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Human Groupings Have Often ‘created’ an Environment, Reshaping It in Some Way without Destroying It

By: Brother Coyote

It was curious to read Pope Francisco claim that ‘‘a healthy ecology is the result of interaction between human beings and the environment, as occurs in the indigenous cultures and has occurred for centuries in different regions of the earth. Human groupings have often ‘created’ an environment, reshaping it in some way without destroying it or endangering it.

The great present-day problem is that the technocratic paradigm has destroyed that healthy and harmonious relationship. In any event, the indispensable need to move beyond that paradigm, so damaging and destructive, will not be found in a denial of the human being, but include the interaction of natural systems ‘with social systems’.”

This is music to the ears of someone who has variously been called an ethnobiologist, cultural ecologist, or interaction ecologist, while at the same time always feeling wary of such labels. Why? Because there is no possible way humans can ever be separate from our gut microbiome, skin and hair microbiome and habitat micro- and macro-biome… it is only when we break the world up into separate disciplines, faiths or beliefs that the integrity becomes obscured.

Whenever we separate from other lives, we get as sick or as crazy as a politician. Whenever we attempt to restore those interactions, our surroundings, innards and selves (whatever that means) heal more quickly than we could have ever imagined and we become reinvigorated. And so do our inspirited beings, ie the in-breathing of the world into us, and the out-breathing of inner worlds into the pluriverse.   I think every infant feels this spirited life; it is not an abstraction. As we grow older, we suffer some kind of sensory amnesia and get stuck in our heads, the most boring place one can ever remain. 

The Pope may be preaching to the choir – I surely am—but perhaps the fall from the garden is simply the fall from (perceived) connectedness, no less, no more. Spirituality is no more an abstraction than breathing is; dismiss or ignore it for too long, and life stops. But what we have done is let evangelical storm-troopers abduct that word and villainize anyone who does not have the same manner of speaking of the creation/ creator(s) as they do. To honor creation and creativity in all beings, we may need to simply give up on missionizing, evangelizing or converting our inner selves as well as anyone else.  I love you for who you are, not for who I want you to be.

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