Sunday, March 25, 2012

The Lie of Anthropocentrism

Just about every night last week saw a fresh news report on weird weather happening throughout the nation. Common sense, and the TV meteorologists, tell us that this is a result of climate change. These stories reminded me of an opinion article published by the Los Angeles Times two years ago warning of the dangers of our anthropocentric approach to the environment. Expressed by both the oil company who wants to exploit and the hippie who wants to protect, this worldview places human beings above nature and legitimizes our efforts to control the environment. "Mother Nature" seems to be reminding us that someone else is in charge of things.

"The greatest lie, the greatest scam of our lives is that this world was created for us, for our pleasure and enjoyment, for our dominance. What stupid, arrogant animals we are. We were created for it. We are simply the audience. What would true art be without an audience? Only in this work, the artist painted us inside the canvas. We are art and audience all at the same time. We are part of the grandest work ever created, ever dreamed."

We may be special, but so is all of God's creation. We are not the center of the universe, nor are we its caretakers. Our family is bigger than one species, and it is time for us to adopt an attitude of humility towards nature. We can do this on our own initiative, or nature will do it for us. Such a forceful humbling would not be a punishment from God, but rather the logical consequence of our oversized ego.