Tải bản đầy đủ - 0trang
Man and Nature: A Part or Apart
The one fundamental idea that we must strive to unburden ourselves of is
that we are meant to understand and with it the notion that we can. We may
increase our scientific facts and data, but we will never fully comprehend the
knowledge that what we seek. We must begin to see ourselves as belonging
spiritually to nature and seeing nature as the place where all aspects of life—
ethical, practical, emotional, cultural, and spiritual—as well as death occur.
Through poetry humanity can find itself reconnected to the rhythms of nature
capable of moving with the world, its ebb and flow and constant flux, without
losing respect for community or sight of oneself; capable of confronting the
“mortal dangers” of the world and loving “with abandon.”
While many disciplines, to varying degrees, can help reroute our understanding of our place in nature poetry can bring together the multiplicity of differing
cosmologies and ethics by linking them in two specific ways. “One is in seeing nature as a metaphor—a steppingstone to the divine; the other is seeing
nature as a matrix—a meeting place for the divine. In both of these perspectives nature is valued and cherished.”32 A new or renewed understanding of
our relationship to the world would imbue it with new meaning. An infusion of
new meaning into our relationship with nature would translate into an infusion
of meaning into our own lives because “unless an act or an occupation is suffused with meaning, constantly and indivisibly meaningful, it is meaningless.
It is not possible to work at meaningless work, and then go home or to church
or to a museum and experience meaning.”33 Because it is nearly impossible to
imagine a world where human consciousness has been reintegrated into nature
as an active meaningful participant a balance between the two camps is necessary to secure the maintenance and flourishing of both humans and the natural
world without which all is in jeopardy.
4. T H E R E C O N N E C T E D P O E T I C S E L F
Allow me to shift my focus for a moment away from the poetic and talk about
Graffiti. Graffiti has not always been compulsion but has always been a form of
expression.34 Graffiti is probably as old as prostitution, politics, and gambling.
The one key difference between the latter three and the former is that graffiti
never caught on as a professional pursuit. Most likely because it is incredibly personal in a way that even prostitution cannot claim to be. Graffiti has
been carried across the globe wherever humans have traveled, settled, or adventured. It can be found with relative ease from Mesopotamia to Metropolitan
New York from city parks to national parks and everywhere in between. As
Wendell Berry points out “there are no unsacred places; there are only sacred
places and desecrated places.”35 However, what was once a small token left
N AT U R E , S P I R I T, A N D T H E C O N V E R G E N C E
behind to mark one’s passing through, a goal achieved, or love consecrated or
lost has now become an unseemly blight. It may seem odd at this point in a
paper on the intersections of Christian and Islamic ecology and poetry to be
discussing graffiti but hopefully it will become clear that this is precisely the
most logical place to begin the conclusion since graffiti is, first and foremost,
the art of self-destruction.
Graffiti is a self-destructive behavior that begins in loss and we have lost
something very important in our secular, technological, fast-paced world.
Graffiti is the mark of someone searching, desperate to find his or her place
in the world and the meaning behind it. Why else should someone destroy
his community? Sully nature? Bring ruin and ugliness to the world we all
share? It is more than having lost our moral bearings because if that were it
then we could correct it through the dissemination of the best ethical works
available. Unfortunately, the problem is bigger than such a simple solution precisely because morally chastising each other only works when we can expect
each other to respond in a way similar to ourselves. This response can only
be expected if we share the same personal commitments to our past, present,
and future, by having a similarly developed sense of belonging to something
larger and more important than one’s “self” as we have come to understand that
concept through the lens of rugged individualism. What I mean is that saving
ourselves, indeed, saving the world will require more than just a simple ethics
or a profound one.
As hypocrisy and superstition are rooted out and exposed in our religious
traditions, as secularism and scientific advances take root and fill the void, as
greed and profit-margins guide moral decision making we are more and more
cut-off from our spiritual health, our spiritual connection to others, the environment, and our place in the world. Poets, poetry, and poems can bring us
back to an orientation to the cosmos and our role in it. If religion or some other
discipline could accomplish this alone we would not need the poetic with such
urgency; but in the event religion, politics, education, or any other attempt cannot we can always find the spiritual by turning to the poetic to create a place
where humans “recognizing the limitations of phenomenal reality, undertake
specific practices to effect self-transformation and community cohesion within
a cosmological context.”36
We have at our disposal a sound environmental ethic (and, arguably, more
than one), we have leadership committed to finding new and better ways to
produce capital and utilize the environment, we have religious leaders pushing for increased awareness of ecological destruction, but what we no longer
have is an inward spiritual awareness of our place in the world. These three
things, the environment, our communities, and our spiritual well being, have
been ripped apart, disconnected from each other, separated into categories, and
given specific functions in our daily lives. It is, as I have argued, poetry that
can play the role of bridging these three key aspects of our daily lives. Poetry
is as personal as graffiti but done well poetry, unlike graffiti, can allow us to
see the world through others eyes, it can touch our souls and move us in ways
that other activities cannot. Most importantly poetry can be a shared experience
across cultures, generations, and epochs and in that sharing, I believe, we can
find a way to reconnect to our communities, the land, and ourselves. We must
not forget that “All men are brothers, as we like to say, half-wishing sometimes
in secret that it were not true. But perhaps it is true. And is the evolutionary
line from protozoan to Spinoza any less certain? That also may be true. We are
obliged, therefore, to spread the news, painful and bitter though it may be for
some to hear, that all living things on earth are kindred.”37
5. C O N C L U S I O N S
In this paper I have attempted to draw conclusions from both Christian and
Islamic traditions to demonstrate how closely related their ecological projects
are to one another in explaining the convergence of the ecological and religious world. I used the poetry of these two traditions to highlight the parallels
between them and show them as working to establish the same understanding
of our relationship to nature. But my attempts here are merely a feeble first
step on a long journey of reconciliation, tolerance, and mutual understanding
that must occur before a serious inter-religious and intercultural effort to preserve the planet can be undertaken. My argument is that while we work toward
that goal poets can bring us together and help act as a catalyst for more rapid
individual awareness and appreciation. The importance of poetry is that it can
help to alter attitudes, increase awareness, and broaden our understanding and
acceptance of others especially when considering that we need “to make distinctions between human need and greed, between the use and abuse of nature,
and between intrinsic value and instrumental value of nature. We need to move
from destructive to constructive modes of production, and from the accumulation of goods to the appreciation of the common good.”38 So, to offer one final
insight into how we are to accomplish this I would like to offer once more the
wisdom of Rumi,
This is how a human being can change:
There’s a worm addicted to eating
Suddenly, he wakes up,
call it Grace, whatever, something
N AT U R E , S P I R I T, A N D T H E C O N V E R G E N C E
wakes him, and he’s no longer
He’s the entire vineyard,
and the orchard too, the fruit, the trunks,
a growing wisdom and joy
that doesn’t need
Acknowledgements I would like to thank Gary Deaton, Josh Horn, Marshall Jolly, and Clint
Morris for their comments on an earlier draft of this paper. Also, I would like to thank the
participants of the 2009 conference hosted by the Center for the Promotion of Cross Cultural
Understanding for their comments and suggestions on an earlier draft of this essay. Finally,
thanks to my family for making space in their lives for me to pursue both the poetry and the
philosophy necessary to write this essay.
University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY, USA
Tucker (2001), 8.
Tucker (2001), 2.
Barks (2004), “Only Breath,” 32.
Excerpted from an untitled poem reprinted in Fernea and Bezirgan, 291.
All uses of Rumi’s poetry are taken from translations rendered by Dr. Coleman Barks. While
Dr. Barks humbly admits that he is no scholar of Rumi merely a lover of his poetry I find his
translations to be passionate and colorful, written with great intensity and respect for his subject,
but above all, I find them to be accessible. For a more scholarly take on Rumi see A.J. Arberry,
Reynold Nicholson, M.G. Gupta, and John Moyne. Additionally, Rumi gave only one name to the
collection of his works, Mathnawi, rather than individual titles for each poem. Hence, in my paper
when I use a title it is the title under which it appears in the corresponding Barks text; titles which
Dr. Barks has chosen and which make referencing the poems themselves much easier.
10 Barks (2000), “A Spider Playing in the House,” 55.
11 Berry (2008), “Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front,” 12.
12 Barks (1990), “The Pear Tree,” 82.
13 Felstiner, 19.
14 See also Qur’an 3: 83 and 41: 11. Additionally, see Parvez Manzoor’s essay “Nature and
Culture: An Islamic Perspective.” in Nature Across Cultures.
15 Foltz et al., 8.
16 Berry (1998), “1988 Sabbath Poem #2,” 98.
17 Felstiner, 2.
18 We ought to remember here that there are Biblical examples of a similar relationship between
God and words. For instance, “In the Beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and
the Word was God (John 1:1).
Wilson and Pourjavady, 5.
Leax, John, “Thirst,” Tending the Garden, 132.
Berry (1998), “1990 Sabbath Poem #3,” 118.
Berry (1970), 35.
Barks (2004), “The Grasses,” 43. Emphasis in the original.
For instance, Hagar and Ishmael are given water by God in a wilderness, Moses encounters God
as the Hebrews wander toward Canaan, Elijah first hears the call to serve God, Isaiah cries out to
God in a wilderness preparing the way for the Messiah, and Jesus resists temptation in a wilderness.
Additionally, in order to literally prepare the way for Jesus, John the Baptist not only takes to the
wilderness but becomes one with it eating locusts and wild honey and dressing as one totally reliant
on wilderness must. His rise as a prophet precedes, predicts, and is a prerequisite to Jesus ministry
and John’s assassination precedes Jesus’ crucifixion. Without wilderness, in short, there would be
no salvation. Where these events happen are not “woods” or “forest” or “meadows” or “glades”
they are wild places. See Felstiner, 20. I am also indebted to Gary Deaton for his insights into this
relationship between the wilderness and the divine.
27 Berry (1970), 41.
28 Felstiner, 5.
29 Berry (1970), 53.
30 Ibrahim Ozdemir in Foltz et al., 10.
31 Barks (2004), 252.
32 Tucker, in Nature Across Cultures, 116.
33 Berry (1970), 37.
34 To be sure graffiti has a storied history and its history includes, as an important form of
expression, links to the poetic both as a means of self affirmation and as social protest. However,
my focus here is on the destructive side of graffiti that plagues modern society as a means of
lashing out against the inevitable loss of the individual in the urban. For more on the loss of the
individual see Edward Abbey “Desert Solitaire.” For more on graffiti as a form of expression see
Saul Williams “The Dead Emcee Scrolls.”
35 Berry (2005), 18.
36 Tucker (2001), 14.
37 Abbey, 25. Emphasis added.
38 Tucker (2001), 20.
39 Barks (1990), 127.
Abbey, Edward. Desert Solitaire. New York: Ballantine Books, 1968.
Banani, Amin, Richard Houannisian, and Georges Sabagh, eds. Poetry and Mysticism in Islam:
The Heritage of Rumi. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994.
Barks, Coleman. Delicious Laughter: Rambunctious Teaching Stories from the Mathnawi. Athens,
GA: Maypop Books, 1990.
Barks, Coleman. Feeling the Shoulder of the Lion: Poetry and Teaching Stories of Rumi. Boston:
Barks, Coleman. The Essential Rumi. New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 2004.
Barks, Coleman. The Soul of Rumi. New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 2001.
N AT U R E , S P I R I T, A N D T H E C O N V E R G E N C E
Benthall, Jonathan. “The Greening of Islam.” Anthropology Today, vol. 19, no. 6 (Dec., 2003):
Berry, Wendell. A Continuous Harmony. Washington, D.C.: Shoemaker and Hoard, 1970.
Berry, Wendell. A Timbered Choir. New York: CounterPoint Press, 1998.
Berry, Wendell. Given. Washington, D.C.: Shoemaker and Hoard, 2005a.
Berry, Wendell. Standing By Words. Washington, D.C.: Shoemaker and Hoard, 2005b.
Berry, Wendell. The Mad Farmer Poems. New York: CounterPoint Press, 2008.
Emerson, Ralph Waldo. The Spiritual Emerson. ed. David Robinson. Boston: Beacon Press, 2003.
Ernst, Carl. The Shambhala Guide to Sufism. Boston: Shambhala Press, 1997.
Farrukhzad, Furugh. “Modern Iranian Poet.” Elizabeth Warnock Fernea and Basima Qattan
Bezirgan, 1977, 290–317.
Felstiner, John. Can Poetry Save the Earth? New Haven: Yale University Press, 2009.
Fernea, Elizabeth Warnock and Basima Qattan Bezirgan, eds. Middle Eastern Muslim Women
Speak. Austin, TX: University of Texas Press, 1977.
Foltz, Richard C., Frederick M. Denny, and Azizan Baharuddin, eds. Islam and Ecology.
Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2003.
The Glorious Koran. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1992.
The Holy Bible: New International Version. East Brunswick, NJ: International Bible Society, 1984.
Leax, John. “Thirst.” Tending the Garden: Essays on the Gospel and the Earth. ed. Wesley
Granberg-Michaelson. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1987,
Leopold, Aldo. A Sand County Almanac. New York: Oxford University Press, 1968.
Lodge, David M. and Christopher Hamlin, eds. Religion and the New Ecology. Notre Dame, IN:
University of Notre Dame Press, 2006.
Manzoor, Parvez. “Nature and Culture: An Islamic Perspective.” Nature Across Cultures. ed.
Helaine Selin. Boston: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 2003, 421–432.
Ozdemir, Ibrahim. “Toward and Understanding of Environmental Ethics from a Qur’anic
Perspective.” Islam and Ecology. eds. Richard C. Foltz et al. Cambridge, MA: Harrard
University Press, 2003, 3–37.
Scigaj, Leonard. Sustainable Poetry: Four American Poets. Lexington, KY: The University Press
of Kentucky, 1999.
Selin, Helaine, ed. Nature Across Cultures. Boston: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 2003.
Rifkin, Libbie. “Review: Good Nature: Bridging Ecology, Poetry, and Community.” Contemporary
Literature, vol. 45, no. 3 (Autumn, 2004): 557–562.
Tucker, Mary Evelyn. “Worldviews and Ecology: The Interaction of Cosmology and Cultivation.”
Nature Across Cultures. ed. Helaine Selin. Boston: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 2003,
Tucker, Mary Evelyn and John A. Grim. “Introduction: The Emerging Alliance of World Religions
and Ecology.” Daedalus, vol. 130, no. 4 (Fall, 2001): 1–22.
Whitman, Walt. Leaves of Grass. New York: Barnes and Noble Books, 1993.
Wilson, Peter Lamborn and Nasrollah Pourjavady. eds. The Drunken Universe: An Anthology of
Persian Sufi Poetry. Grand Rapids, MI: Phanes Press, 1987.
J A D H AT E M
LA CHAIR LUCIDE
Je voudrais, comme le Christ, condamner
le soleil à donner des yeux aux aveugles.
Mais où puiser encore du soleil? Sa
blondeur s’est volatilisée par les voies
Non qu’il se soit excessivement prodigué!
Avec grande douceur et pauvreté les
astres morts en sucent la moelle sans besoin
d’enfoncer des crocs.
L’âme que j’avais cru inexpugnable
engloutit son propre commencement
Lorsqu’elle se montre sans préavis au
miroir de l’extase.
Tendre ventre d’une plaie à vif, je te
saurai gré de me dire
De quel indissoluble enchnement se
Qui se montre à moi dans le giron et le
demeurent dans le vieux levain du rêve de
Mais la tâche leur est impartie, trop vaste
pour elles, comme une innocence d’univers,
De multiplier les embrasures par-delà tout
Et de disséminer les clignotements de
l’âme en ses ulcérations.
A-T. Tymieniecka (ed.), Sharing Poetic Expressions, 209–211.
DOI 10.1007/978-94-007-0760-3_17, C Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011
J A D H AT E M
Qui donc est le Nom pour avoir
éclaboussé la charpente des cieux?
En la boucle de ses chemins et jusque
dans la lassitude
Écartelée, l’homme aux outrages se passe
l’âme sur le visage,
Onguent qui charme l’essence et la
réciprocité des transparences.
Je voudrais, comme le Christ, ntre
d’une chair lucide,
Iriser mon aile par-dessus le tourment de
Comment mieux qu’en épiant les yeux
revenus à la vie
Recueillir les éclats perdus depuis la
fondation du monde?
Que dans la déroute de mon cœur qui
s’est hasardé en rase campagne
Ils s’unissent coupe de cristal par cela que
À toute folie dormante qui verse à la soif
le rouge vif
D’un silence prédit! Je dérive en terre
Rêvant des hautes demeures où le soleil
se damne de toucher
L’émail du Glacier céleste. Tu as rêvé de
Que la lumière emprunte pour revenir
dans l’œil du temps,
L’indomptable, non celui qui se laisse
Voici que je t’offre la fleur de l’éclair
comme se laisse
D’un coup d’aile glisser sur son erre la
nef qui fut clair de lune.
Ainsi que la Cité sylvestre, je me drape en
Seuil de fiancement des guérisons.
Ô yeux braisés, je vous palpe comme