From the Quotation of the day mailing list, 2009-09-10:
"In any case, it is not clear that by becoming more mystical or religious about nature one necessarily overcomes the damaging forms of separation or loss of concern which have been the consequence of a secular and instrumental rationality. What is really needed, one might argue, is not so much new forms of awe and reverence for nature, but rather to extend to it some of the more painful forms of concern we have for ourselves. The sense of rupture and distance which has been encouraged by secular rationality may be better overcome, not by worshipping this nature that is 'other' to humanity, but through a process of re-sensitization to our combined separation from it and dependence upon it. We need, in other words, to feel something of the anxiety and pain we experience in our relations with other human beings in virtue of the necessity of death, loss and separation. We are inevitably compromised in our dealings with nature in the sense that we cannot hope to live in the world without distraining on its resources, without bringing preferences to it which are shaped by our own concerns and conceptions of worth, and hence without establishing a certain structure of priorities in regard to its use. Nor can we even begin to reconsider the ways in which we have been too non-chalant and callous in our attitudes to other life-forms, except in the light of a certain privileging of our own sense of identity and value. All the same, we can certainly be more or less aware of the compromise, more or less pained by it, and more or less sensitive to the patterning of the bonds and separations which it imposes." -- Kate Soper in her essay "Nature/'nature'", from FutureNatural: Nature, science, culture (1996).
submitted to the mailing list by Gregory Foster)