Middle Way Politics

Alleviating worldly suffering along the way.

Re: Middle Way Politics

Postby tellyontellyon » Thu Feb 13, 2014 3:44 pm

Hi Malcolm,
So what deep ecologists do is sort of individual? Your commitment/practice to deep ecology involves you practicing an ancient medical practice. As it doesn't rely on technology, it should survive any impending global environmental/industrial/social/financial collapse?

So it's sort of waiting for everything to break down, but you'll survive (or people like you will survive) because you do something that doesn't need technology and you can grow your own veg.... Oh, and meditate and stuff etc.
“Don't you know that a midnight hour comes when everyone has to take off his mask? Do you think life always lets itself be trifled with? Do you think you can sneak off a little before midnight to escape this?”
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Re: Middle Way Politics

Postby Sherab Dorje » Thu Feb 13, 2014 6:35 pm

Malcolm wrote:There are certain criteria that render one's view as "deep ecological", and lacking those, one cannot describe oneself as a deep ecologist no matter how ecocentric one's views may be. That is, the basis of one's philosophy must lead inevitably to the platform of deep ecology. It can be generated by different value systems such Buddhist, Christian or Philosophical values. The "deep" in deep ecology is a gloss for "nondual".
I think you are reading way too much into deep ecology in order to then justify to yourself that it is Buddhist and thus not worldly dharma. The deep, in deep ecology, means ecocentric instead of anthropocentric. I am not going to deny that ecocentrism is undoubtedly less dualistic than anthropocentricism. But on the basis of this rhetoric capitalism, being ego and anthropo -centric, cannot fall within the milieu of non-dualism (or more correctly, ecocentrism) and thus cannot be justified as somehow fitting into a deep ecology model. When was the last time you ran into an ecologically minded CEO of Enron (for example), the World Bank, or the IMF?

Do not confound the two (non-dual and ecocentric).

Foremans approach does not deny humans a role in an ecosystem, it just does not make them the centre of the system. Thus it is an ecocentric platform: an approach that puts the benefit of the whole (ecosystem) above that of one of the parts (humans).
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One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
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Re: Middle Way Politics

Postby Malcolm » Thu Feb 13, 2014 7:56 pm

Sherab Dorje wrote:I think you are reading way too much into deep ecology in order to then justify to yourself that it is Buddhist and thus not worldly dharma.


I don't think that deep ecology is Buddhadharma. However I think it is ethically consistent with Buddhadharma for a number of reasons.

The deep, in deep ecology, means ecocentric instead of anthropocentric.

I am not going to deny that ecocentrism is undoubtedly less dualistic than anthropocentricism. But on the basis of this rhetoric capitalism, being ego and anthropo -centric, cannot fall within the milieu of non-dualism (or more correctly, ecocentrism) and thus cannot be justified as somehow fitting into a deep ecology model. When was the last time you ran into an ecologically minded CEO of Enron (for example), the World Bank, or the IMF?

Do not confound the two (non-dual and ecocentric).



You are quite simple mistaken. Frederick Bender clarifies this point in his The Culture of Extinction:

In Buddhism, the technical term for the ontological quality of particulars, incorporating both their phenomenality and their interdependence, is "suchness" (Skt. tathatha). To frame objects in their suchness is, in Mahayana Buddhist terminology, to express the nondualist "two-truth" doctrine. Particulars, if framed dualistically through the prevalent subject/object (egocentric) and subject/predicate (linguistic) dualities, are real only conventionally. Something similar to the Buddhist two-truth doctrine defines ecological thinking. Living beings are phenomenal manifestations of Earth's ecosphere. They are also particulars-in-relation, though not "bare," self-standing particulars. Deep ecology's so-called depth, considered ontologically, functions as a metaphor for nondualism.

Frederic L. Bender. The Culture of Extinction: Toward a Philosophy of Deep Ecology (Kindle Locations 4373-4376). Kindle Edition.

Arne Naess also states:

The belief and acceptance that all whole beings can attain Buddhahood depend upon the rejection of subject-object dualism. That is, one must abandon the sentiment that there is always and always must be an ego involved in experience. An appeal to spontaneity, perhaps especially spontaneous experience in nature, is preferable to a detached view of subject-object relations.

The nondualism in Buddhism is sometimes expressed verbally by saying that all beings are one, or that each being is one with all other beings. Such a formula must not be taken in the counterintuitive sense that, for example, I cannot be cold and hungry and somebody else warm and satisfied. The formula does not imply rejection of personal pronouns or any psychology of the ego and self.

It is an interesting problem to formulate clearly the views that have rejection of subject-object dualism as a common characteristic. Whatever way we formulate the nondualism, adherents of deep ecology tend to feel sympathy with views such as the following, expressed by Yasuaki Nara:

"[I]n Dōgen, through the negation of the egocentric self, whole being, including man, animal, mountains, rivers, grasses, trees etc., is one with him, making both nature and himself encompassed within the world of the Buddha."


Naess, Arne (2009-05-01). The Ecology of Wisdom: Writings by Arne Naess (pp. 198-199). Counterpoint. Kindle Edition.

Foremans approach does not deny humans a role in an ecosystem, it just does not make them the centre of the system. Thus it is an ecocentric platform: an approach that puts the benefit of the whole (ecosystem) above that of one of the parts (humans).


Naess' position is a little different. First he questions the usefulness of the term "biocentric", "ecocentric" and so on:

Supporters of the deep ecology movement like to say that they support ecocentrism, not anthropocentrism, and Spinoza certainly offers high-level premises for what has sometimes been labeled biocentric or ecocentric egalitarianism. I think these Latin or Greek terms are useless in serious discussions, but they may be helpful in offering some vague idea of a kind of basic attitude. Spinoza tried something immensely difficult, namely, to articulate with some preciseness certain basic attitudes.

He continues a bit later by saying:

It is characteristic of the deep ecology movement that great efforts at conservation are argued not only as something good and profitable for human beings, but also as something valuable for what is intended to be conserved. It is worthy of conservation, independently of any narrow human interests. This is often called the nonanthropocentric or biocentric or ecocentric view. Nevertheless, in the current social and political milieu, success in conservation efforts depends heavily on arguments that do stress narrowly human interests, especially the requirements of human health. The supporters of the deep ecology movement combine such arguments with those that are independent of narrow human interests.11 It is essential that “experts” and others who influence policies agree about this combination and that the public be made aware that basically there is agreement. Otherwise, the public is deceived.

Naess, Arne (2009-05-01). The Ecology of Wisdom: Writings by Arne Naess (p. 303). Counterpoint. Kindle Edition.

This why why "hard" ecocentrism cannot be construed even remotely as deep ecology. Anyway, Bookchin claimed that Earth First! had converted to social ecology as it turned leftwing.
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Re: Middle Way Politics

Postby tellyontellyon » Thu Feb 13, 2014 8:21 pm

...great efforts at conservation are argued not only as something good and profitable for human beings, but also as something valuable for what is intended to be conserved...


Without wanting to repeat myself, can you give us some kind of idea of what these 'great efforts' actually comprise of - other than the great effort you put into your particular form of healing?

I'm really not being facetious, I just don't feel I've had a satisfactory answer to my question yet. Can you give me some practical examples of the conservation activities that Deep Ecologists are actively involved in at the moment?
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Re: Middle Way Politics

Postby Malcolm » Thu Feb 13, 2014 8:32 pm

tellyontellyon wrote:
...great efforts at conservation are argued not only as something good and profitable for human beings, but also as something valuable for what is intended to be conserved...


Without wanting to repeat myself, can you give us some kind of idea of what these 'great efforts' actually comprise of - other than the great effort you put into your particular form of healing?

I'm really not being facetious, I just don't feel I've had a satisfactory answer to my question yet. Can you give me some practical examples of the conservation activities that Deep Ecologists are actively involved in at the moment?



Deep ecologists can be found in all aspects of the conservation movement. But I frankly doubt that most of the people who call themsevles "deep ecologists" really understand what deep ecology really means.

Basically, Arne Naess identified three great movements of the 20th century: the peace movement, the social justice movement and the deep ecology movement. All three of these can be included under the rubric of "green" politics. But he clarified, you can't do all three. You have to pick one.

For example, while green politics have been largely coopted by the new left in the form of Social Ecology, there are "greens" like myself who are deep ecologists. There is no badge that distinguishes a deep ecologist from any other type of environmentalist. There is no organization to join. However, Vandana Shiva is a deep ecologist, Joanna Macy, Julia Butterfly HIll, Gary Snyder, John Seed, Pierre-Félix Guattari, Fritzjof Capra, Wendell Barry (recently arrested demonstrating against coal mining in Appalachia) are all people who have some connection with the movement. But as it is not a left wing or right wing trip, it is not organized into cadres with political action committees and so on. Deep ecology is an organic movement. It is slow growing, but then, so are trees. It tends to propagate rhizomatically, like fungus.
Last edited by Malcolm on Thu Feb 13, 2014 9:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

Though there are infinite liberating gateways of Dharma,
there are none not included in the dimension of the knowledge of the Great Perfection.

-- Buddha Samantabhadri
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Re: Middle Way Politics

Postby tellyontellyon » Thu Feb 13, 2014 9:20 pm

Cheers. M. Will look up those people and see what they are up to.
“Don't you know that a midnight hour comes when everyone has to take off his mask? Do you think life always lets itself be trifled with? Do you think you can sneak off a little before midnight to escape this?”
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Re: Middle Way Politics

Postby Malcolm » Thu Feb 13, 2014 9:33 pm

tellyontellyon wrote:Cheers. M. Will look up those people and see what they are up to.


Vandana Shiva
http://www.navdanya.org

Wendell Barry
http://www.wendellberrybooks.com/author.html

Bill Mckibben
http://www.billmckibben.com

These are probably three of the most well known active advocates of some form or another of deep ecology.

Three decades of writings on deep ecology:
http://trumpeter.athabascau.ca/index.ph ... rch/search

I imagine in the end you will be more comfortable with social ecology, since it comes out of the left and is based on class analysis and so on:

http://www.thegreenfuse.org/socialecology.htm

Murray Bookchin hated deep ecology, he writes:

What Is Deep Ecology?

Deep ecology is so much of a black hole of half-digested, ill-formed, and half-baked ideas that one can easily express utterly vicious notions like Foreman's and still sound like a fiery radical who challenges everything that is anti-ecological in the present realm of ideas. The very words deep ecology, in fact, clue is into the fact that we are not dealing with a body of clear ideas but with a bottomless pit in which vague notions and moods of all kinds can be such into the depths of an ideological toxic dump.


He spews more of the same here:
http://dwardmac.pitzer.edu/Anarchist_Ar ... epeco.html
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འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

Though there are infinite liberating gateways of Dharma,
there are none not included in the dimension of the knowledge of the Great Perfection.

-- Buddha Samantabhadri
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Re: Middle Way Politics

Postby AlexanderS » Mon Feb 17, 2014 6:36 pm

I personally think it's very telling that many great awakened beings including Buddha Skakyamuni, Padmasambhava, Naropa and so forth left positions of great political power(monarch positions) in search for the "solution". For me it put out a clear message. That politics is a losers game
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