This review is long, and my apologies, but this book is potent and spells-out what is one of the most important subjects of the 21st century- our drifting from physical reality and responsibilities and the need to wake-up and realize this dilemma and how we can accomplish...
This review is long, and my apologies, but this book is potent and spells-out what is one of the most important subjects of the 21st century- our drifting from physical reality and responsibilities and the need to wake-up and realize this dilemma and how we can accomplish that possible , but daunting task. Thomas Berry does this with eloquence and wisdom here and this is truly, a "Great Work"! Thank you, Mr. Berry!
In his earlier book, "The Dream of the Earth", Thomas Berry so eloquently stated the need for humanity to realize what a beautiful foundational life-support gift we have in planet Earth and the need to treat it with the profound sense of respect and good stewardship it deserves and needs in to order to provide a healthy life-sustaining platform.
An understanding of the dynamics of Earth''s resource cycles and regulatory systems can teach us how to live sustainably and regeneratively- most importantly, carrying that understanding into the formation and dissemination of religion, politics and economy.
We see God''s handy-work, i.e., the blue prints and operating system for Earth through the dynamics of Nature''s regenerative, life providing bounty and we then see what is required to maintain this perfect system. Indeed, we are entering the "Eco-zoic" faze of our existence- the realization and implementation of an ecologically sustainable reality.
So how could Berry top that beautiful piece of work? Almost ten years after "The Dream", he comes out with "The Great Work", a powerful and compelling continuation of the earlier theme of a beautiful Earth with attentive humans at the helm and with proper stewardship, only now with an exacting historical dialogue of how the Earth formed, settled and eventually became a biological life-support system and where we, as humans have lost our original awe and respect of God''s creation through the many distractions of living in a human only, "civilized" and complex material world, forgetting our interconnectedness to all life.
This separation has culminated in an insane, parasitic and cancerous existence not only for us humans, but for all life on this planet. Isn''t it curious that cancer of our bodies is one of our biggest worries and nemesis? Mass over-population, pollution, unsustainable resource use and habitat destruction have left us in a burn-out, dire mess. Our sense of economy is no "economy" at all, rather a predatory take all shark frenzy fully supported by governments through corporate purchase and manipulation and misguided `human only'' pseudo-religious zealotry.
An un-Godly, reckless "Manifest Destiny" attitude of anthropocentric endeavors has been prevailing since the industrialization of our societies exploded on the human scene, blinding us with delusions of superiority, yet to the detriment of our shared and threatened environment.
Exactly in the middle of this fine book, is a chapter called
"Ethics and Ecology". Here, Berry relates our combined human sense of making like nothing is wrong on spaceship Earth (a closed-loop eco-system) with a parallel to the tragedy of the sinking of the Titanic in 1912. A course was set and could not be deviated from, regardless of the warnings of known dangerous icebergs ahead. An attitude that the Titanic was a perfect, fool-proof and unsinkable human manifestation prevailed.
The Titanic parallel underscores our misguided human notions that we can control Nature and that we are on a safe course in our activities on Earth. We see our creation of the Titanic (the micro), but not the big picture (the macro), i.e., Nature along with it''s icebergs, etc., but especially, the need for our attention to it''s requirements for a safe, healthy existence.
As Berry states, our "extractive" (exploitive, parasitic) economies have become "terminal" economies (dead-end) and need to be reformulated to sustainable/regenerative economies for the continuation and enjoyment of life- only in a more sane and quality existence.
For those that don''t think it can be done, it would be educational to look at the turn-around of attitudes and subsequent successes of corporations that have been able to wake-up to what sustainable/regenerative/eco-friendly formats offer in terms of long lasting, profitable returns, let alone peace of mind. A good outline of that can be seen in the book, "Natural Capitalism" by Hawken and Lovins.
Further, religions need to continue with their return to the inclusion of all Creation and away from the current deviation of anthropomorphism. Understanding the dynamics and importance of interconnectedness with all of God''s Creation is a matter of survival now and should not be interpreted as "Nature Love" vs. "Biblical Dogma". It''s all one reality. Berry gently opens our eyes to this!
The consideration of an all-inclusive creation- man and nature in harmony instead of man vs. nature- both created by God to coexist, is also touched upon in the ''great work'' of Chet Raymo''s books "Skeptics and True Believers", sequealed by his "Climbing Brandon"- in a sermon by Saint Columbanus, there is in part: [Those who wish to know God, he says, "must first review the natural world."]. Indeed, a good place to start!
There is a good bibliography in "The Great Work" that provides a multitude of resources for further research and education on sustainable awareness and consciousness.