venerdì 17 luglio 2015


Ecology  only  used  to  be  a  chapter  in  the  biology
textbook. Many   educated people in the seventies had
no idea what it was. Today everyone is talking about
it, advertising frequently exploits its use and many are
often unaware of what they are saying. Nearly all  of
them refer to superficial ecology. The whole concept
of  ecology  is  linked  to  existential  rights  and  to
equilibrium.  Connected  to  the  equilibrium  of  the
physical-biological  world  it  provides  a  counter
balance to the continuous variability of the order/axes;
the  preponderant  human  presence  not  only  alters  the
equilibrium  of  ecosystems  it  also  destroys  a  great
number  of  the  existential  rights  of  the  ecosystem
itself.  The  idea  of  ecology  held  by  the  majority  of
people sadly reflects the idea of those who promote it.
It is superficial ecology, limited to reducing pollution,
keeping the atmosphere clean, checking and reducing
waste and the elimination of other difficulties. It is at
least a step forward, although it is a long way from the
more  profound  concept  that  undoubtedly   the
majority profess but fail to wholly understand or try to
This reference is to  profound ecology  defined by the
Norwegian,  Arne  Naess  and  others,  in  1972  which
considers  the  concept  of  progress  and  contemporary lifestyle as determined by the guidelines underpinning
industrial  societies,  and  constitute  a  series  of  highly
disputable  behaviour  patterns.  The  lords  of  progress,
of infinite growth, direct us with their own interests in
mind. Ecology is viewed almost as  absolute evil, since
it  contrasts  with  their  notions  of  growth,  which  is
exclusively economic. Profound ecology on the other
hand sustains  general and balanced progress, it  leads
to  the  balanced  rights  of  all  the  components  of  the
planet;  it  evidences  the  intrinsic  value  of  nature
beyond the geophysical condition and into mood and
state of mind. It goes beyond the insignificant analysis
of  environmental  problems,  expressing  a  diverse
vision  of  the  planet  and  necessary  harmony  for  a
correct  consideration  of  the  complexities.  The
prevalence of any one part in disproportion to the rest
only  leads  to  repercussions  for  the  whole  system.
Accepted and widespread practical behaviour patterns
must  be  criticised;  since  childhood  we  “westerners”
have been encouraged to desire objects, it has been a
race for the continuous increase in material goods. We
are convinced that competition is the impulse behind
progress  and  our  species  is  the  only  one  that  merits
ethical  consideration;  these  beliefs  generate
perplexities  and  may  lead  to  sinister  outcomes.  We
can only hope that everyone, particularly those who
change  opinion based  on self interest, will use their
intelligence more fruitfully. We must be conscious of the  continual  evolvement  of  awareness  and  evaluate
carefully  our  deductions;  if  we  consider  them
unacceptable  we  must  seek  to  modify  or  eliminate
them.  We  cannot  remain  passively  attached  to
arrogant  powers  through  laziness,  self  interest  or  for
ideological or religious motives. These archaic visions
are incompatible with the small amount of knowledge
we have managed to gain with fatigue over time.
Science, with its programmed investigation based  on
presupposed  theories  leading  to  what  are  often
confirmative results, represents the height of human
intelligence.  It  is  a  never-ending  path  where  on
reaching  one  destination,  other  paths,  often
unforeseeable, lead on. Technology is the child, often
ungifted,   of science and frequently behaves  like the
prodigal  son.  Science  develops  our  understanding  of
reality and works  towards making connections to help
us  understand  ourselves  and  our  surroundings.  The
development  of  technology  obviously  has  positive
effects but in many other ways it produces side-effects
that  are  incompatible  with  ecology  and  damaging  to
humans and planetary equilibrium. Like everything in
this world technology can be perfected. Technological
development  is  useful  when  commercial  gain  linked
to  immediate  profit  is  no  longer  passively  accepted
and  ampler  visions  are  taken  into  consideration.  So
called  progress  is  not  synonymous  with  human
advancement if it fails to regard a levelling of the life
possibilities  of  individuals  and  of  societies.  Progress
is  only  activated  in  economic  and  technological
spheres;  progress  with  useful  effects  on  living
conditions  is  rare  and  unbalanced.  In  other  words  to
achieve  “  progressive”  improvement  the  underlying
assumptions  of  the  term  progress  must  be  re
evaluated.  Real  improvement   encompasses  the
various  factors  that  influence  community  life.  It  is  a
balanced  mix  between  productive  economic  factors
with  respect  to  primary  goods   and  the  existential
rights of everything natural which behaves freely and
in  balanced  harmony.  If  only  one  part  improves
(inevitably  damaging  the  others),  it  is  better  not  to
speak of progress. It is easy to label the aforesaid as a
brand of utopia; leaving things unbalanced, as always.
It  will  be  difficult  to  improve  conditions  for  a  huge
number of people. The great minds of the world have
rarely  been  troubled  by  these  kinds  of  “useless”
questions. Besides ,widespread social improvement is
difficult  where  there  are  too  many  consumers  who
unbalance  the  environment  and  upset  ecological
Millions  of  human  beings-  a  mass  of  unknown
voiceless  entities  who  in  spite  of  their  personal
cognitive  experience  of  joy,  suffering,  attachments
and  tendencies  are  obliged   to  fight  for  their  basic
rights  and  demand  respect  for  personal  dignity  from
those  who  undertake  a  public  role.  It  is  extremely
important  to  be  conscious  of  one’s  irreducible
personal  dignity.  Always  conscious   that  no  leader,
however  grand, has  more dignity  than any  other and
cannot expect greater privileges or rights; no one has
greater  dignity  than  oneself!!!  Maintaining  a  critical
regard for the  voices of “authority” is vital; personal
dignity requires us not to be taken in by hypocritically
optimistic  discourse   and  to  be  wary  of  blind  trust.
More  often than not their activities are motivated by
self  interest  which  maintains  or  even  increases
disparity.  We  can  admire  and  appreciate  those  we
trust and believe to be worthy without diminishing our
personal  dignity.  In  our  minds  each  one  of  us  is  a
protagonist, equal in dignity to those who administer
the public good.
Let us reflect on those socio-environmental issues that
are often  unacceptably dealt with and fail to consider
the inevitable ecological repercussions. We shall start
with  the  numerous  arguments  regarding  climate
change  that  have  developed  since  Kyoto.  The
environmental  issues  raised  and  counter  measures
proposed  are  undoubtedly  useful,  even  if  bland  and
reductive.  In  the  long  term,  the  abnormal  human
presence  when  compared  to  land  availability  and
resources  will  cause  unmanageable  disparity  and
destroy  any  aspiration  towards  a  balanced  and
enlightened  role  for  humanity.  Nature  has  its  own
laws  of  equilibrium  that  cannot  be  challenged  to
excess.  They  have  always  existed  and   evolve  with
slow  variations;  living  beings  and  the  physical
environment  are  the  ever  present  participants.
Nations,  institutions  etc.  come  later,  they  are
subsequent  and  variable,  in  form  temporary,  each
obliged  to  a  coexistence  which  doesn’t  alter  the
previous experience of humanity.
The term  degrowth  used by Serge Latouche meaning
the  love  and  respect  of  our  planet  and  all  its
components is viewed negatively by many. They have
failed  to  grasp  that  the  idea  expresses  a  tendency
towards  an  equitable,  sustainable  and  participatory
society  where  there  is  an  open  dialogue  between
different cultures and diversity in general. Continuous
growth is impossible  on a planet with evident limits.
We  are  not  dealing  with  a  recession  but  of  a
cohabitation  based  on  quality  and  cooperation  rather
than on quantity and competition. Understanding that
humanity is a shared reality and comprehending that
we  are  only  a  part  of  the  Earth  obliges  us  to  not
disrupt the equilibrium, of the environment. The path
of degrowth is long and arduous, perhaps it is already
too late to undertake it.
The  excessive  number  of  human  beings  not  only
creates  environmental  confusion  but  it  severely
aggravates  the  ever  present  social  problem,  the
unacceptable divide between too much and too little.
Land is limited and resources insufficient to satisfy iequal  measure  the  needs  of  more  than  six  billion
inhabitants.  An  equable  use  of  resources,  even  for
socio-political  motives,  has  not  occurred;  in  the
present  situation  not  even  a  better  balanced
distribution  could  satisfy  those  basic  needs  that  any
society that calls itself civil must, by definition, meet.
It is evident that not only has an equable distribution
not occurred, but it is highly unlikely to occur, if the
present growth in population numbers continues. The
human-environment  issue  is  grave  and  should  have
been dealt with before now; all the great leaders and
thinkers  in  their  wisdom,  have  evidently  had  other,
loftier,  things  to  think  about.  This  gangrenous
condition cannot be remedied in the short term. What
can be done? How can we distance ourselves from, or
avoid  such  a  disastrous  outcome?  If  the  necessary
remedies  are  sought  and  applied  immediately,
perhaps, with good management, a well balanced path
can be traced. In the present geo-political, intellectual
situation we are not permitted to  retrace and  recover
missed opportunities.
Human evolution was underway even before  erectus;
after  a  lengthy  period,  around  15-20  thousand  years
ago,  we  see  the  beginnings  of  rationality  and  an
increase  in  the  intelligence  quotient  in  human
evolution.  Nowadays  intelligence  is  more  evident,
even though the slow evolutionary process still needs
more  time  for  ulterior  improvements.  We  can  see
immediately  that  the  intelligence  of  humanity  as  a
whole is an average level with little difference in peak
values  (excluding  pathological  cases).  The
classification  of  intelligence  quotients  is  itself
problematical.  Just like hands and legs are needed for
certain activities, intelligence is simply a magnificent
and  exceptional  instrument  which  coordinates  and
supervises. As with all instruments its validity varies
according to its use. Sadly many people are unaware
that  the  instrument  in  question  must  be  used
adequately,  carefully  and  be  in  constant  training;  we
have  all  heard  statements  from  the  enlightened  that
occasionally verge on stupidity.
It  is  necessary  to  remember  that  human  qualities  are
reduced  to  insignificant  values.  The  consideration  of
oneself  as  a  great  thinker  forces  the  rest  of  us  to
reflect  that  perhaps  the  thinker  has  understood  very
little  regarding  his/her  condition  of  insignificance;
convinced that they possess great intellectual powers,
they  are  unaware  that  they  do  not  know  how  to  use
suitably  the  limited,  always  precious,  instrument  at
their  disposition.  This  contributes  to  lowering  the
intelligence  of  those  who,  naively  or  distractedly,
consider  themselves  to  be  grand  intellectuals  and
trustworthy guardians while failing to see the misuse
to  which  they  put  their  powers.  As  mentioned
previously, there is a need for training in intellectual
activity  too;  only when we have  trained  our peculiar
cerebral  functions  to  harmonise  our  various
tendencies  towards  balanced  deduction  will  we  have
developed an intelligence which is free from dubious
external  conditioning  and  more  ready  to  accept  the
importance  of  different  realities.  It  is  not  the
intellectual capacity of individuals, sufficient in itself,
that limits the ability to make well balanced choices,
rather  it  is  the  influence  of  the  environment  and  the
family.  These  factors,  together  with  the  suggestions
made  by  the  powerful  in  the  interests  of  certain
groups,  deviate  the  pursuit  of  personal  interests  and
aspirations which otherwise would be more rationally
directed towards harmonious enlargement.
We  can  however  award  ourselves  one  prize  for
efficacious  intelligence  and  it  is  mostly  due  to  those
from  Roger  Bacon   onwards,  who  adopted  the
experimental  method  using  controlled  experience  to
develop  acceptable  conclusions.  The  good  use  of
experience means that sufficient force can be applied
to  reconsider  that  which  has  always  been  said  and
done in the same way.
The experimental method allowed us to examine and
know  realities  which  were  previously  impossible  to
study  (lack  of  suitable  instrumentation  also
contributed)  making  it  difficult  to  reflect  upon  the
interconnectedness  of  different  areas  of  knowledge.
For  this  reason  it  became  polluted  and  riddled  with
errors. We have to admit today that the old ideas were
badly  applied.  We  now  know  that  our  world  is  only
one  of  the  numerous  bodies  that  form  the  known
universe and the Earth (for many degraded) occupies
a place  of little  relevance  in the  galaxy  of which we
are part. We must be aware of how modest the Earth
is; we are not the centre of the universe and man is not
the king of “creation”(?). Human intelligence is at an
excellent  phase  in  evolution,  it  has  begun  to
comprehend  the  enormous  importance  of  the
environmental  situation  and  above  all,  it  is  giving
more  attention  to  the  equilibrium  of
interconnectedness;   time  is  needed  to  be  able  to
perceive  clear  improvements.  To  complete  our
knowledge  of  ourselves,  we  should  accept  the
likelihood  that  numerous  planets  are  inhabited  by
other  living  beings  in  various  stages  of  evolution.
Contact,  however,  is  improbable  given  the  vast
distances that separate us.

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