Pierre Rabhi: Ecology: we are all interdependent

- through Fabrice Groult

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Ecology demonstrates on a daily basis the importance of consciously living the fact that we are all linked and interdependent, as Buddhism has taught for millennia. This gives us duties and a universal responsibility, because shared by all, with regard to the living and the planet. In the second part of this interview, Pierre Rabhi discusses his vision of ecology and the necessary raising of consciousness that it induces.

You who were one of the pioneers of ecology in France, how do you view the awareness on the subject today?

I'm not for awareness, I'm for consciousness raising. Awareness suggests the idea of ​​electricity – as if it sufficed to plug in somewhere to have an awareness… The challenge is the elevation of consciousness, the clarity that is put in us and the reception given to it. It is the spirit and the divine, because the divine is in everything, omnipresent. It is in all of us, if only in our own physiologies. The body itself, when we observe its functioning, is eminently intelligent: how we function, speak, eat… It is magical that a biological body is invested with such intelligence. There is intelligence in everything in nature: the way the plant or the tree grows is divine. But today, we no longer have any understanding of all that. It is moreover the tragedy of modern civilization that our body is still attached to all of life, to the earth which nourishes us, to the air, etc.

Do you thus call for a return of the sacred in our lives to better defend the environment?

The tree in front of us is sacred, in the sense that it is the emanation of life itself. What is sacred is life. We always keep saying “us and the rest”, but that's not it: a journalist who investigates water, she investigates herself, since we are water. Humans are the last to come the phenomenon of life which preceded us by billions of years – we are the last two minutes in 24 hour history. We call ourselves the best. Today, the sacred, I find it much more in the speech of the Indian chief who says: " The earth does not belong to us, we belong to it, stop reversing things ».

This refers to the principle of humility, which you often recall shares the same etymology as the term humanity...

“Humus”, “humanity”, “humility” share the same etymology. Humus is the rebound of life. Nature knows how to recycle everything, it even seems that it checks that everything it produces is recyclable. Each “waste” it produces enters the cycle of rebound: in the forest, the tree grows, the leaves fall, and when they fall to the ground, they are transformed and become the humus that gives life back. This is the principle that Lavoisier described very well: nothing is lost, nothing is created, everything is transformed. And life has been able to maintain itself because it has, each time, recycled everything it has produced. This is the general law of nature itself: everything it produces enters the cycle of dynamics, with a logic of durability and continuity. Whereas the human being, he entered the cycle of dissipation when he arrived: he is in the process of falsifying and destroying, because he is in the exploitation rather than in the foil. We are destroying the resources of a marvelous planet, by dissipation.

Hence the idea of ​​happy sobriety that you have developed throughout your life?

Initially, we spoke of decrease to denounce infinite growth, which is stupid. But it's a very scientific and very economical approach, it didn't make sense. The term “happy sobriety” introduces a counterpart. Because we are in overabundance, but unhappy: we realize that with the " always more », we are not always happier, we are even less happy… There is a mistake somewhere. What is the use of consuming anxiolytics, entertainment, etc.? ? We are not in the cult of satisfaction, on the contrary, we have exacerbated the frustration. We are entering a system that includes non-satisfaction as an economic dynamic. It's quite perverse.

How did we get here ?

Modern society has put humans "above ground". They are locked in a few square meters, with some trees around, but there is no life. Life is in nature, but humans have been confined out of life. But when you are out of life, the way of thinking adjusts to that. Hence the proliferation of screens, which is quite contradictory by the way: the screen is the one that separates, but which today claims to unite. On the train, no one next to me talks to each other anymore because everyone is equipped with communication tools… Traditionally, the train was a place of conviviality, but now it's impossible to say a word to each other. We no longer talk to each other because we have communication tools. It's a drama.

"Contrary to nature, the human being entered the cycle of dissipation when he arrived: he is falsifying and destroying, because he is exploiting rather than doing it. -to be worth. »

How tragic it is to put such young children in front of a screen: initiation into life is concrete initiation. It goes through natural reality, children must know how to use their hands rather than simply having fingers that know how to type on their keyboard. The progressive distancing from the sources of life, from what determines it, is what creates a society above ground and a damaged nature. That's why you have to make your garden, to reconnect with the source of life itself and its values. It is when we have a problem to feed ourselves that we will realize what is necessary compared to what is superfluous.

What do the youth movements that are currently developing inspire you?

With all due respect, this is a second best. Because ecology must be a conscience above all. I must be aware that everything is important, like this tree, and that my life, I owe it to life. The tragedy is that we have chosen a completely materialist ideology and that to correct it, we are doing ecology. Whereas in fact, what is urgent is to educate the child as soon as possible in life. I dream of a teaching where there is a part of abstraction, but also a garden so that the children see the miracle of life, and a manual workshop so that they develop their manual faculty.

“We are not in the cult of satisfaction, on the contrary, we have exacerbated the frustration. We are entering a system that includes non-satisfaction as an economic dynamic. It's quite perverse. »

Today, we are installed in the disempowerment: it is the fault of such and such, of the government, of the other, etc. We are always looking for a responsible and a culprit outside of ourselves. And this is where we come back to this necessity on which we also insist buddhism , this is the famous Know thyself engraved on the temple of Delphi. That's where everything else comes from: do I choose good or evil? How am I manipulated? Do I want to get rich, be a star? Me, the little that I know, I will dedicate it to beauty and to life, to respect. For me, that's ecology: dedicating the best of ourselves to life itself. We don't pollute the water, the air, we don't put poisons in the ground, we don't do all this damage... Today, we are in the process of genociding future generations, since we are undermining all the foundations of life. And that's why you have to move towards more love: cultivating love leads to respect for life. It's not just human love, it's a larger energy that you have to be receptive to and that will make me love everything around me, the tree, the animal, etc. Life is so precious: nothing is due to us.

photo of author

Fabrice Groult

Fabrice Groult is an adventurer, photographer and Buddhist who has traveled the world since a young age. After studying Buddhism in India, he embarked on an eighteen-month journey through Asia that took him to the Himalayas, where he discovered his passion for photography. Since then, he has traveled the world capturing images of Buddhist beauty and wisdom. He was a guide for ten years, and is now a journalist with Buddhist News.

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