The Valley of Death

Written May 11, 2019, posted June 5, 2020

How can we possibly wrap our minds and hearts around the deep, terrible, violent, enduring, destruction and suffering that our culture has let loose on the planet? How can we take in that the actions of our culture has forever changed the future of the planet by eliminating species from the gene pool, razing forests never to be again, poisoning land and water on a millions-of-years time scale?

Thomas Berry wrote about building emotional capacity in the individual and collective human (my words, maybe his, can’t remember in this moment) to face what must be faced about reality and deal with it. He advocated again and again to be clear about what was real and what was valuable – “reality and value” – a phrase he uses sixteen times throughout The Dream of the Earth. The health of Earth is real and valuable. The maw of destruction is real and valuable to pay attention to. It is valuable because the only way to the Ecozoic is through this Valley of Death in which we all live. It requires extraordinary emotional and social capacity to endure, much less survive or even thrive in, on both the personal level and the social/cultural level.

I am dumbstruck, powerless.

 

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