The Sacred in Antiquity and the New Sacred Consciousness
Robert Karp, Executive Director of the Biodynamic Farming and Gardening Association (https://www.biodynamics.com) in an article in RSF Quarterly (Fall 2013) eloquently describes the innate, sacred consciousness of ancient peoples towards agriculture and all of life. They felt themselves both part of spirit and part of the earth.
The Loss of the Sacred
He then refers to Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925) who inspired the biodynamic movement and indicated that human beings had to move from their sense of unity with all things spiritual, to discover the physical laws of nature and modern technology in order to gain for themselves their sense of unique individualism and independence from nature.
The Former Healthy Age of Materialism Has Long Passed!
Karp points out the present dark side of materialism, especially evident in agriculture:
- Confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs)
- Genetically engineered plants and animals (GMOs)
all of which "betray a consciousness completely devoid of any remaining sense of the spiritual dignity of organisms, creatures, and species."
A New Awakening
Karp says, "In the depths of the crisis brought on by these destructive trends, a new, individualized, eco-spiritual consciousness of the world is emerging." As evidence he cites:
- 1960s--Growth of the ecological movement
- 1970s--Appearance of the health food movement
- 1980s--Dynamism of the environmental movement
- 1990s--Organic farming movement
- 2000--The local food movement
The New Consciousness of the Sacred
"This new consciousness of the sacred," Karp says, "is not the same as that possessed by ancient cultures. This awakening is not embedded in hierarchical, collective religious practices or cultural norms, but rather has emerged as a natural extension of healthy scientific inquiry and in the context of a cosmopolitan confluence of diverse philosophical perspectives and cultural traditions.
"This new sense of the sacred is thus rooted in and sustained by a contemporary sense of individuality and freedom of thought." Karp sums up his thought with this quote by Wendell Berry:
To live, we must daily break the body and spill the blood of Creation.
When we do this knowingly, lovingly, skillfully, reverently, it is a sacrament.
When we do it ignorantly, greedily, clumsily, destructively, it is a desecration.
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