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Anthropocentricity or Egocentricity

Posted by on Feb 1, 2012 in Ecology, Featured | 15 comments

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The prevailing world view, probably shared by all cultures, is an Anthropocentric (1) one. This stance has found it’s first expression in the Bible, Genesis 1:28 (2).

Whether our ideology stems from the religion, which put the idea in our heads, or whether our human Ego centrism (3) found it’s way into the scriptures is moot. It resembles the question about the egg and the chicken. No one can answer it. Fact is, that some Anthropocentric believe, that the world, and even the universe, was only created for one reason – for us human beings. Although we, as human beings, are unique in nature it does not necessarily mean, that the whole world and the universe is our dominion, our serfdom, for us to do as we please.

That anthrocentrism can’t be the truth, beginns to dawn on us slowly. The more people live at the same time on Earth, the more precarious the situation becomes. The Climate Change (4) is a real possibility and too many people are still suffering in the 3. World from lack of adequate technology. Technology is needed to raise the standard and quality of living in those countries. This will, hopefully, trigger the Demographic-Economic Paradox (5) and world population will be reduced by the free will of the people. The Demographic-Economic Paradox, means, that the wealthier people become, the less children they have. To raise the standard of living in the 3. World would be the real anthropocentric approach. But, alas, even after decades of so called development policies, the the problem of global poverty still remains unsolved. And the birth rate is too high.

So if human beings are not the center of our world view, what is it instead?

The personal Egocentrism! Or mostly rather Egomaniac dreams of the individual. And of the personalities of the powers to be. Since the powers to be are, after all, only human beings with all their personal shortcomings, no other results can’t be asked for. As an individual it is hard to grasp the overall picture, the angle of perception is narrow. On the other hand our culture tells as constantly, that we are the center of all. Such a Egocentrism of the individual is excusable, but to prolong the cultural superstition is dangerous. Considering human history and the present state of nature, neither human beings, nor nature, as the source of life, was ever in the center of the anthropocentric powers that be. If human beings would really be in the center of our culture, then famine should be a thing of the past. In the 21.century, with all the technology available, no one should die of starvation. Sadly it still happens. This is the result, not of Anthropocentric but because of unbridled and purely egocentric greed.

But this world view is being challenged. The quest for Sustainability (6) bears witness to it.

In November of last year the annual Climate Change Summit was held in Durban/South Africa (7). Nothing came out of it, otherwise it would be news worthy and I would have heard about it. Can it be, that all the scientists and pundits simply don’t know what sustainability actually means? Not just in a practical sense but on a deeper level of a differing world view. We have to understand, that human beings are not the center of the world, we just happen to be on top of a unstable pyramid. The pyramids in Egypt and in Latin America conveys the image of a stability, it is something for eternity. Again it is our narrow perception, which leads us to believe, that four thousand year is a long time.

In reality, 4000 years are only a blink in the history of Earth. In reality there is no hirarchy in nature. Everything has a room in the Oikos (8) and everything is in a state of fluidity. Change is the only secure constant in nature. Our stance towards nature must adept itself to the changes. The change of the world population and a possible Climate Change are the salient points. These two problems combined are overwhelming, nothing comes even close to it. The economic perils are minuscule compared to them. If the Climate Change will take effect and hundreds of million, or even billion, people will start to move, because as an effect of Climate Change their natural environment will be inhabitable, then this will surly change the economic system.

World population (9) will have to come to a point were it has to stop growing and a reduction will take place. There is no alternative, to escape into space will only be possible for a very small number of people, if at all. And those people will have to live in a way we could already live on earth. Zero Energy Waste Tolerance!

There are two possibilities how the reduction will come about. Either through wars and catastrophes or through a new approach to help the 3. World countries to develop and to hope that the Demographic-Economic Paradox will take effect. And at the same time help nature, because the technology is small, decentralized and appropriate for people. Small is beautiful, said E. F. Schumacher (10).

To help people or to help nature, as expressed by the beautiful African lady in the clip at the bottom 1:57, should not be the question at all. On the on hand we have to help the people and on the other hand we have to preserve nature. Not just passively preserving it, but to bring vast areas to their genuine conditions. It has to be done, because nature has to be given the chance to regain stability and thus mitigate a climate change. It is not an Either-Or question but rather, as they say in Germany, a Sowohl-Als-Auch approach. Sowohl als auch means: This as well as that.

Yes, the clip is right, we are human beings and we have the right to be here. But in such a way that we do not destroy nature for our pleasure and hubris.


For further reading:

1.   Anthropocentrism

2.  Genesis 1:28

3.  Egocentrism

4.  Climate Change

5.  Demographic-Economic Paradox

6.  Sustainability

7.  Climate Summit Durban

8.  Oikos

9.  World Population

10.E.F. Schumacher

Anthropocentricity or Egocentricity, 9.7 out of 10 based on 9 ratings
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          Hi E. Brisker,
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