From Ego to Eco: A New World View

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Prof. Scott Carlin,  Long Island University,  



The Issue
Marrying technology to greed is destroying the fabric of life. Our modern world rests on some important falsehoods: we humans are separate from nature, we have a right to overexploit natural resources, nature has no intrinsic value, and nature’s machinery is comprised of interchangeable parts. We wrongly define energy consumption as a human need that takes precedence over long-term pollution problems. There is a grave danger in defining the climate change crisis in technocratic terms. Adaptation, mitigation, finance, and technology define the problem too narrowly, because they attack this crisis with the same kind of thinking that created the problem in the first place. If we are to save the planet from destruction, we need to add a fifth area: developing a new view of earth.

We humans cannot bring extinguished species back to life, restore depleted stocks of resources, but if we act rapidly, we can hopefully slow and reverse global warming. As Gandhi instructed, “The Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s need, but not every man’s greed.” We must use our bodies, minds, and spirit to end ecological destruction carried out by institutions large and small.
Solving the climate change crisis requires shifting our consciousness to an entirely different and more truthful reality. We are nature; our bodies are mostly water. Our highest calling is to love and nurture life. It is our sense of spirit that gives us courage, motivates, inspires, and empowers us to build earth-healing technologies and communities. The principals of love, hope, and charity are universal, and are essential tools in transcending our destructive patterns.

This shift in spirit also requires that we reexamine the balance between the masculine and the feminine in our world cultures. In many cultures the masculine spirit of control and possessiveness is too dominant. The shift we seek requires strengthening the nurturing and giving feminine voice.
Institutional change is vital to this process. Institutions in the 21st century must be legally required to work with and not against nature. Institutions and their technologies must stop over-exploiting and polluting natural systems. We must ensure that institutions and modern technologies clean, restore, and enhance natural systems.

For all these reasons, we redefine the hero as “one who heals not harms”. All of humanity is part of a larger living system on earth, Gaia. We each need to recenter our lives on this larger reality; we need to effect a global cultural shift away from the ego-centered I and champion the interdependence of humanity and all living systems.