a literary journal published by the Black Earth Institute dedicated to re-forging the links between art and spirit, earth and society

Section 4: I am (not) nature

Section 4: Editor’s Note

In our time humans have, for the most part, separated themselves from the natural world and have come to treat nature as an other completely outside of us, raw material for the exploitation, invention and refashioning by the ingenious human mind. We have lost touch with the fact that we are bound like Siamese twins to the very natural world we exploit.

Our culture’s hyperbolic emphasis on the self, giving license to selfishness — our denial of the primal paradox — is creating a profound crisis, a crisis that is existential as much as it is ecological.

Our separate “I” as well as our species-collective “I” sees itself as the primary value in the universe. “All Else” has been arrayed for our use. Even in ecologically minded circles nature remains the separate other, an available warehouse of objects to exploit, manipulate, or manage. Can we embrace the other side of the primal paradox here? Can we profoundly see ourselves as the very thing we are exploiting, manipulating or managing? At the same time as we affirm our solidarity with other beings in nature, and our dependence on them, can we respect their difference from us and minimize our temptation to impose ourselves in our imbalanced way on their destiny?

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