“A human being is a part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feeling as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.”
― Albert Einstein
Is there an environmental “rape culture” in the United States? Yes, of course, there is. Most contemporary ecological problems, or “rape the land” mentality, is deeply rooted in Western patriarchal culture.
Rape (transitive verb) definition for this piece: 1a: (archaic) to seize and take away by force b:despoil 2: to commit rape on
It is the nature of a patriarchal society to dominate and control entities that exist outside of established rules of culture. And we all know who writes the rules – rules that automatically devalue everything perceived as “the other.” In other words, anything not white-heterosexual-male is categorized and marginalized without much thought by the powers that be.
Most of the myth and imagery of the goddess in nature (Mother Earth) as a source of power has been suppressed for centuries. Nature, women, religious, racial and ethnic minorities, indigenous cultures, and homosexuality all get lumped together in “the other” category. Rape culture is slave culture. And what is a slave if not “property,” a commodity to be bought and sold or destroyed if the owner so chooses.
The obvious challenge now is how best to overcome blatant, ubiquitous indifference to rape/slavery of land and men (men and women). Beyond a predictable, but small subset of empaths, will the light go on in time to arrest ecological rape before there’s no nature left?
These days we seem to be plugged into everything artificial. Huge problem. As we plug into more and more technological things – our extensions – the more disconnected from nature we become. The connections that maintain the web of life, the life-force energy that runs through everything, are breaking down. This weakens our relationships to each other.
Blind to our connection, we rush to cut down the forests, turn grasslands into deserts, mine the rock below, and frack everything from Oklahoma to Pennsylvania.
Native Americans tried to warn us. Destroying habitats of wild creatures eventually makes the world uninhabitable for man. We still don’t realize that the web of life has been damaged so much that we are feeling the impact.
Disconnected from the natural world, we have lost our ability of feeling empathy for what is going on. Our obsession with electronic connectivity substitutes reality with an artificial construct. We have been consumed by The Matrix.
The television bombards viewers with a repetitive pattern of flickering images, which creates a passive state quite like hypnosis. Within the first minute of television viewing, brain waves switch from predominantly beta waves – alert and conscious attention – to predominantly alpha waves, indicating an unfocused, receptive lack of attention. Our brain’s left hemisphere, the part that processes information logically and analytically, tunes out while the right hemisphere of the brain, which processes information emotionally and non-critically, is allowed to function freely. We do not consciously rationalize the information resonating within our unconscious. We become sitting ducks (slaves) to the messages being conveyed.
To regain connections lost, people will need to spend time in nature to truly feel it. Watching nature on an electronic devise just won’t cut it. The escape route from techno-slavery is out the back door and into natural surroundings. Leave the cell phone at home.
We Americans seem to be in the middle of a rapidly-evolving conversation concerning 21st-Century “rape culture.” Rape culture is a problem that most still pretend not to see. We can see ourselves as “victims” but not yet as slaves. Where it will end is anybody’s guess. However, one thing for sure is that the link between destruction of the environment and rape of women (and men), and other animals, is gradually becoming much more transparent. But like the iceberg, the enormity of the condition is still largely hidden from view. To free ourselves from our self-imposed prison, we must begin to investigate, explore, and experience reality. Step outside. Nature is all around us.