imc indymedia

Los Angeles Indymedia : Activist News

white themeblack themered themetheme help
About Us Contact Us Calendar Publish RSS
latest news
best of news




A-Infos Radio

Indymedia On Air

Dope-X-Resistance-LA List


IMC Network:

Original Cities africa: ambazonia canarias estrecho / madiaq kenya nigeria south africa canada: hamilton london, ontario maritimes montreal ontario ottawa quebec thunder bay vancouver victoria windsor winnipeg east asia: burma jakarta japan korea manila qc europe: abruzzo alacant andorra antwerpen armenia athens austria barcelona belarus belgium belgrade bristol brussels bulgaria calabria croatia cyprus emilia-romagna estrecho / madiaq euskal herria galiza germany grenoble hungary ireland istanbul italy la plana liege liguria lille linksunten lombardia london madrid malta marseille nantes napoli netherlands nice northern england norway oost-vlaanderen paris/Île-de-france patras piemonte poland portugal roma romania russia saint-petersburg scotland sverige switzerland thessaloniki torun toscana toulouse ukraine united kingdom valencia latin america: argentina bolivia chiapas chile chile sur cmi brasil colombia ecuador mexico peru puerto rico qollasuyu rosario santiago tijuana uruguay valparaiso venezuela venezuela oceania: adelaide aotearoa brisbane burma darwin jakarta manila melbourne perth qc sydney south asia: india mumbai united states: arizona arkansas asheville atlanta austin baltimore big muddy binghamton boston buffalo charlottesville chicago cleveland colorado columbus dc hawaii houston hudson mohawk kansas city la madison maine miami michigan milwaukee minneapolis/st. paul new hampshire new jersey new mexico new orleans north carolina north texas nyc oklahoma philadelphia pittsburgh portland richmond rochester rogue valley saint louis san diego san francisco san francisco bay area santa barbara santa cruz, ca sarasota seattle tampa bay tennessee urbana-champaign vermont western mass worcester west asia: armenia beirut israel palestine process: fbi/legal updates mailing lists process & imc docs tech volunteer projects: print radio satellite tv video regions: oceania united states topics: biotech

Surviving Cities africa: canada: quebec east asia: japan europe: athens barcelona belgium bristol brussels cyprus germany grenoble ireland istanbul lille linksunten nantes netherlands norway portugal united kingdom latin america: argentina cmi brasil rosario oceania: aotearoa united states: austin big muddy binghamton boston chicago columbus la michigan nyc portland rochester saint louis san diego san francisco bay area santa cruz, ca tennessee urbana-champaign worcester west asia: palestine process: fbi/legal updates process & imc docs projects: radio satellite tv
printable version - js reader version - view hidden posts - tags and related articles

Nature as Healer and Teacher

by Marc Batko Monday, Dec. 15, 2003 at 6:11 AM

Nature is a healer and teacher, a wounded healer and scorned teacher, a majestic fountain of awe, wonder and inspiration.. Nature cries in pain because she is reduced to a free good, external or sink by a one-dimensional economism.

Nature as Healer and Teacher

By Marc Batko

In “One Family”, the Brazilian liberation theologian Leonardo Boff insists that survival as a species will be easier than survival as a family. This essay seeks to encourage a change of consciousness, a respect for diversity, a commitment to humility and a love for life.

The economy is part of a larger reality or oikos. May we break from the myths of the total absolute market, nature as an external or free good and life as social Darwinism. Living the truths of interdependence means reducing working hours. In a healed balanced perspective urged by Christianity, Buddhism and the Simpsons, the economy is one element of life with especial responsibility to future generations. Without this healed balanced perspective, cultures and the future are sacrificed to the Washington Consensus of liberalization, deregulation and privatization. Without a change of consciousness and priorities, the economy becomes a steamroller with a self-dynamic where nature, women and the third world fall by the wayside.

Human life ought to be dialogical, people relating to one another as question and answer. Gandhi declared that everyone has a wild card in him or herself; only spiritual discipline is necessary for transformation. The truth will set us free but the truth is a process, not a cudgel, a process that can be vitiated by the love of money or the love of power. Life in interdependence with God, contemporaries and nature is life in humility and teachability.

Technology isn’t neutral like an eggbeater but a worldview that envelops. The weaver becomes the web and the machinist the machine (Langdon Winner, MIT). Economic ideology and anthropocentrism have allowed nature to be reduced to a free good, an external and a sink, not counted in economic calculations. The Washington Consensus, the ideology of the total absolute market, is at the root of increasing world inequality and environmental destruction. When profit is made supreme and investors and financiers eclipse workers and consumers, the world is reduced to commodities and merchandise.

Lakes are more than anti-freeze and mountains are more than landfill, First Nations people warn us. Being is greater than having. Hearkening back to an ancient Buddhist saying, a rich one is one who can lose all he has without sorrow.

The malaise of the North could be the harbinger of another world. Overproduction and commodification could be replaced by sharing and sustainability. As crisis and opportunity are represented by the same Chinese letter, people of the North must see their wealth as a gift despoiled by greed and megalomania. Without this new sense of contingency, criticism and intercultural and intergenerational trust become ephemeral.

As love exists in three forms, Eros, Philatio and Agape, the future is described by three German words, Zukunft, Futurum and Adventus. Will the future be marked by sustainability or ruination? Can we see nature as the foundation of future economics? Can we view the economy as part of a greater reality or oikos?

Hope like the immigrant is often unwelcome, calling us to new priorities and paradigms. Nature has rights in herself as children have rights in themselves. Nature comes to us as a healer and teacher, a majestic source of awe and inspiration, a balm designed to bless the poor and the rich as the sun rises on the good and the unjust. Listening to nature can enable us to understand faith as the balancing act of life, the tightrope walk between privacy and community, between individual realization and social development.

Ends and means are confused as part and whole are often confused. Forgetful of nature and of our spiritual core, the economy often becomes a steamroller driven only by profit and short-term constraints. Instead of being one aspect, economism and instrumental rationality colonize all life. All dialogue and relationships become reduced to materialism. The German philosopher Ernst Bloch inveighed against vulgar materialism where all life is reduced to sky atoms, cloud atoms etc.

Nature calls us to unsurpassable majesty, to the wonder and inscrutability of life and to contemplative life. The simplistic reductionism that denies the complexity and uncertainty of life makes us slaves of the routine and conventional perception, accepting as real only what is calculable and known. Mystery, spiritual nexus, wonder and vision are only troublesome intrusions to the hyper-pragmatic mindset. The farmer rose and slept without knowing how the seed grew, Jesus said (Matthew 13). Can we rediscover our humility and interconnectedness and learn from different spiritual traditions? Perhaps riches are like thorns, a temptation to be overcome on our way to wholeness.

In a complex and uncertain world, we are lured by linear and quantitative interpretations of the world and by simplistic and xenophobic solutions, e.g. might makes right. Rightwing extremism seems naturalized in the America of G.W. Bush. The middle has moved to the right. Communities and continents seem mired in disillusionment and resignation. Private interests and power elites make mockery of sustainability and democracy.

Kairos time, the time of decision, differs from everyday time. The Old Testament prophets and the different resistance traditions tried to warn against the delusions of self-interest and the idolatry of power and riches. These voices are often continuously marginalized and disparaged as naïve and habitual disgruntlement. Nature strikes back, Eberhard Stammler wrote in Evangelische Kommentare. The overflowing of the Rhine and the earthquake in Japan are cries of wounded nature.

Being sustainable means using only what is necessary and not taking possibilities of life from future generations. Can we learn from First Nations people and plan for seven generations? Can we live in double vision as people of universal and particular history? Can we rediscover life as active and contemplative, ready to trade our sport-utility vehicles promoted as “lifestyle” for laptop computers?

The future of access, not excess, is a future of boundless growth. Materialism pretends to be absolute. Gold is stylized as the quintessence that changes all life, opens all doors, and cures all relationships. Hans Christoph Binswanger, an emeritus economics professor at the University of St. Gallen, Switzerland discusses the economic pressure of growth in his book “Money and Magic”. Why did fishermen long content with providing for their families suddenly become obsessed with profit and mammoth output? The turning point came with the purchase of a boat. Can we become passionate about sustainable economics and subsistence economics? Nature will then be the treasure of life and the foundation of economics. KFC cannot bring us together; only a re-visioning of nature as healer and teacher can make our spirits strong and resilient. When the destruction of nature is included in prices and not arrogantly dismissed as an external or free good, we will turn from the temptations of excess and be stewards and partners of living, wounded and resplendent nature.

There is power in our vision, our proclamation, our decision and our passion. In a culture of nonstop consumerism, people become strangers to their gifts and powers. Cities that become gridlock reduce the value of the car. The ladder of success, corporate beneficence and the right of the stronger are slowly discredited as pillars of social Darwinism. Another world is possible where money and power do not disfigure communities and the future.

In the Jewish feast of Passover, families eat bitter herbs to remind them of their ancestors’ painful slavery in Egypt. A place is prepared for the prophet Elijah. Can we make a place for nature, the disparaged and reviled foundation of life?

Nature, women and the third world have been disfigured. Global warming, deforestation, over-fishing and genetic engineering are consequences of misguided economic theories and mythologies. The gross domestic product is gross when traffic accidents, cancer suffering and nuclear weapons are only positive inputs. Adbusters magazine from Vancouver, Canada has insisted that economists must learn to subtract ( http://www.adbusters,org). Rethinking Progress, a San Francisco based think tank on alternative economics offers help in leaving the mirage of unlimited quantitative growth.

As Horst-Eberhard Richter said, we live in a world of mutuality and no individual or nation can steal away without damaging nature. Denial of common guilt is part of the American tradition. St. Paul described our interdependence in unforgettable words: Can the eye say to the hand, I have no need of you? Why are you constantly fighting? Do you not have one Father? Jesus asked the refractory Jews.

The center cannot hold, William Butler Yeats warned. Everyone pursuing self-interest doesn’t bring the common good. The “invisible hand” of the market favors those with better starting conditions and makes health care, housing and water into privileges rather than rights.

Creating a social net is the prerequisite for reducing working hours or sharing work. Since we clearly lack the capacity to create meaningful work, sharing work becomes an imperative if the right to work should be upheld. Evaluating technology as to nature-friendliness and employment-friendliness is vital in a world of limits and short-term fixation. New priorities displacing profit worship and quantitative growth are necessary, not blaming the victim, selling the silverware, helping those already enriched or cutting down the branch on which we sit.

In an essay “Cooperation not Violence”, the theologian Gottfried Orth explains that cooperation is our true human nature. As carrots and onions thrive together, people in all their diversity and brokenness can cooperate. Out of the cacophony can come a symphony, Martin Luther King proclaimed.

Can we live as broken branches and as bearers of hope? Can we welcome criticism and peaceableness as parts of our being? Can we see the poverty of the global South as the concomitant to the wealth of the North? Can we remove the log of wastefulness and excess from our own eye before removing the speck from our brother’s eye? Can we repudiate life without criticism as arrogance and hubris?

Development can and must be defined differently. As life isn’t linear and self-evident, development is more than a fast-food restaurant on every corner. Being civilized means learning from the past, correcting our errors and beginning again. The North like the Prodigal Son wasted its inheritance in speculative shareholder capitalism. The normalization of war and the militarization of foreign policy are the bitter fruits of megalomania and imperial ambition. Kyrie Elieson! Under the guise of September 11, the Bush administration fell to the Orwellian perversion of calling attack defense, destroying two countries without any evidence of their complicity.

Four hundred translated articles await you on my website “Nature Strikes Back!” by Eberhard Stammler, “Faith as a Balancing Act of Life” by Willibald Sandler, “Faith Heals Reason” by Dorothee Soelle, “Crisis as Opportunity: Exodus from the Accumulation Logic” by Maria Mies and “Beginnings that Guarantee the Whole” by Kurt Erlemann could give us new perspectives. Knowledge is power. The deception that ignorance is strength, the Washington consensus that deregulation, liberalization and privatization would lift all boats has proven to be a chimera or anachronism. Exploding inequality, ruined state finances, corporate welfare and corporate tax evasion are the consequences of market radicalism or market fundamentalism.

Nature falls by the wayside. According to the mythology, increased profits would lead to increased investment and increased jobs. According to reality, helping those who don’t need help, refusing to mend our own pockets and destroying nature, women and the third world are pathological consequences of our pride and impenitence.

Come to the waters of plurality, humility and inoffensiveness! Can the rich see themselves as needy of vision and compassion? Can the poor see themselves as rich in faith and guardians of repressed marginalized voices? When the destruction of nature is included in prices and not arrogantly dismissed as an external or free good, we will turn from the temptations of excess and be stewards and partners of nature. The friendly beneficent face of nature will dawn again when we live as open, welcoming and changeable creatures.

Report this post as:

Local News


lausd whistle blower A10 11:58PM

Website Upgrade A10 3:02AM

Help KCET and UCLA identify 60s-70s Chicano images A04 1:02PM

UCLA Luskin: Casting Youth Justice in a Different Light A02 11:58AM

Change Links April 2018 A01 11:27AM

Nuclear Shutdown News March 2018 M31 6:57PM

Join The Protest Rally in Glendale on April 10, 2018! M29 7:00PM

Join The Protest Rally in Glendale on April 10, 2018! M29 6:38PM

Spring 2018 National Immigrant Solidarity Network News Alert! M19 2:02PM

Anti-Eviction Mapping Project Shows Shocking Eviction Trends in L.A. M16 5:40PM

Steve Mnuchin video at UCLA released M15 12:34AM

Actress and Philanthropist Tanna Frederick Hosts Project Save Our Surf Beach Clean Ups M06 12:10PM

After Being Told He's 'Full of Sh*t' at School Event, Mnuchin Demands UCLA Suppress Video M02 11:44AM

Resolution of the Rent Strike in Boyle Heights M01 6:28PM

What Big Brother Knows About You and What You Can Do About It M01 3:30PM

Step Up As LAPD Chief Charlie Beck Steps Down F14 2:44PM

Our House Grief Support Center Hosts 9th Annual Run For Hope, April 29 F13 12:51PM

Don’t let this LA County Probation Department overhaul proposal sit on the shelf F13 11:04AM

Echo Park Residents Sue LA Over Controversial Development F12 8:51AM

Former Signal Hill police officer pleads guilty in road-rage incident in Irvine F09 10:25PM

Calif. Police Accused of 'Collusion' With Neo-Nazis After Release of Court Documents F09 7:14PM

Center for the Study of Political Graphics exhibit on Police Abuse posters F07 9:50AM

City Agrees to Settle Lawsuit Claiming Pasadena Police Officer Had His Sister Falsely Arre F04 3:17PM

Professor's Study Highlights Health Risks of Urban Oil Drilling F04 12:42PM

Claims paid involving Pasadena Police Department 2014 to present F04 10:52AM

Pasadenans - get your license plate reader records from police F03 11:11PM

LA Times Homicide Report F03 1:57PM

More Local News...

Other/Breaking News

Biodiversité ou la nature privatisée A20 11:22AM

The Market is a Universal Totalitarian Religion A20 7:14AM

Book Available about Hispanics and US Civil War by National Park Service A19 5:52PM

The Shortwave Report 04/20/18 Listen Globally! A19 4:01PM

The Republican 'Prolife' Party Is the Party of War, Execution, and Bear Cub Murder A19 11:48AM

Neurogenèse involutive A18 9:21AM

Paraphysique de la dictature étatique A16 10:13AM

Book Review: "The New Bonapartists" A16 3:45AM

The West Must Take the First Steps to Russia A14 12:25PM

Théorie générale de la révolution ou hommage à feu Mikhaïl Bakounine A14 3:30AM

The Shortwave Report 04/13/18 Listen Globally! A12 3:50PM

“Lost in a Dream” Singing Competition Winner to Be Chosen on April 15 for ,000 Prize! A12 3:48PM

The World Dependent on Central Banks A12 4:43AM

Ohio Governor Race: Dennis Kucinich & Richard Cordray Run Against Mike DeWine A11 9:40PM

March 2018 Honduras Coup Again Update A10 10:52PM

Apologie du zadisme insurrectionnel A10 3:33PM

ICE contract with license plate reader company A10 1:14PM

Palimpseste sisyphéen A09 11:23PM

Black Portraiture(S) IV: The Color of Silence...Cuba No...Cambridge Yes A09 5:32AM

Prohibiting Micro-Second Betting on the Exchanges A09 4:18AM

Prosecutors treat Muslims harsher than non-Muslims for the same crimes A08 10:33PM

Amy Goodman interview on cell phone safety A08 10:29PM

Mesa, Arizona police officer kills unarmed white man A08 9:50PM

Israeli leaders should be prosecuted for war crimes A08 9:48PM

Paraphysique de l'autorité A08 12:11AM

Two Podcasts on fbi corruption A06 10:13PM

Fbi assassins assault & try to kill DAVID ATKINS A06 7:29PM

EPA Head Scott Pruitt: Of Cages And Sirens A06 2:15PM

More Breaking News...
© 2000-2018 Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by the Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Running sf-active v0.9.4 Disclaimer | Privacy