Who stole the value of wetlands and when and where did this event occur? In mythic time wetlands are regarded as important places for healing and spiritual understanding. The garden of Eden was in a wetland surrounded by rivers in the desert. Wetlands supplied water and food for the people through time immemorial. Animals in wetlands supported the telling of tales, important for understanding nature. Heron is an important messenger of the gods, bringing the connection between earth and heaven. Frog is a symbol of birth, death, and rebirth; as she goes through changes in form, associated with wetland ponds and streams. Many other animals and plants supply food, medicine, and cultural context for the people.
Then along came science and the objective world; powerful conceptual grasping. Human consciousness moved out of mythic time and into city time, with the formation of civilizations. Eventually written language and money were invented and the science of economics developed. The great human marketplaces grew and the connection between myth and human thought became hidden by the power of objective thought and philosophy. We came to see every thing and person as objects separated from us as subjects. This separation of the world between us and them produced a lasting cultural valuation based on richer and poorer. Endless wars ensued to constantly adjust the balance of payments and power among cultures.
Now we are in a crisis of understanding. Great religions developed to act as gateways to the spiritual power of nature and renewal and these only served to reinforce the sense of objectivity for the people; priests separated people from spiritual power. The objective world simply does not explain everything. We have experiences of hope and fear that cannot be objectified or given monetary value. There are vast areas of our consciousness that are subject to change by outside circumstances, but are not explainable by rational thought. We do not understand the source of consciousness with birth. We do not understand the disappearance of consciousness with death. These events are magic, with spontaneous appearance and disappearance; something that is not consistent with rational thought and objectivity. We are afraid of death and will not talk or think about it.
Yet we know that when we take a walk or paddle a boat outside with the sky above and the marsh below, that we are happy and carefree. This experience of wildness is priceless. In our state of well-being, we cannot defend this value in court when developers argue for draining the marsh and building new value in their banks.
Have we forgotten our heritage? Do we not see that subject and object cannot exist without each other, inseparable. We talk about cause and effect, but don’t believe in it when we act without care for consequences. We are nihilists at heart, mouthing words of empty value to satisfy the objectivity gods. This separation that we feel and that has supported the polarity of human economic culture is the source of so much suffering. We can take responsibility for our world by seeing the interface between subject and object and remembering the spiritual connection that we have with every living being and the world we live in. This is the ultimate value, beyond the objectification of existence. We can declare that wetlands have value and that we are willing to conserve them and other wildness that is vital to our well-being.
Posted by michael