After my last post on this series, a student friend of mine, Gaurav Bajaj once expressed his difficulty in understanding the concept of ecological thinking. He's a young man who is trying to explore his own way through the life. He finds himself a deep misfit within the so-called material growth all around himself. He tries to find substance in the relationships but they turn out to be as material as the world around is. He seems to be caught in a thinking trap which makes him dream of natural farming on the one side and deeply disillusioned with the concrete structures of urban life. The whole thinking is built upon a dichotomy of inside and outside. There is a world inside which is not finding its way out and there is a world outside not giving up its hegemony.
Whenever we create an “other” particularly in the political and social terms, we also create an element of fear from this “other”. What we think, we assume to think of ourselves and what the other thinks, we assume to think that it is against ourselves. The element of fear distorts the natural reality of the entire ecosystem spread around ourselves. If we just remove the element of fear, we can tend to understand that thinking is not only a domain of personal control. The others also think for you and not always against you/not necessarily against you/rarely against you. They may even think without any trace of you being there. The point to mention here is that the immediate space around us is an ecosystem of multiple thinkings. Hence, thinking transforms into existence and that's why the space around us is an ecosystem of multiple forms of existence. No amount of good thinking or moral thinking is big enough to qualify any equivalence with this kind of vastness. When we think of the other, we generally tend to think of only human beings but I would say that not only human beings but the animals, the plants, stones, rivers and roads also think. The only problem is that we don't think that they really think. There is a certain kind of streak in the educational grooming of our minds where we tend to focus more and more upon the human beings and tend to forget the nonhuman spaces as the intangible and hence the unimportant spaces. The problem of too much of “I” does not allow the growing of “We”. This precise limitation of our dominant method of thinking creates so many layers of problems for us that the entire struggle becomes an intellectual and moral trap for us. While the reality of the situation always is that these traps are very minor locks where the energy and the movement meets a dead-end and the vast frame of the ecosystem around us keeps up its vitality as usual. For example, when we distinguished between mainstream history and the subaltern history, we had to dig out one form of history against the other form while history was being there in all its forms. What to talk of subaltern, there were private histories against the public history. There were human histories against the national histories. There were religious histories against the material histories. So, the moot point is that thinking as a method has remained a very restricted potential. The sense of morality defines its structure but I would say the sense of being ecological should define its existence. A structure may come out of that existence but we should not expect it to be a controlled structure; it may be as complex an ecosystem as a jungle is. To live in a jungle, one must accept that there is no life outside jungle. Hence, the sanctity of a jungle has to be maintained at all costs. The fear in jungle may be a procedural reality but the fear of jungle as a substantive reality has no point to exist. Still, if we want to cling to our fears, we shall never understand the jungle.