Hori Parata, New Zealand’s Maori Whale Whisperer: “As more whales beach and die – from exhaustion, heat stroke or seagulls feasting on their flesh – an acute sense of grief is growing among New Zealand’s indigenous people, who regard whales as their ancestors and taonga (treasures). These days it is like a zoo. People just want to come and gawk at us, without even trying to understand what is happening with the animals and the environment”
To get out of the existential crisis that Western Civilisation has led us to, we must put aside the mindset that characterises Western Civilisation and its technological might, and learn from the knowledge that is encoded in the worldviews of the First Nation’s peoples.
THIS SHOULD BE THE MAIN TASK OF ANY DEGREE IN WESTERN CIVILISATION AT A MODERN UNIVERSITY
We modern people (and that now includes all who have been educated and indoctrinated in the worldview of modernity in the universities of the West) must learn how to challenge our intellectual and cultural mindset that goes back to Greek Philosophy and its glorification of intellectual rationality, separate from nature. This was reinforced by the story of Genesis that ‘created man in God’s image’ and gave ‘man dominion over the Earth and all its creatures’. It was intensified and glorified through the Scientific Revolution, which remade the world into a mathematical machine whose laws could be laid bare by science and used to create technologies to exploit and control the Earth and all its creatures for the comforts of ‘man’. Under the logic of global techno-capitalism that celebrates greed and exploitation as ‘business best practice’—whether it is the oil-gas-coal mining industrial oligarchs, or the new platform capitalist oligarchs of Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Google, Alibaba, Huawei and others—we are rapidly approaching an existential crisis for humanity and our precious planet Earth, and all its marvellous creatures and plants. We have raped the land, the ocean, the waterways, the forests. Now we are raping our minds and bodies through the feedback loops of social media, climate heating, obesity and desertification.
We think we love whales and dolphins. We crowd scenic natural areas for our must have selfie. But it is the same mindset of ‘take, take, take’ devoid of respect and care.