Renewing the Balance

 

In Renewing the Balance, Dirk Dunbar shows how the balance revered in ancient Earth wisdom traditions is being integrated into Western culture’s dominantly masculine, rational value system. Dunbar unveils his theory while exploring three sequential paradigms.

The first, Earth wisdom, is exemplified by the Chinese concepts yin and yang, the Native-American worship of nature’s cycles, and the relationships between sky and earth gods of India and Greece. Each expression captures Earth wisdom’s primary decree: the dynamic balance of nature’s polarities is healthy and the static imbalance is unhealthy. The second, the West’s reason-as-virtue paradigm, has—despite its vital impact on the evolution of world culture and consciousness—misplaced the balance venerated in Earth wisdom. Empowered by Logos, Greek philosophy trumped paganism with reason and Christian theology turned earth divinities into evil personae while elevating a masculine sky god and ordaining nature the Devil’s realm. Sanctioned by logic, scientific expertise has deemed proof, progress, and technology as pinnacles of human purpose. Besides denigrating nature, instinct, and the feminine, Western culture’s abandonment of Earth wisdom for salvation theology and “value free” propositions abetted current crises of perception, witnessed by obsessive consumerism, cancer, pollution, oppressive social hierarchies, and environmental psychosis.

The third or ecocentric paradigm was built on a massive awareness of those crises. Seeded largely by movements of the 1960s, this awareness is helping redefine and heal relationships between genders, races, nations, and humans and other species. Beginning with African-Americans, Indians, women, and students, the voices and visions of the counterculture turned the protests into a revolution. As the alternative ideology gathered new voices and spread from deep ecologists and ecofeminists to Greens, the rights revolution embraced nonhumans, ecosystems, and the planet as a whole. It also fused goals and messages of Romantic and Beat writers, Rock artists, and filmmakers. The same Zeitgeist spurred the “greening” of physics, psychology, and Christianity, and is fostering changes in health care and education—all of which is being driven by a feminine, ecological impulse that seeks to re-balance the patriarchal value system that has ruled the West for over two-and-a-half millennia.

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