Archive for February 9th, 2011


February 9, 2011

Continuing with Red Alert!- Repeated reminders of the collaborative, related quality of indigenous knowledges (it’s always pluralized here) are supposed to innoculate us against the hubris of thinking ourselves the Creators or world-makers.

Wildcat renounces “New Age secrets” and romantic tribal mythology, but also the “hard-fact skeptics” who doubt the very concept of relational and collaborative knowledge co-created with our non-human confreres. Is he stepping on your toes with any or all of that renunciation? There definitely has developed an undeniable affinity between friends of earth-centered native wisdom and many New Age types.  There’s been enough native resistance to proselytizing protestants, too, to cheer a freethinker.

Just in case “New Age” is unclear, here’s the sort of thing I have in mind:

And, of course,

[The Secret Behind the SecretQuantum Quackery]

Inter-species communication with animals” is cool, but do we really have anything vital to communicate to one another? All I seem to get from my dogs and cat is “feed me-feed me…” But prairie-dogs apparently have more to say, at least amongst themselves. [Krulwich, PrairiedogeseRadiolab]

Is knowledge really  a gift? I’m still captivated, I s’pose, by the western bias of thinking that nature’s secrets have to be pried away. I’m always grateful to the hard-working scientists who do the prying, but have a hard time finding others to thank.

“Linear temporal universal history” & “progress and civilization” have fallen into disfavor with historians and sociologists of knowledge, but what takes their place? Is Peirce’s “ideal end of inquiry” too linear and progressive? [Talisse on Peirce & Dewey] How about Emerson’s “circles”, a nice complement to Black Elk’s.

We’ve got wind to burn, but the water’s drying up and running out in the desert. Can all those Phoenicians and Tucsonites be resettled in the Great Plains?

I like this Menominee creation story, but 7 generations won’t cover the transition from four legs to two. Seriously: what’s wrong with the “epic of evolution” as our universal human creation story? It’s everybody’s.

We were talking about Protagoras and his infamous “man is the measure” statement in Intro yesterday. I really don’t find it arrogant, or relativistic. Relationalistic, sure. But there’s not a problem with that, is there?

I love that Wildcat is prepared to enlist John Dewey as an honorary indigenous philosopher, on the trouble with nature-culture dualism and other unsustainable dichotomies.

Are we weeds? David Quammen (“Planet of Weeds“) thinks maybe so.

If the world’s air is clean for humans to breathe but supports no birds or butterflies, if the world’s waters are pure for humans to drink but contain no fish or crustaceans or diatoms, have we solved our environmental problems? Well, I suppose so, at least as environmentalism is commonly construed. That clumsy, confused, and presumptuous formulation “the environment” implies viewing air, water, soil, forests, rivers, swamps, deserts, and oceans as merely a milieu within which something important is set: human life, human history. But what’s at issue in fact is not an environment; it’s a living world…

we might reasonably imagine an Earth upon which, 10 million years after the extinction (or, alteratively, the drastic transformation) of Homo sapiens, wondrous forests are again filled with wondrous beasts. That’s the good news.

I’ve always thought some weeds are attractive enough, though. If we take appropriate steps to begin reclaiming and reconstructing our humble place in nature, and squeeze back in to our corner of the “Big Picture,”  maybe we’re weeds Mother Earth can tolerate.

Finally, James Lovelock gets a shout-out. He’ll be shouting back, when we get to his Vanishing Face of Gaia. Its ominous subtitle: a final warning.