The two books of life. The environment and the word.

It is an interesting problem if you think of the natural world as a book of knowledge to be read prior to the written word and then the world which is to be read through symbols in a book. Climate science could be a problem because in a way it attempts to bridge the natural world with the symbolic world. If you think about colonisation as an attempt to make symbols the prime focus away from nature and now nature is back needing us to read it. So it is hard for Western culture to accept it needs to do what it made others reject through force. There is a heavy irony in the fact that we need to reconsider our place in the real world through climate science. It sits uneasily with a society that believes the world started with the word.

 

It isn’t even that we truly believe that but it may be so ingrained that we find it hard to accept the primacy of the natural world. It does show though that even after the end of colonisation we are still in that mindset. I wonder if that is why terrorism is such a problem in that the west has armies camped around the world regardless of its end. Maybe then colonisation hasn’t ended but maybe changed just enough to make it seem acceptable. Why would people mind if the environment was our new focus. Isn’t that what first nations taught from their own knowledge of nature. You will of course have naysayers who say Indigenous people had a negative mark on the environment. Really though it is about scale and core ideas. That is the difference. The west sees no other option and can’t accept that it may need to validate the knowledge that has always been a part of human societies for tens of thousands of years.

 

The truth is it is different in that we still will rely on technology to meet our new climate targets. But in the end nobody wants to admit they were wrong from the very beginning. It is worse so to continue to be wrong when you need to change. The question is can we change?

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