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Solidarian Responsability for the Future of the human Species

25/05/2013

By a unanimous vote on April 22, 2009, the UN welcomed the idea, often suggested by the Indigenous Nations and always rejected, that the Earth is Mother. Consequently, the same respect, the same veneration and caring is owed to her as we devote to our mothers. Ever since, April 22nd has been not only Earth Day, but Mother Earth’s Day. This recognition carries important consequences. The most immediate is that the living Earth is entitled to rights. And not only the Earth, but all the organic and inorganic beings of which she is composed, are, each in its own way, also entitled to rights. Thus, every being has intrinsic value, as the Earthcharter underscores, independent of the use that we do or do not make of it. All beings have the right to exist and to continue existing on this planet, and not to be ill treated or eliminated.

This acceptance of the concept of Mother Earth fulfills what in the 1920s Russian geochemist Vladimir Vernadsky, (1983-1945), creator of the concept of the biosphere, (a name coined by Austrian geologist Eduard Suess, (1831-1914)), called global ecology, meaning the ecology of the terrestrial globe as a whole. We are familiar with environmental ecology, socio-political and mental ecology. What was lacking was an ecology of the Earth, considered as a complex unit. Russian geochemist, James Lovelock, with new empirical data, recently presented the Gaia hypothesis, which is now an accepted scientific theory: the Earth effectively appears as a living super organism that self regulates, a thesis that is sustained by the systems theory of cybernetics, and by Chilean biologists Maturana and Varela.

Vernadsky understood the biosphere as the very thin layer that surrounds the earth, a kind of subtle, invisible cloth that captures the radiation from the cosmos and from the Earth herself and transforms it into highly active earthly energy. Here life occurs. In it is found a multiplicity of symbiotic beings, always interdependent, in such a way that they all help each other exist, persist and co-evolve. The human species is part of this terrestrial whole, the part that thinks, loves, intervenes and builds civilizations.

The human species is unique among the beings: it has the ethical responsibility to care for and maintain the conditions that guarantee the sustainability of the whole.

As described in the previous article, we run a very grave risk of destroying the human species and the entire planetary future. We created, as some scientists affirm, the anthropocene, a new geologic era with very high destructive power, the result of centuries passed in a perverse imbalance of the equilibrium of the Earth system. How can we confront this new situation that has never before occurred on a global scale?

Personally, we have developed the paradigms of sustainability and caring, as a relationship of friendship and cooperation with nature. We will now briefly present a necessary compliment: the ethics of responsibility of German philosopher Hans Jonas, (1903-1993), with his familiar principle of responsibility, followed by the Principle of Life.

Jonas starts from the sad truth that techno-science has made nature very vulnerable, to the point where the extinction of the human species is not impossible. From there arises human responsibility, formulated as an imperative: to behave in such a way that the effects of your actions do not destroy the possibility of future life.

Jonas also works with another category that must be well understood in order not to create a deadlock: terror and fear (Furcht).  Here, fear has an elemental significance, the fear that instinctively moves us to preserve our life and the life of all the species. The fearful possibility exists that in fact an irreversible process of mass destruction has been unleashed, with the instruments we so fearlessly built, and that now we rightfully fear may actually destroy us all. From this is born our responsibility before the new techno-sciences, such as biotechnology and nanotechnology, whose capacity to destroy is inconceivable.  We must really assume responsibility for the future of humanity, if only from fear, and, above all, for the love of our own lives.

Free translation from the Spanish by
Servicios Koinonia, http://www.servicioskoinonia.org.
Done at REFUGIO DEL RIO GRANDE, Texas, EE.UU.

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3 Comentários leave one →
  1. Paolo Zanotto, D.Phil. permalink
    25/05/2013 17:29

    There is no chance for survival for the “human species” if man insists in the distorted understanding of him as a “special god-like being” at the exclusion of all other life forms and environment. Life has a natural sine qua non condition for existing, that of being a super organism. All life forms deeply interact among each other and with the environment at all levels of organization, from the micro to macroscopic, up the planetary scale (ecological domain). You reading this lines probably does not even suspect that you are a walking ecosystem with more than 750 different species of microorganism living in your mouth alone! And that by upsetting your balance with your co-resident micro biota you go sick and even make a cancer. What are you to make of the fact that most cells in your body belong in fact this exquisite micro biota crucial to your survival, because it gives you what your parent’s genes cannot do for you?

    This view of humans as super organisms is now a fact like Galileo’s acceleration or Newton’s gravitation. It is derived from systems level scientific understanding (not the kind of capitalistic-driven positivism that Martin Heidegger mistook for science). Importantly, science shares this current understanding with all “pagan” world-views of archaic societies, but not with modern western tautological monotheology.

    To recover the sacred we need to recuperate a view of the universe where the Earth (female entity because reproduces and maintains life) is not a “fallen paradise”, in which a single ape sinner species has a “superior right” above all else at his disposal.

    We either accept all as god-like or show deep respect, or we are doomed. Idiotic Bronze Age patriarchal male ape-like god is not only wrong but also a lethal idea. Religious ignorance is the axiom of doom, but few have the courage and intellectual honesty to consider this. It is interesting to notice that all hunter-gatherer societies (that existed for almost 100 thousand years in balance with the Earth) were and are not male-centric monotheistic. Sadly, around the agricultural revolution things went wrong and some societies fermented in their cultures the gruesome monotheist construct and reorganized the world-view to a sad mistake.

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  2. 02/06/2013 3:48

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