Many sunrises are described in the book “Thus Says the Earth” (edited by Kairos)Jordi Pigem, so that we know miracles that happen on our planet. Also to give rise to what the Earth has to tell us so that we can listen to it, but also to ask ourselves the question: when did we forget to do this? We’re talking to philosopher Geordie Pygham, who earned his PhD for his dissertation on Raymond Panikkar, whose concept of ecosophy he was trying to develop.
Dawn breaks in the Nile Delta. Hundreds of thousands of birds feel the change in the air and take off.”
“Dawn in the beech forest of Irati. The sun is rising, the shadows are moving. In beeches, the water that has spent the night inside the trunk returns to the leaves and photosynthesis begins again. Oaks, and spruces, and the remains of trees are awakening.”
Sunrise at Faxafloi, Faxa Bay, southwest Iceland. Whales, humpback dolphins and white-winged dolphins feel the new light revitalize the water.”
In your book, you make the Earth speak. Does this voice intend to question the reader? Did you want him to be touched by your words?
The reader will know this. I didn’t want to look for a specific effect. I knew that I wanted to write this type of book and collect all the philosophical and spiritual traditions in which prominent people lived or all those who think that the Earth is not only a storehouse of resources and a place to dump pollution, but also what it has its own essence that feels that what has been said has a soul, an element in which all local traditions and all the great thinkers of East and West agree. I wanted to get closer to that universal and ancient concept of the Earth that three authors tried to save in the 20th century under the name of ecosophy. I tried to listen, to voice in modern language what, as I intuitively feel, the Earth says. That’s not all he says, but that’s what came to me. This is what I convey and I see it resonates with a lot of people.
What is ecosophy?
Ecosophy is a term independently coined, curiously, by three famous philosophers of the second half of the 20th century: the French Félix Guattari and Gilles Deleuze, as well as Raymond Paniccar, a philosopher born in Barcelona to an Indian father and a Catalan mother, the reason for my Ph.D. dissertations. All three, but especially Panikkar, assume that ecology as a science of the Earth’s ecosystems is very good, but to understand biodiversity and life, we need something more, something more like wisdom. Hence the concept of ecosophy: not the science of the Earth, but wisdom, a step beyond what the scientific disciplines tell us.
What does the Earth reproach us for, what does she want us to know?
In the exercise I did, the test of extinction of species, pollution of the seas, land and air, the many imbalances that we inflict on the Earth’s ecosystems are obvious. I also talk about climate change, but I was able to write about everyday issues like pollution, microplastics getting into the oceans and then everywhere. The ecosophic exercise that this book is, describes an Earth on which humans have built a modern way of life that not only does not bring us satisfaction and complicates our lives, but also complicates other forms of life. It is clear that we must find a life more in tune with the rhythms of the Earth.
Have you visited all the beautiful places you describe?
No, it’s impossible, this is a trip around the world, describing 90 sunrises in different parts and more than a hundred landscapes, some of which I logically visited, while others I know from reading. But I keep myself informed, as far as I can, about all the conditions: about the species that live there, and about the time of year, about how this ecosystem works. There is a part of the book that relates to my particular experience and another that doesn’t. An anecdote about the philosopher Immanuel Kant comes to mind. He was a geography teacher but never left his city; he explained all the mountain ranges and rivers without leaving home. So basically it’s possible. Those that are closer, those that are European, I have been to them. I wanted to convey that the Earth is alive with its miracles.
You are interested in the general perception of the Earth. Isn’t that why you talk about a symphony of experiences?
Yes, in a previous book entitled “Life Intelligence” I explored the intelligence of different species of animals, plants, about which we have many serious scientific articles about their memory and learning ability, but in this book I am interested in plus this self-regulating wonder , which is the biosphere, and how it resonates with what is happening today and how it perceives us as human beings. We tend to see species from the outside and, on the other hand, we know that they all feel and perceive their environment, because that is how they discover their food, move away from danger and build their lives. If we look at how each animal species lives or, for example, feels rain, then each tree leads us to understand the ecosystem not only as a sum of organisms with physiological, biochemical, etc. functions, but also as a collection of creatures that feel your way. That’s why I like to define an ecosystem as a symphony of experiences. Everything is interconnected and there is a balance in it that is maintained over time.
What do forests tell us?
Mature forests with trees of all ages, primeval forests, have been drastically reduced. Now we have monocultures that don’t deserve to be called forestry. They should have different trees, bushes and all kinds of mammals and microorganisms. It is clear that in recent decades we have accelerated the loss of the world’s primeval forests and that this is one of the main causes of biodiversity loss. This is another one of the great tragedies that the Earth is experiencing. In this sense, it is curious that a lot of attention is paid to climate change, while the forestry theme, the loss of land fertility, and pollution of the oceans are not given due attention.
You say that not all people are the same, there are those who understand the Earth. Is this enough for the challenges that await us?
Not now if we continue on the path of capitalism. The great dynamics of production and consumption will obviously lead us to collapse sooner or later. Those who knew how to live with the environment in general were the indigenous peoples. We have evidence that when the first humans moved to another continent, such as Australia or North America, they caused the extinction of some animals by ignoring the ecosystem, but after they settled, they integrate into the rhythms of this territory and can live in a sustainable way. . We know that the Australian aborigines lived sustainably for 40,000 years, but after the arrival of Europeans in Australia, real environmental problems arose.
The Amazon jungle, where indigenous people have lived for the last 8,000 years, has more biodiversity than the jungle region where there were no people. Today we know that they not only do not worsen biodiversity, but also increase it. Your crops help plants and animals reproduce. You don’t have to become indigenous to live in harmony with the environment. There is nothing in man that makes him destroy the environment. In recent centuries, we have been very fascinated by machines, abstractions, consumption, we have chosen to isolate ourselves from the natural environment. We live within four walls, we don’t know whether it’s cold or hot, whether it’s raining or not, so we are constantly moving away from the cycles and rhythms of nature. With all the knowledge we have today, including the knowledge of scientists, we can learn to treat the Earth better.
When did we start to disconnect and stop cooperating with her?
There is a gradual process with the creation of cities, empires, hierarchies, patriarchy. This leads to people creating their own worlds. But the key point is the seventeenth century. Descartes and Galileo proclaim a worldview that, on the one hand, gave rise to the wonders of modern science, but, on the other hand, they declare that only what can be measured, quantified, can be real. Speed, length are real, but colors, smells, beauty, justice are subjective perceptions without true reality. This brings us into the world of statistics, data that is very useful, but which often hides qualities and stops us from feeling the heartbeat of life. Even within yourself.
Is this what you call cognitive dissonance in our culture?
Well, there are many types. There is a fact that man does not conform to what he knows. Yes, it would be knowing that we destroy ecosystems every day and do nothing about it. The point is also that our civilization has much more information about the Earth’s ecosystems than previous ones, and that its destructive impact is also greater.
If we used the knowledge we have rationally and kindly, we could have healthier relationships with the rest of humanity and ecosystems. But there are tendencies towards greed, selfishness, corruption, or whatever we call it, and that despite the fact that we know that we are destroying the basis of our existence, we continue on this path. suicidal path.
Philosophy and spirituality go hand in hand.
They always gave it to him… In ancient Greece, most philosophers already point to a global knowledge that fits well with what we would today call spirituality. The word “wisdom” was heard in the 20th century, but very little in the 21st. Something that goes beyond the scientific and rational goal. There are materialistic schools, they were already in Greece, but most philosophies intuitively grasp the deep meaning of existence and assert that reality is not reduced to matter. Our modern science proceeds from the fact that we can only analyze what is material: atoms, molecules, genes, chemicals, etc. While our ancestors, as well as great philosophers and all spiritual traditions, confirm that there is something more than what can be touched. or measure. The most important things both individually and collectively are intangible things.
You mention different religious views in the book.
I refer to them as different paths developed in different cultures, and each of them in its own way, with its own languages, can help us to have a fuller experience of reality. This does not mean that we should follow these paths. But I want to note that these ways exist. That is why at the beginning and at the end of the book I give a number of quotations from sages or philosophers of different traditions. That’s why there are Buddhists, Taoists, Christians who point to a deeper vision of our place in the world, the meaning of life, or this perception that the Earth is alive.
I collect quotes from Plotinus, a Greek philosopher deeply admired by many Christian philosophers, to Alexander von Humboldt. All of them have a deep perception of nature, indicating that this is not a religious feeling, but we can say that it is spiritual. What I’m doing in “Thus Says the Earth” is bringing up different points of view: Christian, Buddhist and Hindu, because they are different languages reflecting the same thing.
Is Raymond Panikkar remembered enough in Spain?
He is not given the recognition he deserves. He is better known in Italy and the US than here.
PROTECTION OF THE ENVIRONMENT, THAT MAKES EL ASOBRARIO SUSTAINABLE.
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