For the presentation for one of my courses, I worked on a philosopher named David Abram. He is a philosopher and ecologist. Many do think that great philosophers are eccentric characters. He too is, but in a slightly different way. If you listen to his tasks, you might call him a modern-day Guru. But he is much far away from these.
The title of his famous book is ‘Becoming-Animal’. This is an invitation to reactivate the animal-senses which are there within us, which we are loosing in the journey to be scientific in our thinking. It is an invitation to see with your eyes, hear with your ears, smell with your nose, touch and feel with your body the moods and expressions of the creation. Though I might watch an accident with the naked eye (which I have seen well), I run to watch the replay of it in CCTV. [if you are thinking that this is a critique on CCTV, then you missed the point].
Animals do feel and sense everything around them. Even a stone, rock, water and plants do have some sort of a connection with them. Abram would say thinking, feeling and language are not limited to human beings, but part of all creation. But we need to sharpen our senses to experience that moods and expressions of the creation. For him, ‘the loss of this sense’ is the reason for all environmental damage.
He is not saying that science and technology is bad. But the point is, we do need to re-activate that sense of communicating (talking and listening)with the creation, which we lost in the journey of science and technology(this trend started much early with the tendency to create abstract concepts). This sense will tell us, whether a particular case is the use/abuse of technology.
He gives a beautiful example, after his stay in the wild along with a person called Sonam. Abram’s break-through happens one day when he watches a raven struggle to move a rock and then feels this straining inside his own body.
What could be some of the possible starting point?
- An attempt to feel the earth/things not with chapels/instruments, but with our naked bodies.
- Go for a picnic/outing and use it as an opportunity to communicate with the cosmos, much less to represent or capture those moments.[Recently I went for a picnic; we enjoyed a lot; but rather than enjoying the nature, I was interested in capturing the pictures. It gave me happiness; gave me a lot of fb likes. But I lost the beautiful part].
Aristotle called humans as rational animals. We have surely used our rationality, grew a lot. But one mistake we made is that, we forgot to keep alive the animal senses with the same intensity. This re-connecting (making alive our animal senses/sensory perception) lead to relationships that promote growth and development which are sustainable.
[We could think all these ideal, metaphorical styles of thinking; I think such a conclusion is truly missing the point]