Interview by Ria
What a beautiful woodland opening, so full of life. Thanks for inviting me here Geronimo, I mean…?
Spring Azure. Is there a story behind the name?
It’s appropriate for Anthropocene humans shifting nature awareness approach from human-centric (e.g., knowing every part of Cattails serves a human function – food, shelter, medicine, fire, baskets, cordage, season & conditions indication, etc.), to Earth-centric (knowing Nettle hosts a wide number of insect species, and may facilitate preference for native butterflies, playing a role in reviving lost habitat communities via transplanting Nettle rhizomes).
In my reincarnated human body I strive to understand deep hominid origins. Spring Azure Butterfly lives in a habitat most resembling earliest human ancestors’. Wooded edges provided both protection (with primeval hominids’ agility in climbing and sleeping in trees) and opportunities of 2 ecosystems (forest and meadow). Pleasingly, Spring Azure feasts on dogwoods, cranberries and blueberries, colorful fall bushes… But I digress.
You stated the purpose of this interview is discussion on violence – nature, justification, role, ethical cultural boundary contrasts, perspective critique, etc. In my new roles as Forest Steward, Redwood Sitter and Earth Liberation Front Mate, I see even more clearly Homo sapiens’ violence on all life, ecosystems and Earth. These nonhuman entities have rights violated by our evolution into a violently destructive species, aggressively colonized outside our ecological niche.
To address the questions at hand, violence is dispensed and judged by modern humans with profound bias. Violence is sometimes a moral duty, a burden to be carefully considered, with Anthropocentric justice giving primary consideration to Earth, such as the violence of removing invasives to rewild. All people have a duty to play a role in liberating Earth, and in so doing liberate themselves. Obliviousness to one’s duty or Earth-harming violence does not excuse one of responsibility for it. In the Anthropocene particular lack of actions and culturally accepted actions are not deemed violent but in actuality are most violent to Earth.
Not rewilding (native habitat revival through seed dispersal, live staking, invasive removal, etc.) while lockstep marching the mantra of working/shopping/breeding domesticated beings (humans, pets, ‘food’ animals). Entangled within Antrhopocentric cultures are Earth-devastating, all-pervading myths – for example the myth of ‘owning’, and relatedly, ‘private property’ and ‘private enterprise’.
Your talk is so… straightforward. I expected your talk more in wilderness allegory.
To avoid appearing as stereotypical ‘noble savage’, I refrain from incorporating that talking style into my new being. Perhaps out of deep desire to reconnect with nature, domesticated humans are fascinated by native storytelling. Many elevate me to hero. I now wish to be an Anthropocene Earth hero, a rewilder. Many today would be disgusted to learn regretful hushed native history of stealing from and murdering innocents, or enslaving. But how many see malice in natives spearing whales, cutting throats of ‘cattle’, de-wilding and binding horses, burning large swaths of old growth forests for planting and better hunting – succinctly, overpowering animals and plants to satisfy human wishes, nonetheless within the milieu of other species’ habitat? Is it true that justice, wisdom and power are the pillars of good life? Is it contrary or an expanded notion that liberation is not knowledge, or fairness, or freedom to follow one’s heart, or pathway to equal power, but liberation is simply life for all, absent all forms of human bondage?
On my death bed I was Christian, yet still regretted surrendering into bondage, wished I’d fought to the very end. My look back into our hominid history reveals intricate missteps blighting human evolution. Have you heard of the “6 Evolutionary Tragedies” that sparked the Anthropocene?
Not at all.
Some of this may sound familiar, but with an Anthropocentric perspective.
First, from folio-frugivore ways of our earliest ancestors, to consumers of animal flesh. From prey to predator. From acceptance of natural fate to overriding fate at any cost. Hence EGOTISM & GLUTTONY.
Second, from egalitarianism to hierarchal authoritarian bureaucracy. From selflessness and collaboration to profit motive exploitation, primarily beginning with the advent of mass agriculture. Imagine the agricultural destruction power scheme to feed human fervor for animal flesh. Hence ENVY & GREED.
Third, from contented with gradual changes and savoring simple ways, to creating and relishing crafty objects, regardless of consequence. Hence INVENTIVENESS & TECHNOLOGY.
Fourth, from heartily living presently to divided time, ‘dead time’, and belief in mysticism. Hence SLOTH & FAITH.
Fifth, from accepting balance and unbalance, to internalizing and externalizing ways of control through normative and wrathful violence. Hence RESENTMENT & VENGEANCE.
Sixth, from embracing the free world, to seeking refuge from it, finding comfort in unthinking, ‘civilizing’, subjugating customs. Hence APATHY & TRADITION.
Again I digress. My considerations as Geronimo focused on the higher path for my people with Earth, but now I intuit the higher path for all Earth with greater clarity. As our species acquired modern knowledge and ways, our free animal knowledge and ways slipped away. Either way, with knowledge comes responsibility. Would mindful Anthropocenians agree that violence is justified insofar as it erases modern humans’ domineering footsteps? Would ‘no’ mean accepting continuance along this fatal path of humans eating, ‘developing’, overbreeding, etc. Earth to death?
Most may agree with rationality that when no nonviolent means are available to reach a vital end, strategic violence with high impact and minimal harm is worthwhile, even obligatory. But what I see most clearly is – here I’ll give you a bit of wilderness metaphor – our collective tribe is walking Earth on a path straight over a cliff. The trail is lined in virtually impenetrable thicket. If there is a choice at all, all focus must be on the path we forge, which will certainly include violence of some form, whether justified or not, that must manifest to repeal the ultimate violent demise, Earth’s 6th great extinction, by emancipating Earth from humans’ grip and beginning restorative healing.
On that, we’re at our word limit. Thank you for your candor.
Ria’s book comes out this October.