Tuesday, January 09, 2018

Shepard for the Day.2

Wi'id Mask by contemporary Haida artist
Robert Davidson
"Our species once did (and in some small groups still does) live in stable harmony with the natural environment.  That was not because men were incapable of changing their environment or lacked acumen; it was not simply on account of a holistic or reverent attitude, but for some more enveloping and deeper reason still.

The change began between five and ten thousand years ago and became more destructive and less accountable with the progress of civilization.  The economic and material demand of growing villages and towns are, I believe, not causes but results of this change.

In concert with advancing knowledge and human organization it wrenched the ancient social machinery that had limited human births.  It fostered a new sense of human mastery and the extirpation of nonhuman life.  

In hindsight this change has been explained in terms of necessity or as the decline of ancient gods.  But more likely it was irrational (though not unlogical) and unconscious, a kind of failure in some fundamental dimension of human existence, an irrationality beyond mistakenness, a kind of madness."

Paul Shepard
Nature and Madness
pp. 3-4

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