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Healing the Destructive Divide Between People and Environment: The Work of Kenneth Worthy

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(Article changed on October 4, 2013 at 08:33)


Invisible Nature
(Image by Kenneth Worthy)
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Invisible Nature by Kenneth Worthy

Invisible Nature by Kenneth Worthy

 

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My wife, Merry Hall writes in her HUMILIATING HUMANITY

There are two ways to humiliate humanity. The evident one is on public display right now: CONFRONTATION. Strut around like peacocks (or is it dicks?). I am right; therefore you are wrong. I am right; therefore you are left out. I am the Man; therefore you are my slave...this to woman, to children, the aged, the poor, the black (or brown, or yellow, or red), to nature, to student, to all but ME, inc. Come on, Congress--what kind of face are you putting on America? Look in the mirror, Corporations--does it answer, "You are the fairest of them all"? If it isn't a fun-house or funny-farm mirror, it will reflect honestly, "You are the greediest of them all"! We are humiliating ourselves left and right. It's disgusting. It's destructive. As long as we march along shouting, "I'm number One...America is number One...Humanity is number One...my god is number One," we are on a dead-end road. "This species will self-destruct in..." This species is specious; it's a sport. End-Game.

The second way is to choose humility. "Remember, Oh man, that thou art dust. Dust, thou art, to dust thou shall return." Human and humus come from the same root. We arose from the Earth; let us return home to her as prodigal children. "Oh, Mother, we have gone astray. We have aggrandized ourselves and wasted your wealth. We are not 'worthy so much as to gather up the crumbs under Your table'. We are ashamed to come home in such disgrace. " She will welcome us with open arms, for she is a loving, forgiving parent. We shall heal her heart that we have broken.

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Between humility and humanity are but one vowel and one consonant. Will we allow Pride (the true face of greed) to stand between us and bridging that small divide? Humility does not have to equal humiliation. That is merely a false choice we have been making. Humility allows us to belong to one another, to our community, to our earth, to life and love. We belong...we are at home here; we are safe here; we are known here; we evolved in this context; we are needed here. Belonging gives us back the dignity we long for. Our service here on earth is crowned with gratitude. 

" Humility" is not a dirty word. Humus is not mere "dirt"; it is the rich soil of the soul. Humanity need not be a low-down, dirty creature to thrive in barbarous competition with the rest of the world. The "fittest" who survive will be those with the humility to "fit" in, to become "fit" for the grand task at hand: to save the world and as many of her beloved creatures as possible, including ourselves, from devastation. Mother has worked hard at that task for millions of years. Let us humbly participate in her worthy cause of sustaining life.

WE can mediate in every battle twixt Me and Thee. When ego stands aside, eco can come in...ecology, economy, e-cooperation. "We the people," in all our diversity, can rediscover our unity. "E pluribus unum." Therein, we resolve our humility and our dignity. Thereby, we evolve our humanity. Herewith, life thrives.

Can we truly move beyond a divisional mindset into one that is more relational? Is an Earth founded in Love truly a "pipe dream?" How you answer this means the world to you and to future generations.

If you want to understand how you function understand how Nature functions and vice versa. You and the universe are mirrors gazing into each other.

Could it be, then, that YOU the reader and I, the writer, are central to change? By changing the pattern inwardly, within ourselves, can we help to co-create a healthy and vibrant future? What appears to be a substantial structure supported by strong beams in the picture above is, in fact, a hall of mirrors both vertically and laterally. What appears to be a substantial and successful culture in our everyday reality is, in fact, just such a hall of mirrors. If what we do has universal implications; then could changing our minds, with their inherent philosophies of life and the resultant behaviors result in creating a new world?

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There are writers and contemplatives such as Kenneth Worthy who points us in the right direction in setting up these new patterns. Kenneth is a research associate at the University of California, Santa Cruz. He earned his Ph.D. in environmental humanities at University of California at Berkeley. He currently works as an independent scholar and lecturer teaching environmental history, philosophy, and ethics at UC Santa Cruz, St. Mary's College of California, and UC Berkeley.

Worthy's recently published Invisible Nature: Healing the Destructive Divide between People and the Environment is an excellent book and has been declared as "required reading" by environmental thought leaders. His work bridges the gulf between humans and nature while joining diverse fields of inquiry--psychology, anthropology, classics, ecopsychology, philosophy, environmental ethics, and environmental science.

Worthy truly gets the pattern.

One of the fascinating pieces to Worthy's work includes an innovative look at what Milgram's famous obedience experiments say about environmental crisis. Milgram was a research psychologist who found that people would follow authority to the point that they would hurt a fellow human being if ordered to do so.

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Burl Hall is a retired counselor who is living in a Senior Citizen Housing apartment. Burl has one book to his credit, titled "Sophia's Web: A Passionate Call to Heal our Wounded Nature." For more information, search the book on Amazon. (more...)
 

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