“Was not their mistake once more bred of the life of slavery that they had been living?—a life which was always looking upon everything, except mankind, animate and inanimate—‘nature,’ as people used to call it—as one thing, and mankind as another, it was natural to people thinking in this way, that they should try to make ‘nature’ their slave, since they thought ‘nature’ was something outside them” — William Morris

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Bron Taylor: Dark Green Religion Liveblog 1

Jeff Kripal introduces. 
“dark” = deep or profound and something ethically ambiguous and even ethically problematic
upgraded mysterium, sacred; alluring and terrifying; awesome and potentially deadly

1859 Darwin knew the disruptions to conventional faith that his work would have
he had left behind his belief in god
not wanting to leave readers with a loss of meaning
“It is interesting to contemplate an entangled bank...” section at the end of the book
if you had been around at the axial age would you have recognized what would become the dominant religion
I think this is emerging today again--I call it Dark Green Religion
1985: Val Plumwood canoeing; crocodile rammed her canoe
she understood she was prey; broke past her sense of superiority 
the crocodile taught the philosopher a lesson
William C. Rogers, ELF, asphixiated himself << setting resort building in Vail on fire in 1998
learned he had been betrayed; charged for terrorism, facing life in prison
“I chose to fight on the side of the bears...I am just the most recent casualty in that war...but tonight I’m going to jailbreak: I’m returning home to the Earth”
Sanyo: “Think Gaia” campaign 
urge to symbiotic evolution and living with Gaia etc
Lanting, Eye to Eye (on animal eyes)
Mexico City, National Museum of Anthropology: first three panels on Earth, evolution, then assertion that we are part of the history of the world”
Australopithecus statue; earlier religions reinforced destructive misperception of humans as different
IONESCO Cape Horn Biosphere Reserve plan 2009
viewing stations set up in a ritual manner
Mashatu Game Reserve: Deep ecology viewing station
spiritual aura of surfing; Point Break movie (James Cameron, co-written)
surfing as a nature religion; Surfing Magazine “Nature = God” (Bron Taylor wrote an essay on it)
Avatar; struggle of Aboriginal peoples
on Pandora there are beautiful sacred forests, old growth trees, animistic spirits (bioluminescent sprites)
Cameron: cinema as technology of the sacred
Home Tree as the Axis Mundi (Ewa deity); Sigourney Weaver absorbed into it
science as wonder and love of the empirical world
experiencing nature oneself, first hand
indigenous people responded enthusiastically contra left, right and postmodern critics
and conflicts with western scientific understandings
can we deduce dark green religion from these examples?

religion: a difficult word
earliest roots: bound, tied, or connected to whatever one considers ultimate
logic square: spiritual animism / naturalistic animism // Gaian spirituality / Gaian Naturalism
Darwin: “we may all be netted together”
Spinoza, process philosophy
Aldo Leopold, “Thinking Like a Mountain”
epiphany in 1913 shooting a female wolf
sees “the fierce green fire die in her eyes”
Leopold and Plumwood both naturalistic animists

Disney’s Animal Kingdom’s Tree of Life
clearly this is the official religion of our day!
Oceans, Disney Nature documentary

this is about kitsch and products!
“we are teaching the intrinsic value of nature”

Sierra Club poster: “This is not about getting back to nature. It is about understanding we’ve never left.”
“You either feel it or you don’t” (hmm)

UN World Summit on Sustainable Development piece
redemptive possibility; children call world leaders to act aggressively
Kenyan Greenbelt Movement; Nanga Tiango attorney, mixture of indigenous and Christian traditions
he felt free to mix these because anthropologists began to say “you shouldn’t just accept all this colonial thought”
civil earth religion >> affective basis for aversion or mitigation of global catastrophe now unfolding

John Boswell, Symphony of Science, “We’re All Connected”
Sagan on patterns: what is beautiful is not what we are made of but how it’s put together

“An Unbroken Thread” with Sagan, Attenborough and Goodall

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