※ 前言：約翰‧席德(John Seed)2011全國NGOs環境會議的貴賓，他是澳洲雨林資訊中心的創始人，自1979年起，一直親身參與澳洲雨林保護行動。1984年在美國首次巡迴展覽之後，更發起美國雨林行動網路，繼而在南美洲、亞洲和太平洋，開創很多保護雨林的計畫，及在世界各處撰寫和講授深層生態學，舉辦「眾生大會」、「重新接觸大地」（re-Earthing）等工作坊。他與瓊安娜．梅西（Joanna Macy）、佩徳．福連明（Pat Fleming）和阿恩．內司（ Arne Naess）合著有《像山一樣的思考：走向眾生大議會》(Thinking Like a Mountain - Towards a Council of All Beings)。
為了回應此事，Joanna Macy和我發展了一個體驗深層生態學儀式的工作坊– 「眾生大會」。並且和Arne Naess我們在1986年合寫了一本書叫做《像山一樣思考– 眾生大會實錄》（現在已被翻譯成12國語言）。
眾生大會中有一個「追思」的儀式：我們哀悼所有已經消失的事物、物種的滅絕、景觀的破壞。只有讓我們親身體驗地球的痛苦，我們才能有效地去療癒她。這就是為什麼越南的一行禪師(Thich Naht Hanh) 說，為了醫治地球：「最重要的事、我們所能做的，就是從內心深處去聽到地球的吶喊。」
此外，參與保護雨林所帶來靈性覺醒，讓我無需用任何其他形式來體驗神 ─ 地球本身已經成為我的聖典。
In spite of the modern delusion of alienation, of separation from the living Earth, we are NOT aliens, we belong here. The human being is Earth-born, the result of 4000 million years of continuous evolution, and the complex, exquisite biology from which we emerged inevitably remains the matrix, the grounding of any sane humanity.
We have all heard the news: For example, Dr. Raymond Dassman, Professor of Biology, University of California announced that "The 3rd World War has begun: it is being waged against the Earth."
More recently, at the end of 2009, ProfessorKevin Anderson, director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change andone of the UK's most senior climate scientists, stated that only around 10 per cent of the planet’s population – around half a billion people – will survive if global temperatures rise by 4C.
Two years earlier, the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) told the world that at current rates of increase of fossil fuel emissions, we were heading toward a rise in global average temperatures of around 6C by the end of this century, leading to mass extinctions on a virtually uninhabitable planet. The Proceedings for the National Academy of Sciences (NAOS) has reported that current fossil fuel emissions are exceeding this worst-case scenario and, in August 2010 NAOS stated that the science of climate change is in the category of those theories that had “been so thoroughly examined and tested, and supported by so many independent observations and results, that their likelihood of subsequently being found to be wrong is vanishingly small. Such conclusions and theories are then regarded as settled facts.”
We have all heard the news. Yet it has not changed our behaviour except in rather trivial ways.
So how will we change our thinking and our behaviour? What is needed? Not more horrifying statistics surely. Everybody already knows. We feel helpless and disempowered. Scientists warn that we are the last generation of humanity that may have the chance to avert biological collapse and the destruction of the systems that support complex life on Earth. Professor Paul Ehrlich warns us “ that we're sawing off the branch that we're sitting on”. To me this indicates some kind of psychological problem no matter how much money we can get by by selling thee timber in that branch.
I graduated in Psychology at Sydney University in the mid-'60's. After a stint as an IBM systems engineer in London, in 1979, by chance, I found myself embroiled in what turned out to be the first direct action in defense of the rainforests to take place in Australia or indeed, anywhere the world.
Terania Creek was this site of this action and it happened to be adjacent to the community where I had been living for five years. I somehow found myself involved in the defense of the rainforest there and suddenly everything changed. I heard the trees screaming. I heard them calling us to us for help and I couldn't resist that call. If I went to see a psychiatrist and said that I heard the Earth screaming, wouldn't my experience be reduced to a purely personal pathology? It would show that there was something wrong with me. Perhaps he would want me to talk about my childhood?
At first my experience was frightening and bewildering. The trees screaming? How could this be? In later years as I studied the matter , I discovered that this rainforest that I had found myself defending was part of the original flora of Australia. 130 million years ago when Australia was part of the mighty super continent Gondwanaland, joined to South America and Antarctica, before the continents drifted apart, all of it was covered in rainforest. Indeed, my ancestors were evolving within this very rainforest for nearly all those 130 million years, and it is only during the last few million years that we sought our fortunes down on the ground. So it became less surprising to see how some kind of psychological or spiritual contact with the rainforest was possible, and it became rather more surprising that more people didn't seem to be experiencing it in this way.
After Terania Creek I went on to start the Rainforest Information Centre, the first NGO in the world to have the rainforests as its agenda with projects from India to Ecuador, from New Guinea to Siberia.
However, it soon became apparent that the forests could not be saved one at a time.
In spite of our successful direct actions defending the sub-tropical rainforests of New South Wales in 1981, the temperate rainforests in Tasmania in 1982 and the tropical rainforests of far north Queensland in 1986, it was clear that for every forest protected during those years, thousands disappeared around the world.
And of course the planet could not be saved one issue at a time. While we were protecting forests, a mass extinction of life was underway - 100 species a day lost from the planet - and humanity threatening to choke on our own exhaust gasses and the other "byproducts" of our progress.
By the early '80's it was obvious to me that unless we could somehow address the underlying psychological or spiritual disease that afflicts modern humanity and allows us to to imagine that we can somehow profit from the destruction of our own life support systems. Unless we could deal with this madness, all of our actions and projects were merely symbolic. You can't save a forest. Its either going to be a green planet or a bowl of dust.
It was at this point that I discovered deep ecology and for the first time, found an analysis of our situation that helped me understand how we had come to this awful situation and perhaps what we can do about it.
Deep Ecology is the name of a philosophy of nature that has been exerting a profound effect on environmentalism in recent decades.
Over thousands of years, modern humans have developed an anthropocentric or human-centred perspective. I don’t know anything about the historical antecedents of this in Taiwan (though I would love to find out), but where I come from this anthropocentrism stems from the Judeo-Christian tradition. The modern psyche and all the institutions it has created are based on the idea that the world was created only for the benefit of human beings. Only humans were created in God’s image, only humans have a soul, only humans have intrinsic value. The only value that other species, rivers, forests, oceans and mountains can have, is instrumental value as a resource for humans. The Christian bible claims that it is humanity’s role to “subdue and dominate” all the other creatures and that they are to be “in fear and trembling” of us.
Within this paradigm, the world is a just stage and we humans are the star of the drama, everyone else is just “bit players”, scenery.
Now the science of ecology (as well as the wisdom of indigenous peoples) denies this perspective: the world is not a pyramid with humans on top, but a web. And we humans are not the spider in the middle, we are just one strand in that web and as we destroy the other strands, we destroy ourselves.
After thousands of years of conditioning, we have inherited shallow, fictitious selves, disconnected from nature.
James Lovelock, the scientist who proposed the Gaia hypothesis (which says that the Earth is not just a lump of rock with "resources" growing on it but is a living integrated being), has said that what we are doing to the world is as if the brain were to decide that it was the most important organ in the body and started mining the liver.
Even though in recent decades our IDEAS may have changed to incorporate the insights of ecology, ideas are not just in our heads, they’re embodied in the way that the world is arranged. All of the institutions of our society and the very language we speak, conspire to bind us in this outmoded and now (wedded to our powerful technologies and growing populations) deadly way of perceiving our world. Our ideas may change yet our institutions and personalities were forged in this mold and we seem incapable of giving substance to our new, ecological, vision.
Arne Naess, Emeritus Professor of Philosophy at Oslo University, the man who coined the term "Deep Ecology" wrote "it is not enough to have ecological ideas, we have to have ecological identity, ecological self".
He pointed out the a sense of responsibility or duty is a "treacherous basis" for conservation. How many of us are capable of altruism? As long as we are in the grip of the illusion that the Earth is other than our very self it seems unrealistic to suppose that we can make the very difficult changes in our lives and societies that would be needed to live contentedly within the constraints of the ecological systems.
If we can identify with the Earth we don't need altruism. If we have the experience of ourselves not as isolated, separate, skin encapsulated egos but as part of the larger body of the Earth, then the defense of nature becomes merely self-defense and this does not require a highly elevated moral stature. Self-interest comes "naturally" and it seems more hopeful to expand the sense of self to include the air (my breath) and water (my blood) and soil (my body), than to suddenly imagine most of us becoming "selfless", acting against our perceived self-interest to protect these things.
Still, through thousands of years of conditioning absorbed by osmosis since the day we were born, we have succeeded in creating this incredibly pervasive illusion of separation from nature.
Now the fact that this is entirely an illusion can be demonstrated very simply by holding your breath for about 5 minutes. That is, I am not talking about anything particularly mystical, it is very straight forward. We can name it "the atmosphere" and we can say "oh what a good person that is sacrificing their self interest by working to protect the atmosphere instead of making lots of money" as though the atmosphere was "out there". But it is not "out there". None of it is "out there". It is all constantly migrating and cycling through us, whether it's the atmosphere, the water, or the soil. There is no "out there", it is all "in here", but most modern people don't feel that.
As long as "the" environment is experienced as “out there”, we may leave it to some special interest group like the greens to protect while we look after number one. The matter changes when we deeply realise that the nature "out there" and the nature "in here" are one and the same, are continuous, that the sense of separation no matter how pervasive, is nonetheless totally illusory.
In response to such things, Joanna Macy and I developed a workshop of experiential deep ecology rituals called the Council of All Beings and, with Arne Naess, wrote a book in 1986 called Thinking Like A Mountain - Towards a Council of All Beings (which has been translated into 12 languages)
In this workshop we REMEMBER our rootedness in nature, recapitulate our entire evolutionary journey and release the memories locked in our DNA. We experience the fact that every cell in our body is descended in an unbroken chain 4 billion years old, through fish that learned to walk the land, reptiles who's scales turned to fur and became mammals, evolving through to the present.
We further extend our sense of identity in the Council of All Beings itself where we find an ally in the natural world, make a mask to represent that ally, and allow the animals and plants and landscapes to speak through us. We are shocked at the very different view of the world that emerges from their dialogue. Creative suggestions for human actions emerge and we invoke the powers and knowledge of these other life-forms to empower us in our lives.
We remember that, until quite recently, humans have been doing ceremonies like this for a long time, hundreds of thousands of years perhaps, and to our surprise, it comes very easily and naturally to us. Invariably we are shocked to hear voices that we have never heard before, profound truths revealed.
One of the rituals at the Council of All Beings is a mourning: we grieve for all that is being lost from the world, the species lost, the landscapes destroyed. Only if we will allow ourselves to feel the pain of the Earth, can we be effective in Her healing. This is why the Vietnamese Buddhist monk, Thich Naht Hanh, said that in order to heal the Earth, "the most important thing that we can do is to hear, inside ourselves, the sounds of the Earth crying".
We have a deep longing for reconnection with the Earth. With this longing repressed , a host of displacement activities arise. We feel a pervasive anguish and emptiness and spend our lives trying to fill the gaping wound with all manner of "stuff". We have to dig up and chop down the Earth to make and power all the hair-driers and microwave ovens and electric toothbrushes with which we try, unsuccessfully, to fill the hole.
t's not really all these material "goods" that we want however, but a certain psychological state that we imagine will follow. It never does follow of course, and no amount of material "stuff" brings us peace.
n response to the question "how is this expansion of identification to be developed?", Arne Naess responded that what are needed are “community therapies” to develop ecological self.
At first I was very excited by this as it gave me a new perspective on the Council of All Beings. Although I had facilitated many such workshops, I'd never seen them in this light.
After some time however,I came to see certain shortcomings in the "therapy" metaphor. While on Third Mesa in New Mexico, I was privileged to witness an ancient indigenous Hopi ritual. It took place in the town square of the oldest continuously inhabited community in the Western Hemisphere. Although the masks were more splendid and the drumbeat more confident, in many ways it was identical to the Council of All Beings and these people had been doing this regularly for thousands and thousands of years.
But therapies aren’t supposed to last for thousands of years. These ceremonies and rituals have no end. Perhaps the tendency to lose our connection with the living Earth is very ancient. Perhaps it began as soon as we began to think? What else could explain the fact that every intact indigenous culture that we look at has, at it's root, a series of such ceremonies and rituals whereby the human community can acknowledge and renew and nourish our interconectedness with the land and the rest of the Earth community?
So, although the Council of All Beings is undeniably experienced as being therapeutic by participants, it reveals I think, a deeper significance; One remembers Joseph Campbell's warning that the chief sources of anxiety in our age are the loss of myth and ritual. We must heal our culture so that it once more provides us with authentic connection between our soul and the Earth. For me, the real work must include reclaiming these rituals and the empowerment that they offer, and to take that empowerment and spread it through our lives, finding ways to serve the Earth.
This work is much more about experiences than ideas so, before moving on to talk about some of my work in the conservation of nature, I’d like to share with you a short experiential deep ecology process.
As I wrote in “Thinking Like a Mountain”, for myself this transformation of perspective from anthropocentrism to deep ecology resulted from my actions on behalf of Mother Earth.
In struggling to protect the rainforests near my home, I found that the sense of
“I am protecting the rainforest”
“I am part of the rainforest protecting myself. I am that part of the rainforest recently emerged into thinking.”
What a relief then! The thousands of years of imagined separation are over and we begin to recall our true nature.
Furthermore the spiritual awakening that took place while participating in the defence of the rainforests has obviated the need for any other form through which to experience the divine - the Earth itself has become my sacred text.
However, it is clear that many people's love of Earth is mediated thru one of the great faith traditions and that each of those traditions has within its texts and liturgies, many expressions of ecological sensibility and love of Earth.
These days, the Earth suffers under the thrall of the religion of the market place which is the dominant spiritual mode of these dark times.
Both nature and the faith traditions falter under the onslaught of the religion of economics, which is, I believe, the most pious religion the world has ever known, worshipping Mammon in skyscraping temples and shopping malls not just one day a week but seven; with worshippers all the more fervent by virtue of being completely unconsciousness that their supposed secularism is, in fact, a profound spiritual faith. I have written about this at some length last yearfor the University of Western Sydney’s “Handbook of Social Ecology.”
I believe that we need to to nourish both the growing shoots of ecological concern within the great faith traditions and also nourish spiritual understanding and respect within the conservation movement.
Part of my work has been exploring the overlap of ecology with Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism and Hinduism.
Earth is where all these mighty faiths meet, each has grown from the soil of this planet and it is in the Earth that they are reconciled. I will give two examples from Hinduism and Buddhism.
Arunachala, a mountain in the State of Tamil Nadu, is one of the most sacred sites in India. In the Hindu tradition, the story is told that their supreme deity, Shiva, manifested as a column of light stretching from infinity to infinity. He was so dazzling that the others gods complained that they were being dazzled beyond endurance.
In his compassion, Shiva took on a new form as this mountain, Arunachala, and more than 1000 years ago a vast temple was built at its base. Many believe that walking the 11 km around Arunachala is the fastest way to enlightenment and pilgrims by the millions have thronged there since time immemorial.
In the long line of illustrious sages who have taken up abode in caves on Arunachala was Ramana Maharshi, one of the most celebrated Hindu mystics of the 20th century who died in the '50's.
In 1987, the Rainforest Information Centre received a letter from one of the nuns in Ramana's ashram telling us that when Ramana had arrived at the mountain as a young man, it had been clothed in a mighty jungle and even tigers could be met walking along its flanks. But now, nothing remained but thorns and goats, couldn't we please do something?
We helped her set up an NGO and raised funding including two substantial grants from the Australian Government aid agency while volunteers from Australia spent more than seven years helping to reclothe the sacred mountain.
After some years, the authorities from the main temple invited us to move our tree nursery inside the temple walls and allowed us the use of their precious waters. Consequently, we initiated the regeneration of the temple gardens, growing flowers for their ceremonies as well as hundreds of thousands of native tree seedlings each year.
When I returned to Arunachala last December, I was heartened to find that more than 10 new NGO's have sprung up around the base of the mountain. These inspired groups have constructed native tree nurseries and are engaged in tree planting, environmental education, fire prevention and fire fighting. Not only was I able to walk in the cool shade of the trees our project had planted for over 20 years , but I was able to witness also that our idea had taken root, the idea that Shiva could be worshipped by reweaving his ecological robes. A short film about this project, “Reweaving Shiva’s Robes” may be viewed here.