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Place, Truth and Ecosophies in Naess

FatCatRex's picture

I’ve picked a few things to post here and several more to mention in class under the headings of things added and things to question. I tried to pick moments in Naess that speak most readily to the themes we’ve already discussed in class.

He asserts, for instance, “reality is all possibilities,” (Naess 17). Later on the same page, he suggests: “seek truth but do not claim it,” (17). Both of these aphorisms make interesting points around the topic of truth, reality, and who owns either of these intangibles.

Although perhaps it was not his intention, I am fascinated by Naess’s reminder that reality is uncertain, and that the real exists depending on preceding truths. If this is true, we can extrapolate that there is not one particular truth or set of truths. For there to be many realities, I imagine these must spring from many potential truths. Supporting this claim later in the text comes where Naess is describing ecosophy: “The details of ecosophy will show many variations due to significant differences concerning…the ‘facts,’” (32). To Naess, “fact” is certainly an implied construction and not a whole truth. Indeed, he seems to be saying that ecosophy is based on ‘facts’ or truths of our experiences which we deem to be real or true. Furthermore, ecosophies vary person to person, and one set of personal truths cannot be valued higher than the other, which allows everyone to feel that developing our own ecosophy is critical—no one else can do it for us, only our own truths will do.

The second tenant of Naess’s about seeking truth implies that at the very least, ownership of an idea or truth is unimportant. What is critical, however, is the process of seeking such truths. Naess seems to believe that the maturation and the growing process of each human being is how we become conscientious eco-losophers. Claiming truth only deprives others, which no one wants to do.  

I really enjoyed the connection I perceived between Naess and Solnit (I've already loved on her work with place and attachment in my post called "Every Love has its Landscape). Both sincerely value place attachment and space identification. The focus then on one place should allow for a growthful process of self-realization. After all, “living our ecosophy is a deep, long-term commitment to our home place,” (40). Naess goes on to remind us that, "we do not try to control the world. We do not abstract ourselves from the living world around us," (40). Why would we abstract ourselves from our places when our places are what connect us to our memories as well as, according to Naess, our ecosophies?

 

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