What's the better way of seeing things? White says: Animism, pan-psychism--in the Christian form that's culturally accessible to us. White likes St. Francis:
All Praise be yours, my Lord, through Sister MoonPretty, no? A nice poem for Earth Day. I wonder, though, what happens when people get serious about their animism, instead of just deploying it as a metaphor. It's harmless enough to think of the moon as alive, and as your sister. If we thought of earth as mother, we might be more protective of her. But animists think everything is really animated. Like the volcano with the most unpronounceable name--
and the stars; in the heavens you have made them,
bright, and precious, and fair.
All praise be yours, my Lord,
through Brothers wind and air, and fair and stormy,
all the weather's moods,
by which you cherish all that you have made.
All praise be yours, my Lord, through Sister Water,
so useful, humble, precious and pure.
All praise be yours, my Lord, through Brother Fire,
through whom you brighten up the night.
How beautiful is he, how cheerful!
Full of power and strength.
All praise be yours, my Lord, through our Sister
Mother Earth, who sustains us and governs us,
and produces various fruits with colored flowers and herbs.
If we thought "Eyja" was Sister Eyja, I think we'd have to wonder what she was so mad about. Since we can't possibly find out, we'd be free to project anything we liked onto her fiery volcanic mind. Perhaps what would soothe her is for 1000 Tea Party members to be thrown in her craw. Others would say she's only hungry for one tall, dark, and handsome American president.
Oh come on, it's just a volcano. Volcanoes aren't people. The world is not imbued, through and through, with mentality. We don't need to live in fear of what volcanoes want from us. There is a related attitude, though, that isn't daft at all. Nature is awesome, intricate, beautiful, worthy of respect. Which means we ought to be doing a great deal differently.
Today's a good day to listen to the Coldplay song "Don't Panic"--because we do live in a beautiful world.