WOODY ALLEN EXISTS
i went to my first poetry reading last night.
"the idea that we live in something called 'the environment,' for instance, is perposterous. this word came into use because of the pretentiousness of learned experts who were embarrassed by the religous associations of 'Creation' and who thought 'world' too mundane. but 'environment' means that surrounds or encircles us; it means a world separate from ourselves, outside us. the real state of things, of course, is far more complex and intimate and interesting than that. the world that environs us, that is around us, is also within us. we are made of it; we eat, drink, and breathe it; it is bone of our bone and flesh of our flesh. it is also Creation, a holy mystery, made for and to some extent by creatures, some but by no mean all of whom are humans.... no one of this intimacy and responsibility is conveyed by the word environment.'all religious or deistic implications aside, if we begin to think of the earth as something contingent, as something created, we can start to humbly think of ourselves as wholly part of this created thing that feeds and clothes us and that is also clothed and fed. i think we can maybe begin to see a pattern in other things (community, seasons, tides, charity) that are linked all around us. we can see ourselves as part of a universal plot, like some quitch patchwork that we are all working on together.
'no settled family or community has ever called its home place an 'environment.' none has ever called its feeling for its home place 'biocentric' or 'anthropocentric.' none has ever thought of its connection to its home place as 'ecological', deep or shallow. the concepts and insights of the ecologists are of great usefulness in our predicament, and we can hardly escape the need to speak of 'ecology' and 'ecosystems'. but the terms themselves are culturally sterile. they come from the juiceless, abstract intellectuality of the universities which was invented to disconnect, displace, and disembody the mind. the real names of the environment are the names of rivers and river valleys; creeks, ridges, and mountains; towns and cities; lakes, woodlands, lanes, roads, creatures, and people."i think more writers and artists should really take it on themselves to do this work of making ecology culturally relevant. the people with the most cultural influence should present the seriousness of the situation. and do work their in not just fetishizing nature but by cultivating some real attachment to the earth in the forms not only inspiration but survival, diversity, adaptability, and strength. specifically in going to pains to print books or pamphlets on recycled, non-bleached paper.
photo: tatiana ryckman