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Culture
and Ecology

Culture and Ecology / Presentation

Secular

Photo by Shabin Paul

Secular

Symbiotic relationship of humans with nature

This granite stone sculpture shows a tree growing from the body of a tribal woman. It represents the interconnectedness of nature with human beings. The sculpture is located at Fireflies Ashram, Bangalore.

The more clearly we can focus our attention on the wonders and realities of the universe about us, the less taste we shall have for destruction.

Rachel Carson

Eco-spirituality

by Siddhartha

Secular eco-spirituality suggests that just as life forms have evolved from simpler to more complex and sophisticated ones (for example from the single celled organisms to multi celled ones) human consciousness and spiritualities have now the potential to move up the spiral and put into practice the processes that can uphold the dignity of individuals, communities and the earth itself. Human rights and earth rights have also evolved with the evolution of our consciousness.

Thinkers like Tielhard de Chardin and Sri Aurobindo believed that human history and civilization were evolving into higher and higher forms of consciousness and greater spiritual depths.

Jiddu Krishnamurti, the Indian philosopher, said: “We are the world, the world is us.” But long before this, Chief Seattle, of the Squamish tribe of North America, stated the age-old wisdom of indigenous people in his well-known statement of March 11, 1854, that man did not weave the web of life; he is merely a strand in it, and whatever he does to the web he does to himself. To this day many adivasis in India share this vision, even if they are being driven against the wall by corporations and mining interests who steal their land and fell the forests.

We must add that this world and this Krishnamurtian-ness are evolving in a Teilhardian sense, however unsteadily and erratically. To put it differently, the fullness and wholeness of life, or the non-dual nature of reality, is evolving. It is in the evolution of nature as a whole, of which the human is a part, that the divine is unfolding into fullness.

In the 1960’s the Christian theologian Harvey Cox had enthusiastically embraced secularism as an irreversible process through which society and culture would be liberated from “religious control and closed metaphysical worldviews”. Unfortunately, in the decades that have passed the sacred in the secular has been transformed into the secular in the marketplace. The secular is now intimately fused with the anti-ecological spirit of the global market and hyper-competitive individualism. The world of inter-being and interconnectedness seems a far cry although we have the illusion that the internet is connecting us.

The more clearly we can focus our attention on the wonders and realities of the universe about us, the less taste we shall have for destruction.

Rachel Carson