EcoTerrorism & Expanding Circles

There is a case coming up locally on “ecoterrorism”, and it is pretty nasty in terms of what I – and many – see as an over reaction to quite innocent actions. None were hurt, there was only some equipment damaged.

Through a spiral dynamics filter, it seems (to me) that the whole ecoterrorism situation comes from unhealthy green rubbing up against unhealthy orange. If green was more healthy, it would be less likely to engage in actions which could be labeled “terrorism”. And if orange was more healthy, it would take it in stride, use the regular legal system in a regular way, and not label it “terrorism”.

Human history seems to be a progression of expansion of our circle of concern, care and compassion. For a long time, the idea of equality among the ethnic groups were seen as ridiculous, while today it is taken for granted. And we see the same pattern in many areas, including slavery, democracy, women’s right to vote, universal human rights and so on. Those who were once excluded from the circle of care later became included. What was once seen as absurd and ridiculous was later taken for granted. And those working for these changes went from being seen as dangerous lunatics and terrorists to heroes.

In the near future, it is likely that our view becomes even more deeply life-centered. Even within current lifetimes, we may see our circle of concern expand to include all life, to be more deeply bio-centric. And this will gradually be reflected in all areas of our culture and society, including law, education, business, science, technology, industry, psychology, spirituality, health and medicine.

The reason for this shift will have little to do with altruism or noble-mindedness, and far more to do with self-interest and a realization that our own survival depends on it. When we act out of a worldview that excludes the wider circles of life from concern, we destroy our own life-support system. Realizing this nudges the edges of our circle of concern outwards. We see more clearly that the health and well-being of (global, regional and local) ecosystems and ourselves as society and individuals are intimately intertwined and ultimately one. It is just two aspects of the same process. In recognizing this intimacy, our sense of “we” naturally expands to include all of life.

So it is likely that future generations will see the desperation behind the current ecoterrorism acts, and recognize it as understandable although slightly unhealthy. At the same time, there is likely to be a deep appreciation for the intention behind these actions, the courage required, and a view of these people as heroes and – in a certain way – willing martyrs for the emerging bio-centric view.

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