Thursday, August 6, 2015


Gunther Witzany has an interesting philosophy of biology outlined in this book from 2000.

I like many things he says very much.  He is deeply concerned about the Ecological Crisis of our times, what this means, how it came about, and how we need to change in order to save ourselves and our biosphere.  I believe his is absolutely correct that the now globalized ideas that originated from Western society need to be changed and fundamentally.

His ideas that living nature is structured in a communicative nature, I am finding interesting, perhaps not totally compelling yet.  I would think of this as one facet of living nature, not the whole ball of wax.  Further it seems to me that his path to the correct values and behaviors to save the biosphere need not necessarily come from his formulation, and therefore his formulation may not be foundational in that sense.  I thought, and still believe, I was already there, even in my Westernized and nature-detached POV.

This reminds me of arguments I once had with a fellow Sierra Club member who argued that to preserve nature, one had to "appreciate it" basically by spending lots of time in the wilderness.  This has always seemed wrong to me.  It has always seemed to me that many people who spend far more time in the wilderness than I do (for example, Dick Cheney) are still flooring their SUV's straight into the Ecological Crisis, and me, sitting alone in front of my computer screen, I can see quite clearly that it's wrong to overpopulate and over carbonize when many of those wilderness people don't.  I'm not quite sure how I got to the values I have via communication with nature except via the nature that exists, somehow, inside my own mind and may have been there for quite some time.  I think my ideas come from some other basic ideas, such as what it means to be a good person.  To be a good person is to do good for all.  Allism was the word I coined in High School.  To do good simply for a particular idea is wrong, and likewise to do good only for other humans at a cost to other species, etc.  Somehow this was intuitively obvious to me without having spent a life communicating with nature.

Anyway, he writes: "Today we find ourselves confronted with an ecological crisis. … No longer is merely the survival of mankind at stake, but the survival of most higher forms of life."

Actually…the potential threat is greater than that, the ultimate threat is to all life, though many discourage talking about the possible Venusification of earth.

He says this crisis is basically the result of a 100-year-long cultural development, which has escalated in the last 40 years (1960-2000).  Actually, anthropocentric cultures go back to the first Sky Gods, well over 2000 years ago, and even that probably wasn't the beginning of anthropocentrism.

He writes: "…As opposed to cosmo- or biocentrically oriented cultural traditions, Western civilization adopted a world view that made humans the focal point and undisputed beneficiary of the nature around us.  … Within western civilization, and particularly in its modern form, i.e., scientific-technically oriented industrial society, non-human nature was degraded to a mere resource."  He then further describes that our civilization similarly reduces humans to a mere resource in the same way.

He goes on "This anthropocentric approach to nature, which is first exported and subsequently internalized by the affected cultures, pushes both the reproductive capacity of these societies as well as the capacity of the exploited natural resources to their limits."