Undeniable Mystery

-by Peter Berg (Aug 10, 2012)

The most obvious conclusions sometimes disguise the most mysterious situations. Ask city dwellers where their water comes from, for instance. Most will answer with something like “The faucet, of course.  Want water? Turn the tap handle.  Got another timeless puzzler you need help with?”  So it seems, especially if your life has been spent mastering survival in apartment buildings.  But the faucet is only the last place water was, not where it came from.  Before that it was in the plumbing, and before that in the mains.  It got there from a reservoir, and from an aqueduct connected to a storage lake.  “So tell me the name of the lake and I’ll know where the water really comes from.”  Finding out the name and, even better, walking on the shore of that lake is definitely a start toward acquiring a sense of care and gratitude.  But even that lake is just another place where water was.  It got there as runoff from rain or snow that fell from clouds.  Where do clouds come from? Evaporated ocean water?  Two weather systems meeting?  Whatever forces are involved in making any particular cloud, the source of every particle of water in it remains a deep mystery.  If anything can be said about the ultimate state of water, it is probably that it doesn’t begin or end anywhere but is constantly cycled through one form and location to another.

Here’s another easy observation: We all live in some geographic place.  And here’s the accompanying mysterious and very critical situation: the places where we live are alive.  They are bioregions, unique life-places with their own soils and land forms, watersheds and climates, native plants and animals, and many other distinct natural characteristics.  Each characteristic affects the others and is affected by them as in any other living system or body. […]

There were no unsolvable physical mysteries during the industrial era, and Nature was thought to be merely physical.  Physics, chemistry and engineering could unravel any puzzle for what was thought to be the inevitable betterment of humankind: produce anything imaginable, restructure any environment, remove any amount of a wanted resource, and exterminate or discard anything unwanted.  If it came to the point that doing these things created new problems (considered a doubtful outcome for the greatest part of the period), there were still ways that were believed capable of restoring a human upper hand: (a) just be thankful for what progress has been made and accept living with whatever negative consequences come with it; (b) stop doing something that is known to be disastrous and start doing some new thing whose effects are completely unknown; and (c) apply more industrial techniques to solve problems brought through industrialism in the first place. The result of all this self-deception?  We live with poisons up to the waist in a junkyard of breaking machines.

Most environmental agencies won’t ultimately relieve our situation.  They would only be further appendages of a political core that is welded to industrialism itself.  We need a core based on the design of Nature instead, from watershed to bioregion and continent to planetary biosphere.  Is it self- defeating to avoid established governments other than immediately local ones?  Not if we want to anticipate a society whose direction already lies outside those institutions.  We need to uncover and follow a natural design that lies beneath industrial asphalt.

What about world spheres of influence, global economics and other international considerations?  The whole Planet is undergoing the severe strains of the Late Industrial period now: chemical plagues, wholesale mechanical removal of landscapes, disruption of the most major river courses, accelerated destruction of ecosystems, and overnight disappearance of habitats.  Humanity is suffering the consequences of these suicidal devouring attacks on the biosphere as Late Industrial society begins to eat itself. Couldn’t we tame that suicidal appetite by adopting sustainability as a goal? If we become bioregionally self-reliant that would be a large step toward taking the strain off the rest of the Planet’s life-places.

On a farm in the country or in a city apartment, we’re all completely enmeshed in the web of life.  We can’t know all of the details of all the connections.  Bioregional politics doesn’t try to overcome the mystery, it is aimed toward making a social transition so that we can live with that mystery. Can we stop tearing the web apart, and consciously build a role as partners in all life?  We’d better, and we can by beginning where we live.

Peter Berger –part of the Diggers movement– in Growing a Place-Life Politics.


About pancho

To live in radical joyous shared servanthood to unify the Earth family.
This entry was posted in anarchy, astrobiology, Awakin Oakland, education, meditation, natural philosophy, nonviolence, science, WednesdaysOnFridays and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Undeniable Mystery

  1. Please remove my photo “Delicate” from your blog. You have not asked permission to reproduce it, and I own copyright for it. It is illegal to reproduce someone else’s image without their permission. The only ‘undeniable mystery’ here is why you would ignore my first request and delete my comment. That’s not very nice 😦

  2. Please remove my photo “Delicate” from your blog immediately. You do not have permission to use it for this purpose.

  3. Pancho says:

    On behalf of sister Mieke, then my reply at the end: Mieke Boyton wrote: “Please remove my photo “Delicate” from your blog. You have not asked permission to reproduce it, and I own copyright for it. It is illegal to reproduce someone else’s image without their permission. The only ‘undeniable mystery’ here is why you would ignore my first request and delete my comment. That’s not very nice :(”

    Tue, Oct 2, 2012 at 11:59 AM
    Namaste dear sister Mieke! 🙂

    May this email find you well.

    You are such a talented artist capturing the beauty, awe and wonder of life. Thank you for all the gifts you provide to the Earth Community.

    If you would like to contact me in future times, please feel free to write me to this email address.

    As you can see here “Delicate” is not at the Earthling Opinion any more.

    So sorry for any inconvenience it might caused you. [When I got an email to “contest” the claim from the WordPress people is when I noticed all your comments! that, of course, I will publish as soon as I send you this email].

    The intention of my blog is to foster a new paradigm of beauty, freedom, cooperation and the experience the mysterious. And certainly, “Delicate” is a great piece of art that captures all this without words. An “undeniable mystery” indeed 😉

    We also have another platforms, like DailyGood with a base of close to 121,000 subscribers, where we could share, if you wish to, your talents and love with the entire Earth Community. For example, a few days ago we featured the work and photographs of brother Steve McCurry in Greater Joy: Photos from Around the World and it created a nice flow in his website. If you give us the opportunity to serve you, most likely you will notice a spike of trafic in your website.

    So please let me know if there is a way I can serve you.

    As you can tell from our philosophy to serve, we are just paying-forward the love, inspiration, sacrifice and beauty we inherit from teachers, artists, scientists & engineers –who made possible this communication over the electronland! 😉 — and so many others who have shared their “touches of genius”, as you clearly do with your photography.

    Thank you for letting us share for a few weeks your extraordinary gifts. Sorry it was without your permission.

    May all become compassionate, courageous and wise.

    Make a ONEderful day sister Mieke! 🙂
    If you want to be a rebel, be kind. Human-kind, be both.
    In big hugs + big smiles + service + solidarity + insurgent learning
    Planetizing the Movement of the Ahimsa (R)evolution from some corner of our round borderless country…

    PS: Sometimes, verses flow through me: Poetry is the Science of the Soul. If you find inspiration in any of them, please feel free to share them freely, and I don’t need credit because I really don’t know who is doing this work! 😉

  4. And for the record, my reply was:
    Dear Pancho,

    There is no need to publish my comments, but I don’t think you understand how upsetting it is for an artist to find their work on other people’s websites without any recognition of them as the artist.

    It is hard to make money from photography, and photography is very expensive. I love photography. If I could make a living from it, I would. But I can’t. I have a website, and from the sales I make, I can buy new lenses or a tripod or an SD card or a cover so it doesn’t get wet or any number of other items needed for top quality photography. When you (and others) publish my work on the internet, you stop people from visiting my website. You de-value my work by putting it with words I don’t endorse. You make it appear that my work is free and accessible to anyone. So it hurts me to find my work on your website, because you take away my ability to promote my name as an artist and make people want to buy my photography because they’ve seen my name, and then I can’t afford the equipment I need to become a better photographer.

    You might believe that putting my photo online is good promotion. But if no one knows that the photo on your website it is mine, how can that be good for me?

    I looked at the link you gave me with Steve McCurry’s photographs, and I can’t believe that he gave you permission to show his photos without his name underneath or a link to his website. He is either very generous… or you didn’t ask his permission.

    People steal my work all the time and it makes me very, very upset.

    So please think about the artists when you take their work and put it on your blog without their permission. You are hurting people by doing that. It is not serving people, nor is it paying forward the love. It is ruining an artist’s chance to make their passion into a career. It is preventing them from making their name well known. It is stealing something that isn’t yours.


    Mieke Boynton.

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