Where there is no vision, the people perish.
-- Proverbs 29:18
For most life forms there is no need for “vision” in
the philosophical sense. The credo need only be “just live!” That
is, the drive to life (wherever that gene may be located) is strong
indeed and has no need for conscious visioning. However for people,
we strange and deeply self-conscious beings faced with the prospect
of decay and mortality, there often comes a vexing question, “why
live?” Because this is not answerable through pure reason there
lurks the dangerous prospect of answering “there is no reason to
This can be fatal, for one and all. Hence the perennial reminder
and question about meaning: we need meaning if we are to choose life
during its difficult passages.
Hence, the proverb about vision: we need vision to weave meaning with conscious
efforts and actions that we may persist as a people. But is any old blueprint
we ascribe as meaningful enough?
A great change in our stewardship of the earth and the life
on it is required, if vast human misery is to be avoided and our
global home on this planet is not to be irretrievably mutilated.
-- World Scientists’ Warning to Humanity. 1992
At this stage the visions holding sway in dominant societies are
not sufficient. Humanity is a huge organic culture made up of billions
of hot-blooded animals streaming around the planet, converting untold
tons of materials and other life into its web. We are fabulously
successful. But now we are bumping into biophysical limits and the Warning
to Humanity asks us to face our collective biology in a way
never done before. It is an open question whether our aggregate demands
and urges can be sufficiently shifted away from this current path
of self-destruction. It will take more than reason! It will take
some vision with some metal:
It is better to ignore life altogether than to place too great
an importance on it.
-- Lao Tzu
Nevertheless, and even without the apparent global crisis besetting
humanity (and much of life’s spectrum), we at Ecovisions believe
there will always be the need to share stories about the human condition within the
environment that sustains us. Stories are how visions are shared.
With accounts of joy and pain, harmony and discord, mystery and myriad
other dimensions of our being, they assist the living on their organic
path, with the result -- one might hope-- that