22 December 2008
For those who no longer sign up to the official Christian faith this time of year can be rather tiresome. The desperation of prelates has reached such a pitch that they will resort to almost anything to fill their churches. A few years ago I went to a service where the vicar was performing a conjuring trick on the high altar with a children's ball and three plastic buckets.
But there is something at the heart of the myth of Christmas that can speak to green economics. This is the myth of God made flesh. It seems to me that this is an attempt to explore the tension that we feel between our spiritual and corporeal being. Something that sets green economics apart from other variants is its willingness to encompass the spiritual. The ecofeminists suggest that re-embedding ourselves in our bodies and in our environment is the first step on a journey that leads to living in harmony.
It is a commonplace of green critiques that the dualism between mind and matter that is usually attributed to Descartes is one of the sources of our current predicament. We call instead for holism--for the reuniting of man and woman, of spirit and flesh, or people and planet. Our spirit is not a ghost in the machine of our body; neither are we born of the stars and destined to return there. If we could learn to celebrate our fleshly inheritance and our earthly destiny we might make a better fist of our short span on earth.
Obscene over-consumption is no more acceptable than hair-shirt asceticism: what we should seek instead is balance and integration. The sort of integration we need is not the sort we learned in maths classes but the bringing together of all aspects of ourselves. There's a challenge for 2009! Tweet