approaches to wisdom relevant to contemporary, technocratic-industrial societies. In 1972, Arne Naess began discussing such a philosophy which he called deep ecology.” (Devall and Sessions, Deep Ecology, 1985, pg 61)

The Quiet Crisis

“History tells us that earlier civilizations have declined because they did not learn to live in harmony with the land. Our successes in space and our triumphs of technology hold a hidden danger: as modern man increasingly arrogates to himself dominion over the physical environment, there is the risk that his false pride will cause him to take the resources of the earth for granted – and to lose all reverence for the land.” (Stuart Udall, The Quiet Crisis, 1962, taken from Deep Ecology, pg 59).

Santayana and the Genteel Tradition

“A Californian whom I had recently the pleasure of meeting observed that if the philosophers had lived among your mountains, their systems would have been different form what they are. Certainly very different from what those systems are which the European genteel tradition has handed down since Socrates; for these systems are egotistical; directly or indirectly they are anthropocentric, and inspired by the conceited notion that man, or human reason, or the human distinction between good and evil, is the center and pivot of the universe. That is what the mountains and the woods should make you at last ashamed to assert.” (George Santayana, “The Genteel Tradition in American Philosophy” speech presented at the University of California at Berkeley, 1911 – taken from from Deep Ecology, pg 47)

Ecosystems and understanding the Self

“[natural systems are] both as the source of physical nutrition and as the body of metaphors from which our spirits draw sustenance. To understand natural systems is to begin an understanding of the self”. (Jim Dodge, a sheep rancher in Western Sonoma County, California, taken from Deep Ecology pg 21).

Friday, April 14, 2006

Volunteerism as a strengthener to social change

"What people take upon themselves to do voluntarily, day by day, in the way of removing social evils, gives them a moral right to take, whenever necessary, a greater part in curing other such evils and in overcoming other such obstacles to constructive reform. When men cooperate, however modestly, toward common ends, they inevitably acquire valuable training for the kind of large-scale cooperation they will require in times of active struggle." (Arne Næss, Gandhi and the Nuclear Age, 1965, pg 67)

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Alienation of humans from all nature via technology

“Technological society not only alienates humans from the rest of Nature but also alienates humans from themselves and from each other…The technological worldview has as its ultimate vision the total conquest and domination of Nature and spontaneous natural processes – a vision of a ‘totally artificial environment’ remodeled to human specifications and managed by humans for humans.” (Devall and Sessions, Deep Ecology, pg 48).

Boredom and lack of wisdom

“[In contemporary cultures] Our pathology consists in our dedication to abstractions, to our collectivism, pseudo-individualism, and lack of institutional means for the expression and transcendence of human ambivalence…Our illness springs from the very center of civilization, not from too much knowledge, but from too little wisdom…”. (Stanley Diamond, In Search of the Primitive, taken from Deep Ecology, pgs 20-21)

Self-realization and openness

To study the Way is to study the self.
To study the self is to forget the self.
To forget the self is to be enlightened
by all things.
To be enlightened by all
things is to remove the
barriers between one’s self
and others.
(Dōgen, taken from Deep Ecology, pg, 11)
Scott at Tvergastein Cabin at Hallingskarvet (October, 2005)