THUNDER ON THE MOUNTAINS

If you wonder how the modern world evolved to the point where we’re allowing the beautiful mountans of Appalachia to be blown off and discarded like trash in order to more profitably and easily extract the coal—-perhaps this long quote from Richard Tarnas’s book COSMOS will provide you with the answer.


RICHARD TARNAS:
“…the course of history brought about a deep schism between humankind and nature, and desacralization of the world. This development coincided with an increasingly destructive exploitation of nature, the devastation of traditional indigenous cultures, a loss of faith in spiritual realities and an increasingly unhappy state of the human soul, which experienced itself as ever more isolated, shallow and unfulfilled.
In this perspective, both humanity and nature are seen as having suffered grievously under a long, exploitative, dualistic vision of the world, with the worst consequences being produced by the oppressive hegemony of modern industrial societies empowered by Western science and technology.
The nadir of this fall is the present time of planetary turmoil, ecological crisis and spiritual distress, which are seen as the direct consequences of human hubris, embodied above all in the spirit and structure of the modern Western mind and ego.
This second historical perspective reveals a progressive impoverishment of human life and the human spirit, a fragmentation of original unities and ruinous destruction of the sacred community of being.
Something like these two interpretation of history here described in starkly contrasting terms for the sake of easy recognition, can be seen to inform many of the more specific issues of our age. They represent two basic antithetical myths of historical self-understanding: the myth of Progress and what in its earlier incarnation was called the myth of the Fall. These two historical paradigms appear today in many variations, combinations and compromise formations.
They underlie and influence discussions of the environmental crisis, globalization, multiculturalism, fundamentalism, feminism and patriarchy, evolution and history.
One might say these opposing myths constitute the underlying argument of our time: whither humanity? Upward or downward? How are we to view Western civilization, the Western intellectual tradition, its canon of great works? How are we to view modern science, modern rationality, modernity itself?”

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