Posted on 07 September 2010
Documenting the construction of an ecosophical approach to life – that’s the aim of this blog. But… what does that mean exactly?
Well, let me first start by asking you few related questions: do you sometimes feel that your life is going anywhere (or in every directions!), that you are torn apart by different obligations, values, dreams, or that your actions sometimes contradict your perception of yourself? Do you at times have a ‘fog in your brain’ whereby you lack clarity about what you want/should do, or worse, you don’t understand the purpose of your life – if there is any -, and are unsure about the next step(s)? Do you feel like you kinda know that you aren’t ‘on track’, but are afraid – or lazy – to do what you have to do? Do you notice that your life is often full of contradictions: you vote Green but fly regularly; you are religious but not always compassionate about others; you feel free but are addicted to a heaps of things (coffee, wine, porn, chocolate, pot, Ipod, football team, etc – you pick!); you say you love your family but treat it like shit; you say you hate your job but don’t quit it, etc. I don’t blame you, I’m the same! It looks that some things simply don’t make sense.
Developing an ecosophical approach to life is about providing some coherence to our life. Well, not only to our life as-if-we-were-disconnected-from-the-world, but in conjunction with it. It’s about understanding our own assumptions, contradictions and impediments to achievement, and live a meaningful life.
Concretely, it means that we want to live a life which every aspect naturally and harmoniously fit with others. We’ve made some progress this last year. We don’t have much money but we live pretty simply so are happy with it. We live in a share house, grow our own vegetables (even though we don’t have enough for us, so we buy the needed one through local organic farms), have some fruit trees, raise chickens, don’t own a car, etc. Career-wise, CJG has quit her job as engineer in the private sector few months ago while I’m finishing a Phd and have been working as an aid worker throughout. We are very much taking few months ‘off’ to reorient our life in four ways.
First, and as briefly described, we try to live a sustainable daily life. We still have much to do; for instance we are considering making our own hygiene and cleaning products from natural resources; we contemplate getting into alternative and sustainable sources of energy; I’d like to make our own furnitures at some point, etc. As you see, we still have a lot to do… Your support – advices, recommendations – are then most welcome. Sustainability however, is not only material. It’s also very much human…
Indeed, and that’s the second point, there is no point of living in a greenhouse if you don’t have harmonious relations with people – family, friends, neighbours and strangers alike. This then requires a dose of self-awareness and daily effort to overcome selfishness, laziness and be more accepting of the ‘other’, whoever he/she is.
Third, and from a more intellectual point of view, we are also interested by better contributing to the evolution of our societies toward a sustainable social organisation. Given recurrent social turmoil, income disparities, poverty, high level of low level racism, ecological current and future damages, stakeholders’ interests driven by profit rather than meaningful actions, etc, we are wondering what macroeconomic and social organisation would we want to live in – and push for. The three main ‘ism’ of the 20th century (communism/socialism; capitalism/liberalism; fascism) have all failed to provide us with a socially and ecologically sustainable framework. So, what do we want instead? And how to organise a transition towards it? In all cases, and given the many dire predictions regarding the state of our planet, we’d better hurry up…
Fourth, and to remain coherent, we want to have sources of income that respect our values. While I’m likely to continue working with charities, it is likely that CJG will reorient her career out of the private sector – but towards what? No certainties yet.
Anyway, let’s put an end to this long post, hoping that is has clearly explained what do we mean by ‘ecosophy’. We’d be curious to hear whether you share questions similar to ours, and what sort of life are you living!