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September 25, 2013 / V A Nichols

Challenging the Dominant Paradigm



Commentary by Captain Paul Watson

It is a law of nature that for every action there must be an equal reaction. This is true of social reform also. One cannot expect to foment social change without reaction. To act is to cause others to react. If you do nothing there will be no reaction at all but paradigms are not shifted without action, and paradigms are never shifted easily or quickly.

The dominant paradigm of our world at present is anthropocentrism. It is the belief that all of reality centers around the species homo sapien. It is the philosophy that forms the foundation of human dominance over nature and of other species.

It is both an arrogant and an ignorant philosophy although it is difficult to see it that way within the framework of a society that views it’s relationship to other species from a position of total and complete dominance.

It is a relatively new belief system that imposed itself over the last 10,000 years over indigenous views of biocentrism, the idea that humans are a part of the whole, equal to other species.

Anthropocentrism is a powerful belief system and it is in fact the dominant religion of humankind. All established “religions” are merely expressions of anthropocentrism because almost all human religions place humans at the center of creation or the center of importance and all modern human religions separate humanity from the rest of the living world.

For this reason any challenge to the dominant worldview must have a reaction and that reaction will express itself in criticism that ranges from the verbal and published academic views to the verbal and physically hateful, and the spectrum of that reaction is determined by the intelligence of the individuals responding.

An intelligent advocate of anthropocentrism will respond with a reasoned argument as a defensive position whereas a less intelligent person will respond with bias, fear, hate, and anger.

It is constructive to enter into debate with an intelligent critic but there is nothing to be gained by debating or even recognizing a less intelligent critic.

For the latter it is a complete waste of time to react and there is no need to react. When we challenge the dominant paradigm we must anticipate the reaction and thus be on guard for physical attacks or attacks that undermine our freedom. However empty rhetoric can be ignored and dismissed.

During the course of any campaign, the ignorant critics will fade away if ignored. The intelligent critics provide a useful purpose in helping to establish a framework for the understanding of biocentrism amongst the anthropocentric community.

Bias, fear, hate and anger should always be met by a stone wall of silence.

If you challenge the dominant paradigm you must expect a spectrum of reaction. The challenge elicits a reaction but there is no need to respond to the reaction. The reaction is the response, and it is by nature, defensive.

The advocate of biocentrism must always be on the offensive and never defensive and thus the advocates of the dominant paradigm should be forced into defending their unnatural belief system. The biocentric paradigm never needs to be defended for it is the natural order of things, governed by the laws of physics and ecology.

One of the reasons that Green is now the new Red is that environmentalism and animal rights are both extremely powerful biocentric values that are being accepted and even embraced by a growing number of people and as such both ideas are increasingly becoming threatening.

This is why animal rights and environmental activists are considered to be a greater threat than religious or political activists.

An anthropocentric of the Christian faith has more in common with, and thus understands the anthropocentric of the Muslim faith. They may be in violent opposition over theological views but they still have a mutual value system. Both however view the biocentric as a threat to their shared anthropocentric values.

And now we have the bizarre categorization of environmentalists being pirates with Sea Shepherd being labeled as pirates by a U.S. Court for opposing illegal whaling and Greenpeace branded as pirates by the Russians for opposing the environmental destruction of the Arctic Ocean.

The dominant paradigm of anthropocentrism will hurl accusations at biocentrics like spears, with names like eco-terrorists, militants, pirates, radicals, extremists.

Never mind that there has never been a single case of a person being injured by an environmentalist or an animal rights activist or that the people making these accusations are advocates of destruction. Within an anthropocentric system controlled by anthropocentric media, nonviolence is viewed as violent and violence is viewed as nonviolent and thus a violent response to opposing views, be they anthropocentric or biocentric is always justified. The burning of the witches in Europe was not questioned at the time because the witches represented what the anthropocentrics considered violence by their existence alone. The slogan was “never suffer a witch to live”, for her very existence was a threat to their worldview. The same holds true for anyone today who dares to equate nature with the dominant mythology of humanity.

Opposing logging, fishing, whaling, sealing or oil drilling is to cast yourself into the role of modern day witches inviting angry mobs threatened by ideas they find alienating.

I recently read an editorial in the Australian newspaper The Telegraph that accused Sea Shepherd of being a violent organization that should be “destroyed’” and that the Japanese should sink our ships with everyone onboard. Why? Because we are “violent”

This “violence” has nothing to do with causing injury or death nor even property damage because no one has been hurt and property has not been damaged. What they view as “violence” is simply the nature of our thoughts and views, the threat we pose by the philosophy we espouse.

Thus advocating the death of non-violent activists is considered a justified and socially acceptable position.

The Russians have even accused Greenpeace of being an environmental threat to the Arctic because they opposed oil drilling in the Arctic.

Anthropocentrism can be defined as the ecological insanity of humanity.

Challenging, opposing and defeating a powerful social paradigm takes incredible patience. A belief system held together by mass collective psychosis is a powerful social force.

What is amazing is the incredible progress made over the last four decades. Four decades ago no one knew what a vegan was, global warming was unheard of and hunting, pollution and clear-cut logging were not things that provoked controversy.

We cannot expect the pillars of anthropocentrism to be knocked down over night but we are making progress, and ideas like deep ecology and rights for animals and legal standing for wilderness are now ideas gaining more and more advocates every year.

The four virtues needed to overcome the dominant paradigm are 1. Patience. 2. Imagination. 3. Passion. 4. Courage.

To be a biocentric is to accept the reality of the continuum of life and that each of us swim within that continuum for a finite time, yet we are all a part of something much bigger than ourselves as a species, and that is we are a part of a complex web of diversity that allows for the continuation of life on this planet.

It is an understanding that all species are interconnected and that this inter-connectiveness is the foundation for biodiversity and biodiversity allows for the continuation of interdependence.

As this acceptance becomes more prevalent there will be an increase in the strength of opposition to the destructive homocentric behaviors. More and more people will stand up to the Goliaths of Doom, those who profit from destruction. Green politics will become stronger, activism will be more and more successful and what is now considered extremism in thought and action will become mainstream.

I believe in the power of movements and I believe in the power of ideas to empower movements and I have seen the emergence of a powerful movement over the last four decades that gets stronger each year and that movement is the resurrection of biocentrism and the growing evolution in the understanding of deep ecology.

(emphasis added)


One Comment

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  1. Arlene Steinberg / Sep 25 2013 3:11 PM

    BRILLIANT. This man will go down in history as one of the great heros of the animal activist and paradigm reformer movement.

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