In a political system that is so polarized and seemingly rife with conflict between irreconcilable views, how do we make the best and most integrally-informed choices possible?
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About Jeff Salzman
Jeff Salzman worked with Ken Wilber for several years in building the Integral Institute. He is a co-founder of Boulder Integral, the first bricks-and-mortar venue dedicated to the development of integral consciousness. These days Jeff provides integrally-inspired commentary on politics and culture on Integral Life and The Daily Evolver.
About Corey deVos
Corey W. deVos is Editor-in-Chief of Integral Life, as well as Managing Editor of KenWilber.com. He has worked for Integral Institute/Integal Life since Spring of 2003, and has been a student of integral theory and practice since 1996. Corey is also a professional woodworker, and many of his artworks can be found in his VisionLogix art gallery.
Please consider a discussion of Thomas Berry’s ideas of addressing the rights of all living forms and recognizing the dark side of the US Constitution.
The following is a excerpt from http://www.centerforneweconomics.org/publications/lectures/berry/thomas/every-being-has-rights
“The Constitution of the United States represents the height of good aspects of the modern world, but it’s also a deadly document. Why? The difficulty with the Constitution is its self-reference regarding humans. In earlier times there would have been recognition of some transhuman context in which humans had responsibility. Now we simply refer to “we the people.” The only way to incorporate the needs of the environment is by amendment. An ideal document from my standpoint is the World Charter for Nature, passed by the United Nations General Assembly in 1982. It has an awareness of our responsibility for more than the human.
Throughout recent centuries the focus has been on humans and their gradual liberation from want, liberation in the political area from domination and from dictatorial government. The sustainability of the planet was not considered. When this nation was founded, as the heirs of such benefits humans were given the highest position they had ever held. The Constitution rescues us from the domination of monarchical government, but by rescuing us from that control it makes victims of everything nonhuman. That which is not human was given no protections, no rights. It is deadly to give humans such exaltation, such freedom to own property and do with it whatever they want. The government can’t stop them. Nothing can stop them.
It was also deadly when corporations were given the rights of individuals in 1886, making corporations free and protected in whatever they do. Much later, in 1970, the federal Environmental Protection Agency was established, but so many of its regulations to protect the environment have been taken to court, and the federal courts have declared them unconstitutional. The EPA cannot protect the environment. There was a forty-page document put out last year by the Natural Resources Defense Council called Hostile Environment or How the Federal Courts Are Ruining Your Water, Your Air, and Your Soil. It shows case by case by case that EPA regulations in critical matters are declared unconstitutional. We might conclude that environmental protection is unconstitutional per se.
We need a new approach to law. Toward this goal I called a group of people together to form a movement called A New Jurisprudence. We’ve had three annual meetings, the first one outside of Washington, the second in South Africa, and most recently in London, where our Secretariat is. We have representatives from England, Canada, Columbia, Brazil, India, the United States, and five African countries. Among them are Andrew Kimbrell [one of today’s speakers], Vandana Shiva, the famous Columbian ecologist Martin von Hildebrand, and his daughter.
I drew up ten propositions for A New Jurisprudence. And this is where the title of my lecture comes in: the first proposition is: Rights come with existence. That which confers existence confers rights. I am talking here about rights in a more cosmological sense, which presents a great difficulty in our civilization. We have no cosmology; we have science instead. Science is not cosmology. Just as with statistical economics, it doesn’t get you anywhere. The rights I mean are the right to be, the right to habitat, and the right to fulfill one’s role in the great community of existence. If human law does not respect these rights, then human law is destructive, as destructive as it has been.”
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