How easy is it today to walk on a beach at sunset, and be with the sea, with the breeze, with the sand and the sound of the waves, completely free of commerce, urbanization, tourism and garbage? 30 years ago, how easy was it? 10 years from now, how easy will it be?
How easy is it today to walk up the mountain with my children, to find a spring of crystal clear water, so transparent that the stones underneath it look wonderfully clear, and to give my children that fresh water to drink? 30 years ago, how easy was it? 10 years from now, how easy will it be?
What chance of survival does a species like the Jaguar have when its habitat is destroyed and transformed to agro-industrial use at high speed? It is not only big businessmen who are pursuing economic advancement, but also the poorest people are legitimately seeking to make advances, for example by cutting down another hectare of forest to be used for cattle ranching. This economic pressure to progress (for some), or to survive (for others), how intense was it 30 years ago, and how intense will it be 10 years from now?
Clearly, the pressure to transform what little is left into commercial activities is growing exponentially. Do you think it will stop with better laws? With better politicians and entrepreneurs? With better technologies?
Serious, honest and well-intentioned intellectual reasoning can lead to decisions and actions that are destructive. Being rigorous, having ethical integrity and good intentions does not guarantee a healthy use of the human mind.
Even with the best of intentions and an honest concern for the well-being of all life, it is possible to reason and conclude that it is ever acceptable to destroy nature a little more in order to promote economic development.
Conventional thinking holds that economic progress is what will solve our economic problems. It is difficult to find in the mainstream world anyone who questions that economic growth is desirable, and that using nature for this purpose is reasonable. I've never heard a political candidate do it, for example.
Perhaps many of my readers here would like that with the force of reason we convince those who think this way of their error. The problem is that this is not possible: they are absolutely right!! It is not a lack of intelligence that makes them think this way, nor, deep down, is the problem a lack of honesty or ethics.
Possibly, many readers will be annoyed to read this, surely some will think it is unacceptable for me to say this. We are so used to the narrative of good versus evil. So harsh and intolerable is our current reality, the self-destructive course of our civilization, that our very legitimate response is outrage.
The narrative of "they", the greedy, the corrupt politicians, the elite who abuse us, all that, is trite. It is simply no longer useful, even if it were true. "SUPERFRIENDS, LET'S FIGHT FOR JUSTICE", said those cartoons that I watched as a child (actually most films have the same narrative, a clear reflection of our inner state). Not long ago I realized how absurd this is, and all the energy I was wasting "fighting for justice". And how little or nothing I was achieving. There, in that realization, another intelligence begins to appear, another justice, which is not what one expects.
I offer an invitation to change the narrative. The narrative of the Separation, where some of us are "good" and others are "bad", is precisely the narrative of today's culture, where since childhood one is rewarded for behaving "well" and punished for behaving "badly".
As much as the intention may be to change the system, if we do it from its very narrative, we are only strengthening the status quo, strengthening the current narrative.
If we organize a protest where our speech is against a big company and the government that supports it, then obviously those others are invited to participate in the event as adversaries. That is what they will do: they will be adversaries. The police will repress, and the company will strengthen its discourse in their favor, instead of reviewing it. While it is true that some beautiful battles have been won through the solidarity of the united people, the current state of affairs speaks for itself: there are many battles where no one really wins, everyone loses, and what is worse, the status quo is not only maintained but intensified (by the way, can there be a battle where someone loses and someone really wins?) What would happen if activism made a different invitation, born from the recognition that everyone is part of our being, that no one is really separated?
Using exclusively masculine intelligence, it is indeed quite possible to argue seriously and honestly that a little more destruction of nature is desirable in order to promote economic progress. I know economists who think like that, who are serious and good people, concerned about the environment, concerned about future generations, about poverty, about inequality. People like them are tired of being ignorantly accused of lack of intelligence or lack of ethics. "You cannot dismantle the master's house using the master's tools", you cannot dismantle the current economic system using the force of reason as a means.
The Hydroelectric Power Plant Project
I invite you to consider as an example the hypothetical case of a hydroelectric power plant project, which is to be built on a river located in a virgin native forest. In order to demonstrate the point of my argument, let's assume that all the actors in this example are honest and well intentioned, and that only logical masculine intelligence is used to argue and make decisions.
Environmental activists want to stop the project. To defend their position, they present rational arguments supported by scientific evidence. (In the post HUMAN REASON I argued that the intellect can be used seriously to defend any position one adopts). The key argument among the project's proponents is that "our cities are growing and people need electricity; we have to produce it one way or another. This project would produce a large amount of electricity for a large population, at the lowest cost of all alternatives, with a relatively limited environmental impact".
Environmental activists dispute that the environmental costs of the project are actually high. They argue that a unique ecosystem will be destroyed and that a number of species will be affected by habitat loss.
A government authority must make an impartial decision, comparing the advantages with the disadvantages, seeking the greatest possible benefit for society as a whole. Finally the project is approved under some observations in its design, specifically that a certain portion of the forest should be preserved.
In short, a "mid-point" solution, typical of linear logical intelligence, where an argument is balanced against the other on the same scale. What you lose on one side you make up for with the higher profit on the other side.
I am talking about a completely idealized process, with the very important aim of being able to make myself understood.
Are we supposed to be satisfied with this final result? I say no! And there was no logical intelligence missing here. There was no corruption, and the project's motif was not avarice. Do you see what I'm saying? We are not going to stop this system using the same tools of the system, we are not going to stop the destruction of nature no matter how much we win in the war against the bad guys.
This end result implies that a certain volume of destruction of nature is ever acceptable as long as the benefits to the population are sufficiently great.
But how many native forests do we still have available for further destruction? If the destruction of nature does not stop now, when will it stop? You realize that this is not a matter of numbers or logical arguments. It is a matter of a feeling in the heart.
Of course someone could insist that there are other sources of energy that we should develop. However, the point is to realize that this argument may be as reasonable as the argument supporting the implementation of the project. Indeed, all known ways of producing electricity are costly, both environmentally and financially. It is therefore always possible even with good intentions and taking this matter very seriously to conclude that one more measure of destruction is acceptable. Consequently, this discussion could never achieve a complete and long-term solution. This is the limitation of linear, separate thinking.
When will we stop the destruction?
Logical reasoning can forever accept destroying one more forest as long as the expected benefits to society are high enough.
I am not talking about a dishonest use of this argument; it is the honest use of this argument that interests me.
Even if the beneficiaries were a large population of people from low social strata, with great need, is it acceptable then to destroy nature? The answer that results from the exclusive use of logical intelligence can be yes, even if it is an ethical use. So why waste energy using masculine linear intelligence to stop the destruction?
It is not reason that makes us feel that the destruction must stop now.
At the heart of every human being's spirit is a deep capacity for compassion, which allows people to simply feel the reality and magnitude of the destruction. People who are disconnected from the center of their spirit cannot access this capacity. They can observe, analyze and evaluate the facts as best they can, but they will not know to what extent nature has already been destroyed.
The spirit of a human being can easily distinguish between that which leads to destruction from that which leads to life and creation. These two things cannot compensate each other. For example, the destruction of the Amazon rainforest cannot be "mitigated" by planting a forest elsewhere.
It is time to speak the simple truth of the heart. Being a scientist myself, I wonder why I would have to waste energy on reasoning to the point of exhaustion to say "I love life", to say "I do not accept any more destruction", and why I would have to scientifically prove something that is absolutely obvious in the heart? We can't keep destroying the planet, period.
Economia sagrada is the vision of a utopia, of a dream. We can't control her. To describe it in a model is like trying to put the divine into a box. The greatest growths in my personal life, the greatest freedoms that have been opened to me, have been born of trusting in life. I believe that the only model is to expand the Self, to transform the conception of the separate self into that of the self that has everyone and everything within him, and that everything he is capable of creating is a reflection of his inner self.