RECOGNIZING the inherent Buddha-nature of rocks and clouds is not that hard—many acknowledge this in principle. Liberal thinkers admit most animals and plants and even microbes to the select company of sentient beings. Rocks and clouds are beginning to be accepted, too, as part of the “natural living world,” i.e., the world that existed before mankind brought civilization out of his brain and spread it across the landscape. But recognizing this prized quality of aliveness in technology, in human/machine interaction, and in abstract symbolic systems is something else again. Buddha-nature in nuclear bombs? In computer systems, in our urban networks, in the workings of pure mathematics? No one in the environmental world seems willing to go that far; only cyberpunks and techno-futurists have such thoughts, and they are generally dismissed as frivolous by us serious, “nature”-loving Deep Ecologists. We Buddhists, and Muirists, and Thoreauists.

Today’s Deep Ecology seems to regard technology as an evil force, something alien to the natural world, loosed by almost-divine mistake on this planet. These new energies are not regarded as legitimate expressions of sentience, universal life force, nor are they granted the respect that we accord to “natural processes”; rather they are seen as something wrong, something to be controlled and repressed. Deep Ecologists show the same fear and loathing toward today’s out-of-control technology as humans have had—until just recently—toward uncontrolled Nature, with her savage wastelands. Just as we waged war in the nineteenth century on wilderness, environmentalists today long to conquer technology, to subdue and control it.

Such a dualistic view of the world, neatly partitioned into good, pure nature and bad, aggressive technology, does not lead to a complete relationship with everything that is. It perpetuates the same kind of good guy/bad guy scenarios we have always indulged in, and leaves a bad taste, especially since the bad guys seem to be winning. Why not take Deep Ecology all the way to the heart of what is really wild on this planet: why not embrace as sacred Everything That Moves, just as we do in a wilderness system? Since everything that exists moves, we’d be done with all this picking and choosing, worry and strife. We’d have ready-made, flawless, sacred outlook.

Rocky Mountain Arsenal—Nerve Gas Factory, 1992

The Deep Ecology Establishment

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