*Ecotopia at the Centre of the Three Petals (Civilization, Mysticism and the Indigenous Soul)

March 13, 2012

How can a way of living be imagined that sits between the high-tech urban phenomenon of the late modern city, the spiritual insights attested throughout the many mystic traditions known throughout world history, and the identification with the land so common in indigenous cultures?

Such an intercultural vision must allow for the intellectual freedom of the individual and the collective flourishing of all peoples, as well as integrating values of biodiversity that protect the rights of other animals, plants and landscapes. It must move beyond the self-interested desires and social network egomania of the postmodern consumer, yet protect everybody from the potential of police states featuring surveillance on formerly unimaginable scales.

It must protect places of natural beauty for the solace of the soul, for the creatures and other forms of life that inhabit them, for their intrinsic value free of human desires; and it must also think about human life as part of nature, our farms and crops as a segment of biodiversity, our cities in a wider matrix of resource and energy flows.

Thus it sees humanity as part of nature; humans as evolved primates with powerful technological abilities; urban civilization as a natural outcome of this capacity that is not necessarily the wisest direction forwards, at least not without wholesale transformation that rebalances some of the horrible inequalities currently displayed between city and country, rich and poor, enfranchised stakeholders on the worldview of profiteering and disenchanted others.

It embraces openness to various manifestations of spirituality without endorsing any single vision, religious organization or dogmatic creed. It also recognizes the intuitive human craving for grand stories that explain the enormity and mystery of existence in poetic and metaphoric forms, while noting that only myth that stands to reason will satisfy the critical faculties we also value so rightly; and that rich responses to this seeming paradox or cognitive dissonance abound in the imagination of artists and creative thinkers everywhere.

Finally, it knows that all humans are at home on earth and that any story that tells them otherwise is an example of restrictive and therefore dismissable ideology. We all have an indigenous soul, whether we define ourselves as urban, modern, native, pagan, sophisticated, settled, vagrant or migrant. Our roots, as individuals in this body and collectively as a race, are on earth; and this is where our first loyalty must lay. Any dream that leads us way from being true to the flourishing of the whole earth and its myriad lives and forms must be rejected. This should not be a radical announcement but it is, given the way things are today.

*NB: Ecotopia = Ecological Utopia


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: