Friday, April 24, 2009

Thinking Ecologically than thinking of Ecology

For quite some time, I have been thinking about how we think. This is a question which is not even thought of what to talk of it’s being raised. We almost forget that there is a method behind thinking and over a period of time, this method becomes not just invisible to us but we also turn oblivious of it but it doesn't mean that method has stopped working. It keeps working right there but our relationship with this method undergoes a serious decline. This is not just true of an individual human being but it is also equally true of societies and communities. There is an automatic development of a uniform nature of thought among groups conditioned by caste, colour, gender, culture, religion or any other factor. This uniformity does create a certain sense of composite way of living life but this kind of development should be questioned and decoded simultaneously. Of late, I have been suffering with a strange development. I would prefer to call it strange because of a certain kind of private selfishness. I don't feel the burden of morality pangs as I used to do over a pretty long period of time. The first morality pang which I suffered from was that of “an impossibility of being a good son”. I tried my best before my family and realised that despite achieving a good sense of son-ness, I never wanted to be acknowledged as just a good son. I wanted to be something else. The second morality pang which I suffered from was that of “an impossibility of being a good male”. I tried my best, failed a lot in many cases; succeeded a bit in a few cases and ultimately I realised that goodness of a male can be determined by a female first, a range of social or cultural factors second and finally by my attempt of being good. My trials and tribulations in this domain were so limited by the factors of ‘otherness’ that I could be a good male even if I don't try to be the one. Gradually, over a period of couple of decades, I could understand that trying to be a good male was the greatest illusion of morality which I had imposed upon myself and the fact was that a female and her environment together define a major chunk of my goodness. The third morality pang which I suffered from was “an impossibility of being a true Indian/Oriental.” In the beginning, this attempt/crisis took me into the domain of cultural nationalism which later on turned out to be the majority fascism. Then I shifted into the domain of spiritual nationalism which took me into the domain of serious Indology. This was a bit satisfactory period of my intellectual journey but soon I realised that all spiritual journeys have to be based upon the material lives. One has to develop one's own Mahabharata, one long battle and one's own wars. This brought me down from the domain of spiritualism into the domain of essential materialism. I could learn to respect people like Gramsci, naxalites, grassroot activists, ecological warriors and libertarians. These three morality pangs were basically the fundamental methods of thinking which I had developed rights since my birth and had almost forgotten that my entire action was being dictated by these fundamental forms of thought. The series of successes and failures were actually driven by these hidden forces of judgement which were always in operation though I was almost ignorant of them. It's only recently that I have realised that these three morality pangs don't bother me as they used to do earlier. The fourth morality pang which I started suffering from was around a decade back when I started realising the cost of an urbanized and consumerist living style which I had got used to. I had no training in rural habitat or the method of natural life. I kept saying to myself that I am only consuming and consuming but I'm not creating the natural wealth. I'm not saving water, am not saving greenery, am not doing enough to save the ecology. This morality pang took me into the world of natural farming, organic farming, permaculture, sustainable development and alternative forms of human habitat. A couple of years back, I tried my hands at organic farming and after a series of minor experiments, I realised that my enterprise may give a lot of satisfaction, vegetables and fruits to me and my family but I was not able to design a system which was truly ecological because of so many factors that I could not even see. This was the final morality pang with which I decided not to be conditioned by. These deep-rooted methods of thinking which seemed to give a direction actually constrain the vast scope of human action. They seem to provide a direction in the beginning but they don't solve the question- Who you are and what you want to be? These methods are mono-crop, mono-tonous, mono-theistic, mono-polistic and mono-chromatic. Why a method cannot be based upon a model of biodiversity? Instead of thinking of ecology, why the method itself cannot be ecological? Why it has to be constrained by only one kind of predominant value system? Perhaps, our problem is that we tend to believe in clean, moral and synthetic methods of thinking. Rather I feel that no method can really fulfil these three criteria. The human consciousness does not operate as designed by these limited doctrines. It draws its strength and vitality from a much deeper resource of thinking which is made up of very deeply interconnected, deeply rooted and biologically joined ecosystem which may be called a jungle, as good as a rainforest. A forest is life source of human habitat but a forest as a method of thinking is yet to be registered in human mind. That's why I believe that we need to learn to be aware of what is called ecological thinking.

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