When money is the goal, everything that cannot be translated into its terms gets squeezed out. The same happens with war, of course, and with any campaign toward a grand unitary goal. If you have ever been a crusader to save the world, you may have noticed how the little things that make life rich get deprioritized and squeezed out….
Environmentalism is reduced to a numbers game. We as a society are comfortable with that, but I think the shift we must make is deeper. We need to come into a direct, caring, sensuous relationship with this forest, this mountain, this river, this tiny plot of land, and protect them for their own sake rather than for an ulterior end. That is not to deny the dangers of greenhouse gases, but ultimately our salvation must come from recovering a direct relationship to what’s alive in front of us.
- Charles Eisenstein, The Beautiful World Our Hearts Know Is Possible
[SSU alumnus, Matt Balcarras, recently completed a book on peacemaking with a special emphasis on revealing our complicity in hidden violence. In it he writes:]
There is violence hidden in all our stories. This is one of the uncomfortable truths that is necessary to acknowledge in the pursuit of peace. We live our lives in a context that has often been shaped by hidden violence….
The unseen violence in our story is this: we directly benefit from the actions others have taken in exploiting the lands and resources of First Nations people.
The unseen violence in our story is this: we directly benefit from the actions others have taken using military force against other nations and people, including civilians.
The unseen violence in our story is this: we directly benefit from the modern slavery created by the exploitation of people in the developing world who produce our cheap consumer products.
The unseen violence in our story is this: we directly benefit from the wanton destruction of the world created by God to be our home.
- Matt Balcarras, from Peacemaking: A Community Workbook available here.
[In what is considered to be the first encyclical on creation care, Pope Francis speaks out strongly on behalf of “care for our common home”]:
We must be grateful for the praiseworthy efforts being made by scientists and engineers dedicated to finding solutions to man-made problems. But a sober look at our world shows that the degree of human intervention, often in the service of business interests and consumerism, is actually making our earth less rich and beautiful, ever more limited and grey, even as technological advances and consumer goods continue to abound limitlessly. We seem to think that we can substitute an irreplaceable and irretrievable beauty with something which we have created ourselves…..
The culture of relativism is the same disorder which drives one person to take advantage of another, to treat others as mere objects, imposing forced labour on them or enslaving them to pay their debts. The same kind of thinking leads to the sexual exploitation of children and abandonment of the elderly who no longer serve our interests. It is also the mindset of those who say: Let us allow the invisible forces of the market to regulate the economy, and consider their impact on society and nature as collateral damage.
– Pope Francis, Laudate Si
(Or you can check out a response from Wired here.)