DEEP ECOLOGY

“The ecosophical outlook is developed through an identification so deep that one’s own self is no longer adequately delimited by the personal ego or the organism. One experiences oneself to be a genuine part of all life .. We are not outside the rest of nature and therefore cannot do with it as we please without changing ourselves.” ~ Arne Naess

Deep ecology essentially is a perception initiated by a Norwegian philosopher, Arne Naess, in 1972. He wasn’t the first to dream up the idea of a radical change in humanity’s relationship to nature, but he coined the term “deep ecology” and helped to give it a theoretical foundation. Deep ecology portrays itself as “deep” because it asks deeper questions about the place of human life. Its holistic concept is very consistent with the perception of the intuitive mind.

Deep ecology is founded on two basic principles: one is a scientific insight into the interrelatedness of all systems of life on Earth, together with the idea that anthropocentrism – human-centeredness – is a misguided way of seeing things. Deep ecologists say that an ecocentric attitude is more consistent with the truth about the nature of life on Earth. Instead of regarding humans as something completely unique or chosen by God, they see us as integral threads in the fabric of life. They believe we need to develop a less dominating and aggressive posture towards the Earth if we and the planet are to survive.

The second component of deep ecology is what Arnie Naess calls the need for human self-realization. Instead of identifying with our egos or our immediate families, we would learn to identify with nature including trees and animals and plants, indeed the whole ecosphere. This would involve a pretty radical change of consciousness, but it would make our behavior more consistent with what science tells us is necessary for the well-being of life on Earth. We just wouldn’t do certain things that damage the planet, just as you wouldn’t cut off your own finger.

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