tobes wrote:Deep ecology is an interesting one. I'm not convinced that a Buddhist ontology naturally leads in that direction....usually there is a Spinozist kind of monism underpinning deep ecology, and/or a German romanticism which reifies "nature" to be God's playground.
Naess's thinking was influenced by Spinoza, Mahāyana Buddhism, eetc.
However, Buddhist ethics are not androcentric.
I think maybe in some of the East Asian Buddhisms, where there are Taoist influences coupled with Buddha Nature extended into the phenomenal world, a deep ecology could be defended. And I suppose within the context of Tibetan Buddhism, the kinship between humans, spirits and environment involves a very delicate interdependence. So I suppose that is where the idea is coming from.
Classical ecological appeals in Buddhist literature (and always to kings) tend be social in their wording, but the assumptions they spring from are deep.
But I'm not sure about the Indian traditions per se. The natural world is considered conditioned like everything else. Impermanent, something to be liberated from. There is no metaphysical reason to privilege the natural or biological world ahead of the world of production and social relation. There are all imbued with the same ontology.
I don't agree. What one is liberated from
are the afflictions, one is liberated in
the world. The common metaphor of environmental harmony in classical Indian sources is the rishi surrounded by predators and prey in a jungle retreat where all are abiding peacefully.
And actually, I quite like EF Schumacher's argument: a Buddhist inspired economics would begin by an ethical consideration of what is really valuable for humans. Production is important because, not only do we need to eat, but if it is structured ethically, it offers the possibility of kusala activity.
I think maybe deep ecology devalues production too much. As far as I can see, the problem is not production per se, but how it is currently configured and what motivates it.
I think you are conflating anarcho-primitivism with deep ecology. Deep ecology is not a form neo-ludditism.
For example, Naess writes:"The early morning sun also lightens up a faraway (thirty miles long) string of metallic electric masts and thick wires -- hydroelectric power destined for Oslo, two hundred miles away. Each mast is an elegant structure revealing much love and ingenuity on the part of the engineers, but such a string of masts transforms the landscape. If only a few mountainous landscapes were changed in this way -- why complain and feel sorrow? But the number of landscapes without these strange beings diminishes rapidly. There are now more than two million gigantic masts around. The masts would have have a less disturbing character if the power was used to increase the quality of life. But to a large extent, the power is wasted, which contributes to making people unaware of their fantastic material richness..."
(An Example of Place: Tvergastien, The Ecology of Wisdom, Naess, Counterpoint, 2008)
However, he also notes:"The environmental crisis could inspire a new rennaissence; new social forms for co-existence together with a high level of culturally integrated technology, economic progress (with less inteference), and a less restricted experience of life."
(Ecology, Community and Lifestyle: Outline of an Ecosophy, Naess, Cambridge University Press, 1993)
But here is a quintessential and often ignored principle of Naess's thinking. Many people unfairly claim that deep ecology insists that human beings must sacrifice themselves on the cross of environmental martyrdom, and sadly, many people professing the deep ecology view do make these kinds of claims -- but both parties have either not read Naess clearly, or they are choosing to ignore him. He writes:"The special obligation we have for our own species requires us in the long run to ensure that a population has what is necessary to provide the conditions for reaching the ultimate goals of humankind and satisfying vital needs. Beyond that, our obligation is to life in general and to the earth as a whole aquire priority."
This is an echo of Santideva' instruction to preserve one's own health in order to benefit others.
And:"High level humanitarian norms justify ecologically negative policies. The policies however should be short-range. And often, these short-range, ecologically harmful policies can be avoided through the cooperation of rich and poor nations on a greater scale than ever before."
(Sustainability! The Integral Approach, The Ecology of Wisdom, Naess, Counterpoint, 2008)