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Are we told what to think?

AyaSeaver's picture

      One of the most confusing topics that came up in discussion on Monday was the disagreement in how different readers felt when they read "The Ecology of Wisdom".  Is there a didactic strand to Naess's argument or is he simply revealing one way to live. 

     While I remain unsure as how to read some of the essays--I think his basic use of 'deep ecology' verses 'shallow ecology' does reveal a value-judgement. And it's the value judgement that alienates readers. What the anthology seems to argue to me is that if you're a deep ecologist you'll agree with these statements: "x,x, and x" but if you're a shallow ecologist even though you might be motivated for life, your motivation is based in a selfish desire for to maintain the prominence of our life form.

So no, there's isn't a call to action but there's intent and value judgement behind words like "deep" and "shallow" to movements a value judgement is being made. (Are you deep or are you shallow?) An axiological system has been constructed around which is becomes impossible to argue because if you disagree with the platform or the concept or even just how the argument is constructed, you're shallow not deep. This is binary and exclusionary. I imagine that many practices of ecology could be made to span both movements, as could people.

I'm not sure, as a side note, if this language-problem is entirely just his fault. It's a habit of any movement to pick a name that seems to at once identify itself and its opposition. (The Structuralists, the Post-Structuralists, Pro-Sex Feminists, Anti-Sex Feminists, Pro-Choice, Pro-Life) 

And, just as a kind of final musing, from the shallow perspective Naess's often very spiritual connection with nature and his mixing of Eastern Religions into his philosophical movement seems just as anthro-centric as any movement to prevent more damage to the ozone layer because we don't want humans to die. Naess's motivation is spirtual in part but does that really distance itself from humanity just because it reaches for the heavens? (or the forests, or the lakes, or the mountains?)


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