Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”
- Genesis 1:26
I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth.
- Psalm 121:1-2
What I mean, brothers and sisters, is that the time is short. From now on those who have wives should live as if they do not; those who mourn, as if they did not; those who are happy, as if they were not; those who buy something, as if it were not theirs to keep; those who use the things of the world, as if not engrossed in them. For this world in its present form is passing away.
- 1 Corinthians 7:29-31
Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.
- 1 John 2:15-17
“The injunction to think like a mountain has become closely associated with the concept of ‘deep ecology’—a term coined in 1973 by the Norwegian philosopher and environmental campaigner, Arne Naess. He uses the term to stress his belief that we must ﬁrst recognize we are part of nature, and not separate from it, if we are to avoid environmental catastrophe. But the notion of thinking like a mountain goes back to 1949, when it was expressed by American ecologist Aldo Leopold in The Sand County Almanac. Working as a forester in New Mexico in the early part of the 20th century, Leopold shot a female wolf on the mountainside. ‘We reached the old wolf in time to watch a ﬁerce green ﬁre dying in her eyes,’ he wrote. ‘I realized then and have known ever since, that there was something new to me in those eyes—something known only to her and to the mountain.’ It was from this experience that Leopold came to the idea that we should think like a mountain, recognizing not just our needs or those of our fellow humans, but those of the entire natural world. He implies that often we miss the broader implications of our actions, only considering the immediate beneﬁts to ourselves. To ‘think like a mountain’ means identifying with the wider environment and being aware of its role in our lives.
“Naess takes up Leopold’s idea by proposing his ‘deep ecology.’ He states that we only protect our environment by undergoing the kind of transformation of which Leopold writes. Naess urges us to move toward seeing ourselves as part of the whole biosphere. Instead of viewing the world with a kind of detachment, we must ﬁnd our place in nature, by acknowledging the intrinsic value of all elements of the world we inhabit.
“Naess introduces the ‘ecological self’, a sense of self that is rooted in an awareness of our relationship to a ‘larger community of all living beings.’ He claims that broadening our identiﬁcation with the world to include wolves, frogs, spiders, and perhaps even mountains, leads to a more joyful and meaningful life.
“Naess’s ‘deep ecology’ has had a powerful effect on environmental philosophy and on the development of environmental activism. For those of us who live in cities, it may seem hard or even impossible to connect with an ‘ecological self.’ Nevertheless, it may be possible. As the Zen master Robert Aitken Roshi wrote in 1984, ‘When one thinks like a mountain, one thinks also like the black bear, so that honey dribbles down your fur as you catch the bus to work.’
- Sam Atkinson (senior editor), The Philosophy Book, Big Ideas Simply Explained
When I thought of being a mountain, I got into Tarzan mode. Me, Mountain, you, Jane. But what if the “mountain” is a female, so I threw in John as an alternative.
Almost half the article on Arne Naess (1912-2009) is about Aldo Leopold (1887-1948), but philosophy is not created in a vacuum, although it seems the opposite is true about many philosophies, instead of a vacuum, a big bag of hot air. Even that is not original as Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860) called all philosophers, who did not agree with him, “mere windbags.” Of course, that was pure jealousy as Georg Hegel’s classes down the hall were packed while Schopenhauer’s classes were attended by just a few.
But here with Naess’ philosophy we see the birth of the ecological mania of the past one hundred years.
Yet, even in Biblical terms, there is a double-edged sword here. The Scripture from Genesis states that mankind was to take dominion over the earth and all living things on the earth. Then the fall of mankind not only cursed man but cursed the world also. The balance has been off ever since.
Yet, with Jesus having completed His ministry, defeated Satan, and sitting at the right hand of God the Father, the last two Scriptures above talk about us not being too attached to this world that is going to die. I think these two passages are what gives me heartburn about the Climate Change religion, and it is a religion, a belief system and tons of worship. There are two basic elements to Climate Change: 1) Let’s continue to ignore God and 2) We can fix this by ourselves.
No, no, a thousand times no. God has already consigned this world to destruction. We cannot change that even if we repent. And fixing it ourselves, from the track record of humans, we will make matters worse, accelerating the problem. I still do not think that the “science” behind Climate Change is sound – mostly wishy-washy empirical data and false hopes fed by governmental dollars (which usually means a bunch of lies).
And the “Zen master” can have all the honey dripping down his “fur” that he wants, it is not making him a black bear and he does nothing for the environment in doing that. Most celebrity and governmental grandstanding in improving the environment is creating hot air, and is that not what we are trying to prevent? A lot of hypocrisy there, usually flying to the speaking engagement in a private jet.
I hunted as a youth, but I rarely shot anything. I think one bird and one rabbit. I am kind of like Aldo Leonard, but I never looked the wolf in the eye. After a while, it simply disgusted me. On the other hand, if someone were to offer me venison, I would not turn them down.
But to disagree with these ecologists, we were meant to have dominion over the other creatures. But we were to be intelligent in our dealings with them. And now in a fallen world, the die is cast. Thinking that we, as humans, can fix it is beyond hubris, but I guess the political and social grandstanding gets names mentioned by the media – just more hot air.
If you like these Tuesday morning essays about philosophy and other “heavy topics,” but you think you missed a few, you can use this LINK. I have set up a page off the home page for links to these Tuesday morning posts. I will continue to modify the page as I add more.
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.