As mentioned in an earlier chapter, this seems to be the result of our distinctively human sense of separation from everything else. Our ego boundaries are so strong and so frozen that we find it difficult to remember that we are in fact a part of the planet we inhabit. Oh sure, many of us pay lip-service to being one with the earth. Some of us even wear really cool T-shirts with clever designs and one-liners based on this premise bravely emblazoned on the front. The sad fact is though that most of us just don't get it... and those that DO, have real trouble remembering and acting consistently on this simple idea. The average human is supremely disinterested in "the environment" other than regarding it as an unlimited source of resources and money and... oh yeah... that thing on the Discovery channel.
Despite the last few generations of scientists (and environmentalists) telling us how radically fast our "environment" is changing and what a shocking effect this will have on our lifestyles, we're still living high on the hog and trashing the joint like there's no future. Ignoring all the obvious signs of terminal ecological breakdown, we rush onwards building ever bigger and more and more pointless altars to our own comsumptive greed... burning oil, destroying wilderness, in short selling off tomorrow's narrow waistline to pay for a fat, over-fed belly today. Insisting that we're the "king of the castle", we continue to reap, chop, gouge and generally screw over the place we live in. Seemingly blind to the fact that we're essentially digging our own grave, we continue to act like we believe that a shiny new toy from the department store is of more importance than the air we breathe, the water we drink and the place we live in.
How then do we bring ourselves back to an awareness of the simple fact that we're a part of this planet and NOT the undisputed owners of it? Without a more holistic attitude towards the eco-system we all share, life as we know it is about to disappear into a grimy, polluted, weather-crazed vortex of plastic and concrete and that (dear reader) is the end of our game. So what do we do?
One of the most promising is tribal humanity's regular sacramental use of psycho-active plants... yeah, that's right... drugs! Drugs (more specifically) that make you trip (in the 60s sense of the word)... psilocybin mushrooms, mescaline cactus, ayahuasca and seeds that contain LSD-like properties are amongst the more obvious candidates.
Throughout most tribal culture, the ritualised use of these substances is a major initiation and a regular reminder of the tribe's place on the planet. The psychedelic plant loosens the ego boundaries of whoever consumes it and the tripper (initiate) winds up feeling at one with whatever environment they're in. Usually (in a tribal culture) that environment is a natural one... a complete and functioning eco-system. At least part of the lesson learnt then is that we are a part of the eco-system we share... at one with the planet. In short a classic Gaian epiphany.
In modern times, these sacraments have become demonized and illegal sending most humans straight to the brewery. Unfortunately though, alcohol doesn't seem to have quite the same effect as the psychedelics and the end result is the seemingly terminal situation we now face as a species. Drugs (it would seem) shape culture and modern culture appears to have forgotten the first lesson of tribal initiation... "YOU are a part of this". It would seem that the human race needs a good stiff dose.
The problem being of course that most humans don't have regular access to an untouched natural environment (not to mention regular access to a good stiff dose... but that's a whole OTHER ball o'wax). We're not all lucky enough to live in a rainforest or even near a nice park. Psychedelics though are gracious and powerful teachers. The trick is to be LOOKING for nature wherever you can find it... even if it's only in that tattered yet courageous blade of grass fighting it's way up through a crack in the concrete. That's right, focus on the green not the grey. Corny as it may sound, try and listen to what nature has to say. There are no straight lines or right angles in the wilderness... just fractals and guess what? We're the same.
So what I always like to tell people when they can't wrap their head around any viewpoint that isn't anthropocentric (human-centred) is this...
"If you're looking for a total Deep Ecological experience, the quickest, most effective way that I know of is also the oldest. Get high and go sit under a tree and in your heightened state, try and listen to what that tree has to say."
In short, Psychedelic Deep Ecology or the Guaranteed Gaian Epiphany (or GGE for those who like acronyms) seems to me to be the quickest, most time-honoured and most necessary means to a positive end during this rather tragic juncture in human history.
Dose 'em all... let Gaia sort 'em out.