COSMO-CENTRISM AND ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE V

The call for environmental justice implies that injustices have already been committed. We have abused this planet. We have essentially taken it as there for us. We have engaged in species-centrism in the extreme.

And now we realize that our abuse of the planet has become a form of self-abuse. Our own survival, or at least flourishing, is at risk. We now understand that we must “save” the planet in order to save ourselves. Yet this motivation remains within the spheres of species- and ego-centrism—attitudes that significantly contributed to the problem in the first place. If we are to really break the cycle, we need a radical paradigm shift.

That shift is what I’m calling cosmo-centrism, the recontextualization of our ego- and species-centrism within the broader context of the (ultimately ambiguous) world-context.

Cosmo-centrism embraces two apparently mutually exclusive experiences. On the one hand, it recognizes the absolute non-negotiable value of each and every thing in its individual uniqueness. On the other hand, it so completely identifies with the world that it is taken as one body—my body, your body. Together these views issue in an equality of caring.

This is walking the two roads of not-oneness and oneness at the same time. Wholly identifying with the world as one body illuminates the equality of value of the many. Appreciating the self-so value of the many is seeing their oneness. They are all the same in their all being different.

“For belonging in a category [similar] and not belonging in that category [different] themselves form a single category [similar]! Being similar is so similar to being dissimilar!” exclaims Zhuangzi. (2:30) Even the category “One” invites another category. This renders it empty of all true content and returns us to openness in the presence of Mystery.

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