The stars are in our belly; the Milky Way our umbilicus.
Is it a consolation that the stuff of which we’re made
is star-stuff too?
– That wherever you go you can never fully disappear –
dispersal only: carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen.
Tree, rain, coal, glow-worm, horse, gnat, rock.
Friday, 23 January 2015
we are one another
As Burnside says, it's impossible to write a book about birds without addressing the tragedy of species loss, habitat loss, deforestation and all the mindless ways in which we humans demonstrate how little we care for Other, especially the non-human other.
And of course it's always relevant, and poignant, to apply to our human-to-human relationships as well.
How would it be to live as if we really were what we really are: utterly interconnected each with each other? I bang that drum a lot, I know. Repeating the question keeps me enquiring into what it means to live a more sustainable life; which has to be better, I guess, than 'the unexamined life', even if it feels too little too late much of the time.
I came across this article in the muck-heap of papers on my desk of which I wrote yesterday. So here's the excerpt.
'"We are all responsible for everything and everyone in the face of everybody," says Dostoevsky... Taking that declaration as a starting point, Emmanuel Levinas created a philosophy in which each of us is confronted with what he calls "the face" of the other, which both implores and challenges us not to do it harm, but to respond to it from a position that goes beyond mere respect or even compassion – a position that, because it understands the necessity of the other to our own continued being, approaches the deeply unfashionable condition of reverence. That we can see reverence for birds as old-fashioned or sentimental is merely another indicator of our own outmoded thinking with regard to human success, a solipsistic way of thinking that takes such absurd indicators as GDP or the Dow Jones as measures of prosperity.
'As Cocker points out, "To assume that we alone are all that matter and to contemplate with any kind of equanimity the loss of these other species, or a part of them, is to risk losing our very souls and silencing our own imaginations."'
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