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03 Aug

Deep Ecology: Fritjof Capra

Deep Ecology: Fritjof Capra

PART B

  1. The crisis of perception refers to an outdated worldview which sees global problems as isolated. Such a perception is inadequate for dealing with our overpopulated, globally interconnected world.
  2. It is not possible to study the current global problems in isolation because they are systemic ie they are interconnected and interdependent.
  3. According to Lester Brown, a sustainable society is one that satisfies its needs without diminishing the prospects of future generations.
  4. The leaders fail to see how the global problems are interrelated. They also fail to see how their so-called solutions affect future generations.
  5. The Copernican revolution led physicists to a new worldview.
  6. Fritjof Capra defines paradigm as a set of perceptions, thinking and values that influence our actions and policies.
  7. A holistic worldview is one that sees the world as an integrated whole rather than a dissociated collection of parts.
  8. Shallow ecology views humans as above or outside of nature, as the source of all value, and ascribes only instrumental or ‘use’ value to nature.
  9. Our social and economic structures are anti-ecological in nature. This is rooted in the ‘dominator system’ of social organization.

 

PART C

 

  1. The worldview that dominated our thought for centuries was anthropocentric ie man-centred. Fritjof Capra contends that our thought and the structure of our social life have been dominated for centuries by a man-centred worldview. Our social and economic structures are anti-ecological in nature. This is rooted in the ‘dominator system’ of social organization.  Patriarchy, imperialism, capitalism and racism are examples of social domination that are exploitative and anti-ecological.
  2. The two terms ‘holistic’ and ‘ecological’ differ slightly in meanings. A holistic view of a bicycle means to see the bicycle as a functional whole and to understand the interdependence of its parts accordingly. An ecological view of the bicycle includes that, but it adds to it the perception of how the bicycle is embedded in its natural and social environment – where the raw materials came from, how it was manufactured, how its use affects the natural environment and community.
  3. Deep ecological awareness is spiritual. In deep ecology, the concept of the human spirit is understood as the mode of consciousness in which the individual feels a sense of belonging and connectedness to the cosmos as a whole. Also, deep ecology is consistent with the ‘perennial philosophy’ of spiritual traditions such as Christian mysticism, Buddhist philosophy and Native American traditions.
  4. Ecofeminism  is an important philosophical school of ecology. It can also be seen as a special school of social ecology. Feminism throws light on the position of women in a patriarchal system. The exploitation of nature and women are related. This association of women and nature links women’s history and the history of environment. Ecofeminism unites feminism and ecology. Ecofeminists see female experiential knowledge as a major source for an ecological vision of reality.
  5. The shift in paradigm requires not only an expansion of our perception, but also of our values. Capra speaks about the relation between ecology and ethics. He emphasizes the need for introducing ethical standards in science. Scientists ought to understand nature and self as one. Then there will be concern for the living and the non-living. According to Arne Naess, expansion of self should lead to identification with nature. The protection of nature should be felt as protection of ourselves. If so there will be no pressure to show care to nature.
  6. Our social and economic structures are anti-ecological in nature. This is rooted in the ‘dominator system’ of social organization.  Patriarchy, imperialism, capitalism and racism are examples of social domination that are exploitative and anti-ecological. These social systems are hierarchical. Deep ecology proposes a shift from hierarchical to networked social system. Deep ecology is based on the awareness of the interconnectedness of things and phenomena, of life as a web in which human life forms only a strand.
  7. Values and ethics are central to deep ecology. Deep ecology is grounded on eco-centric values. It acknowledges the inherent value of non-human life. Capra speaks about the relation between ecology and ethics. He emphasizes the need for introducing ethical standards in science. Scientists ought to understand nature and self as one. Then there will be concern for the living and the non-living. According to Arne Naess, expansion of self should lead to identification with nature. The protection of nature should be felt as protection of ourselves. If so there will be no pressure to show care to nature.
  8. The connection between an ecological perception of the world and corresponding behaviour is not a logical but a psychological one. If we have deep ecological awareness, we will be inclined to care for all of living nature. The link between ecology and psychology has been explored recently by several authors. Joanna Macy has written about the ‘greening of the self’, Warwick Fox has coined the term ‘transpersonal ecology’ and Theodore Roszak the term ‘ecopsychology’.

 

Neethu Tessa Baby

Assumption College, Changanassery

 

 

 

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