Sun, 07 March 2021




Notes, traces and stories of deep ecology, bioregionalism and lay spirituality

Casette arroccate
Bioregionalism is an embodiment of deep ecology. In the sense that deep ecology analyzes the functioning of vital and geomorphological components and bioregionalism recognizes the territorial areas in which these components are manifested.

To give a concrete example: the general functioning of the living organism is understood through the recognition and study of its vital functions and the ways in which these functions are manifested and bioregionalism identifies the specific organs that provide for this functioning and the correlations between the organism and the set of the organs that compose it, describing its characteristics and their participation in the global functioning. So there is absolutely no difference between deep ecology and bioregionalism, there are only two ways, two in-depth analysis, to understand and describe the life event.

In the following path I have included as a third component element "the observer", that is the Intelligence Consciousness that animates the cognitive process. That is the observational ability and the stimulus of research and understanding of life that analyzes itself. This process of self-knowledge, of course, is also an integral part of the individuation process carried out in deep ecology and bioregionalism. Sometimes this intrinsic intelligence in life is also called "Biospirituality" - And what is meant by biospirituality? Biospirituality is the expression, the subtle odor, the intrinsic message that transpires from the whole material. The feeling of constant undivided presence .. the awareness of the indivisibility of life, recognizable in all its forms and components, starting from the perceiving "subject". "Supreme" knowledge means being aware that everything "is" is as such. Because the existent is one, there can be no "other" ...

Another important aspect of the discourse is that of Solidarity to the Whole (rather than Human) to reveal a less anthropocentric vision, more focused on respect for the One and Many that surrounds us and in which we are.

In the discourse of ecology must also be included that of Biopolitics to convey a message that Politics must always be inserted in Bios, that is to say in Life, which is something that belongs not only to man. And then the Participatory Economy, since the economy must return to being a measure of the real things and not of the subliminal markets of stock exchanges and speculators, and we must return to become active users again (here is the sense of Participation) of this medium of exchange that it's ours.

I remember a proverb that the old peasants of Calcata quoted me: "the best is the enemy of the good". And it is just so, striding and trying to improve ourselves in the eyes of the world we cannot perceive the good that is already in us. And in the end what does it mean to be perfect? Simply being what one is without hesitation or regret, without seeking the approval of someone, because if we are what we are obviously competing for. From this comes spontaneity and naturalness.

Otherwise it is human society, in its entirety as a species, which is falling apart, because it cannot function as a mechanism, it is not made up of simple gears and numbers (of distinct races). But everyone must follow their own "personal equation". The truth, in our age, CANNOT triumph. It is therefore that I limit myself to speaking of testimony ....

Meditation in progress on Deep Ecology, Bioregionalism, Lay and Spiritual Semantic Spirituality

Trying to give a consistent explanation of the concepts related to neologisms - such as: bioregionalism, deep ecology, secular spirituality - we have to resort to semantics and glottology, since there is no neologism that does not find its origin in other similar words. Perhaps it would not even be necessary to find new terms if the original word, possibly combined with an adjective, could give a sense of what one wants to describe.

For example, using the neologism "bioregionalism" evokes an even more reductive image of the real meaning that is implied by this word. Since the identification of a "bioregional" area does not exclusively take into account the living but the inorganic, morphological, geographical, geological set of the chosen territory, including - obviously - the botanical and zoological elements that thrive there. In short, the homogeneity of the area examined and defined "bioregion" is examined and a slight dividing line is drawn (not dividing) to identify the "boundaries". It goes without saying that these boundaries are simply theoretical, since the bioregional organism of the Earth is indeed an indivisible whole. By analogy we could define the bioregions as the organs of the Earth organism.

Going forward in the original meaning of the word "ecology", with respect to its similar "environmentalism" a difference of understanding has already been outlined, even if the exact translation of "ecology" is "study of the environment". While in "environmentalism" the criterion of simple conservation is assumed. When the adjective "deep" is added to the term "ecology", here we tend to expand the original meaning by integrating the concept of further research into the environmental structure. In short, the substrate is discovered and not only the surface, the skin of the environment is observed.

The same applies to the word spirituality and its "lay" qualification. In this case we try to give a "free" connotation to spirituality commonly understood as an expression of religion. Spirituality is the intelligence consciousness that pervades life, it is its scent, and it is absolutely not a result of religion, indeed religion often tends to clip and hide this "natural" spirituality present in all things.

I find this discourse on the value of language and the recognition and legitimization of its path in history, extremely cogent and useful to the environmentalist cause - I recognize "ecologist" since it does not seem to me a diminutive term unless we want to make words a term of comparison for our personal ideas - glottology, and above all the ability to evoke concepts through words and to clarify their meaning - has nothing to do - according to me - with discussions on the thread of goat wool, whether or not these themes come into the ecological strand "of the deep". In fact we cannot go back to a "founder" (understood as the inventor of the neologism used) of the bioregional practice, of deep ecology or of secular spirituality. As these terms describe something that has always existed.

Glottology and semantics have the right to enter into the ecological discourse, above all to clarify the actions connected to ecology, deep ecology, and so to speak. However, these concepts are not new to man and neologisms are often used , to do a favor to the policy of copy right, and it is only a concession to "politics", precisely.

Deep ecology is a fact, a reality, and cannot be described in philosophical terms unless we abstract from the context of ecology itself. Living in the facts and not loving the dialectical diatribes but loving to say "bread to the bread and wine to the wine" I must confess you that I don't like feeling restricted in any context. I don't like labels I don't like any moral, political, ideological or religious coercion. If you want to make deep ecology a basis for expressing the norms of a "new religion" with a lot of priests entitled to interpretation and complete with a bible decided by the wise, I disagree. Not that with this I intend to abandon the deep ecology, which is the sincere and honest practice of my entire existence, I simply dissociate myself from the ranks of those who believe that they are repositories of the "rules" of deep ecology and feel that they want to impose them on others as a legislative code.

The times of intellectual dictatorships are concluded, at least for me, and therefore precise for the umpteenth time: the Italian Bioregional Network, for the implementation of deep ecology, bioregionalism and secular spirituality and for harmonious living, loving kindness and solidarity on Earth, it is not simply a label but a description of a way of life in our society and in nature. Network meetings are therefore occasions for collegial sharing of feeling and daily practice, in the convivial and simple spirit of bringing friends and brothers together.

The bioregional and ecological soul of living forms, the sense of identity and wisdom.

For several years I have arrived at the observation that bioregionalism and deep ecology are two aspects of the same idea, two faces.

Bioregionalism deals with the identification of the geographical and biosystemic organs of the earth, while deep ecology deduces functional mechanisms, understanding their inter-connections and mutual dependencies. This is fine to explain the material and organic aspects of the life system but in this description I have always felt the lack of the transcendent, or spiritual aspect. In fact, consciousness cannot be explained only in terms of physical consequentiality, it must - and certainly has - its own nature and reality. And this is demonstrated by the fact that the observed cannot be separated from the observer, the image can never replace the substance.

The psychic aspect is not enough to complete the picture of life giving it a wholeness. Therefore in search of a common matrix, in its own right and at the same time all-encompassing, I asked myself and investigated the nature of the questioner. I called this reflecting on reflection: Lay Spirituality.

Lay Spirituality is a neologism, as Bioregionalism and Deep Ecology itself did not exist as an all-encompassing concept of self-perception until one day, several years ago (it was about 1996), it was coined by the friend journalist Antonello Palieri.

It happened during a meeting at the Vegetarian Circle of Calcata, we talked about bioregionalism and deep ecology and we tried to identify a descriptive way for the "spiritual" aspect. I had suggested the word "spirituality of nature" (also referring to the place so named that I had dedicated to meditation and reflection on natural life: the temple of the Spirituality of Nature). But as we progressed in the expression of the concepts and realities connected to this natural spirituality we realized that the conceptual physiognomy of human reasoning was lacking, which could intellectually qualify the cognitive process of consciousness, in spiritual terms.

What we wanted to describe is the sense of natural spirituality, inherent in man as in every other creature and thing. A spirituality that predates religion and ideology and that in any case integrates the speculative capacity of the mind in describing its abstract functions, but recognizing the subtle aura that permeates all things and the mind itself.

In short, the man had to stay in it like nature, so Antonello suggested: "In short, we could call it a secular spirituality ..." ... And the term immediately awakened in me and in the present an innate and direct understanding. Yes this spirituality is surely "secular", since it does not belong to the world of religion, of every religion and of every theism or atheism, but it belongs directly and incontestably to each of us. By inserting in that "we" every sentient being and every organic and inorganic component.

Thus, Lay Spirituality was born as a noun, as a name.

But a name is only a name and cannot replace the being that is thus evoked. In fact, as we say water or water or eau in various languages, the substance indicated does not change. I became aware of it later when, deepening my research on the roots of deep ecology and bioregionalism and secular spirituality, I discovered that these concepts were clearly expressed in various cultures. They were present in the Matristic civilization of the Neolithic, they were identified in the Nondual philosophy of India and in Chinese Taoism. In short - it is obvious - it cannot be the use of a neologism to sanctify a pre-existing process.

With these premises I would like to indicate here some "practical" aspects of the so-called "lay spirituality", aspects that concern the sharing in vital and social processes. Obviously the acceptance of such a spirituality implies the non-diversifying interference with the natural processes of life, on the contrary it implies a conscious accompaniment of the growth processes that life manifests. In fact, the scientific and religious tendency to keep things under control gives rise to a society that is schematized in pre-established models, established by law. This coercive attitude hinders the spontaneous evolution of the human spirit and even productive work towards material well-being. We observe it with the proliferation of bureaucratization in which the registration becomes more important than the action itself.

However in the current anxiety concerning overpopulation, pollution, ecological imbalance and potential and real disasters caused by wars and the plundering of the planet's resources, it is only rarely recognized that the system of governance, the method of control, is the very matrix of self-destruction we are facing. The first assumption of this debacle is the consideration that one can no longer trust a natural and spontaneous human ability to conform to nature, always assuming that "control" over nature and over man must be the only method of operation. As long as we continue to make use of physical strength (science) and morality (religion) to try to better the world (and ourselves) we will nullify every natural push for intelligent recognition of the vital trend. It will lack the common sense of the little things that matter compared to the gigantic self-created problems in the society of economic and consumer welfare.

In short, we must take the first step towards ourselves, beyond the social context or the ideology in which we believe, focusing our attention on the things that can be done, for ourselves and by ourselves, in the immediate present.

To begin with, we place trust in our innate personal abilities to recognize ourselves in the great expression of existence. This does not mean abandonment of the community, indeed such an awareness corresponds to the rediscovery of the values of the community, values based on one's own self-responsibility towards ourselves -in primis- and subsequently towards our fellow-men (the living ones in their totality). to). This cannot be a sentimental attitude, but an operational, organic, definitive and total attitude. Including the various plans of the vital trend without exclusion of ways and without excesses.

Here I also speak of "human generosity" as the Taoists and also the Confucians and Buddhists call it in China, a generosity that is not mere "benevolence" (or non-violence) but the suitable expression of one's human nature, including capacity ( or courage) to show opposition to the abuse and exploitation of the paradigm of deep ecology, bioregionalism and secular spirituality. As the "substance" cannot be "description" and the theoretical sum can not overcome the practice.

Deep ecology as a dream and as a practice

As we have seen, strictly speaking, from a finality point of view, secular spirituality and deep ecology sink their existence into consciousness. Man has questioned himself about the forces of nature and life and this questioning has produced spirituality, deep ecology is a deepening in a material sense of this research. Both approaches start from the existing, from the way we perceive ourselves and the reality that surrounds us, the first is an approach in a metaphysical sense while the second examines the physical but there is no difference between the two aspects if not in the descriptive way.

In deep ecology as in natural spirituality, a 'quid' is implied which imbues the plots of life. This "quid" has been described as the source of all things, regardless of calling it "spirit" or "life force". From the initial questioning we have reached all the Gnostic philosophies, the religions of the East as well as the great monotheistic religions in which, albeit with different angles, praising the great mystery of life, this is also the need for ecology which it always takes into account the delicate balance of all the vital manifestations. I have often found myself describing the need for spiritual manifestation of man as the birth of the first virtualization.

In fact, through thought and intellectual speculation virtuality, imagining, true presupposition on the basis of a thought (of a belief) arose and this projection, a specific human 'vis', is perhaps also present in the rest of the living, who knows? For example, in the theories of karma the individual life of beings is described as an evolutionary path that starts from a spark of intelligence that then differs in a myriad of forms, sometimes opposed, which are however closely connected to each other and in continuous ascent towards the same purpose. A unity that has never failed even during the so-called "karmic path" but because of the illusion, or the virtuality of thought, it appears disjoint and imperfect (and therefore perfectible?). The deep ecology, from the material point of view, is a help to understand that in the general context of life there is no back or forward that is not strictly consequential, that does not share the same basic substance and therefore is impossible to split, on pain of the extinction of life itself.

And now a question: how would we live on this Earth if we all decided to retire to a hermitage, to return to the land as they say in the jargon, without immediately upsetting, definitively destroying, the already precarious balance of this planet? The Earth is now home to several billion people, mostly gathered in urban areas, it is true that several animal species are in sharp decline but on the contrary many of those domesticated by man (essentially for voluptuous or affective lacking purposes) outnumber the human beings themselves and like humans living in cities, they too are concentrated in large herds.

If each of us were to live in the countryside, imagining an egalitarian society, we would perhaps have no more than two hundred meters of land each without counting the desert areas, the glaciers, the high mountains, if we wanted to take with us also our "pets" we should divide that small space with dogs and cats, if we wanted to eat meat then we should further divide our house with sheep, cows, rabbits, pigs, etc. It is easy to imagine the crowd that would be created in our two hundred square meters of land, not only but how could we produce enough food for all the members of our own rural community in that small garden? It goes without saying that this type of choice is unthinkable for the mass as well, for other reasons even more serious, it is unthinkable that life can continue for a long time on the planet if we continue to exploit the resources to meet the needs of paroxysmal consumption of large agglomerations urban.

The lemmings, that people of rodents that in case of overcrowding periodically emigrate en masse, would already have embarked on their final journey (which as we all know ends up in the icy waters of the North Sea) to rebalance nature. In part, such self-destructive behavior is also happening in our society, with the increase in wars, suicides, perversions, stupidity. But it is still not enough to find that natural balance of survival and this is because mankind has the arrogance to consider itself a "superior" being to other species and therefore every solution must include the continuation of the game currently in program, namely fixity of our species as dominant.

But at this point I re-insert the concept of "natural or secular spirituality". To be sure, this spirituality cannot resemble a point in the previous religious spirituality but must necessarily take into account the vital context in itself, or ecology. An ecological spirituality in which imaginary goals are not pursued (paradises, hells, etc.) but in which we deal exclusively with the present state of existence. An individual becoming aware of how balance is possible in the context of life without believing that ours is a function of control, domination (or subjection to a hypothetical other divinity). Each of us should already face his own survival course already knowing that everything we steal today will surely have to be paid tomorrow, this in the case of surplus, while if our breathing, eating, living is part of the whole of life, to breathe, to eat of every other living being, we could finally enjoy life, without having to blame, without having to abandon our urbanized and strongly social way of life which - obviously - except for the famous rebalancing of which we have said, has contributed to the flowering of this beautiful species of ours.

In this phase of man's millennial history we have favored the secondary, the superfluous, to the detriment of the primary, that is food, water, air. It is important for us integrated human beings to analyze the reasons for this diversion. A diversion that was certainly necessary to discover the value of abstract theses such as art, writing, aesthetics, ethics, but which cannot continue to occupy all the possible space of our existence. For example, we must be aware of the effort and deep meaning inherent in the research and production of our daily food.

I now describe the historical excursus on our evolution. Human history is very simple and reflects the four fundamental changes of life. The man in his evolutionary race makes four seasonal jumps. At the beginning he sucks the milk, at the base of the milk there is the vegetable and the meat and this becomes his food, then further on there is the earth and here is the man who devours it but beyond the earth there is the spirit and man feeding on "spirit" completes another cycle of spiral on the scale of evolution.

This symbology can be translated as follows: milk represents the moment in which humanity is reverent towards the nurse, nature, who takes care of it and supports it in its womb (we could say that it corresponds to the moment of the "earthly paradise"); then the ability to sustain itself and to resort to appropriate technologies to obtain nourishment from oneself (corresponds to the moment of the patriarchal foundation) takes over; here is the moment of the maximum technological and social development in which man tends to devour, to consume, even the land that supports it (the moment of consumerist decadence and of religious scientific idolatry); finally comes the moment of undifferentiated consciousness, the man is touched by the "spirit" penetrates into it and finds its primitive unity (corresponds to the original quid, to the awareness of Self), the cycle is repeated step by step. It is evident that this historical moment is marked by a great jolt between the maximum of ideological or religious materialism to that of a return to non-dual awareness.

How can we deal with apparently diametrically opposed conditions or contingencies? First of all there is one thing to consider: the evolutionary thrust in man is not induced by mass ideologies, mass thinking only serves to maintain the psychophysical compactness of the species, the index of change is always and only represented by forms thought, pseudopods, which radiate towards possible evolutionary outlets, these pseudopods represent only a very small percentage of the mass, they are minorities. The two minorities currently in antithesis, in the "program" of the development of human intelligence, are represented on one side by the individual centralization of power (self-supporting ideological and economic lobbies) and on the other by a laddered network of small people who they emanate thought forms connected to the whole (a sort of universal syncretism).

These cycles or historical paths are manifested at the same time both during a single individual life and in seasons or historical waves, cosmic eras. It seems to me that this moment of transition, between one condition and another of the human, is dedicated to the destructive aspect of every superstructure of thought, a zeroing of the preconceived canons. In fact today, as never before, the drive towards the exit from the established schemes provokes a seismic mental state (psychic jolts) to the body-mass of humanity. It would be enough to know that, as happens in the realization process of the self, every single cell of the human social body must be touched and must be able to perceive individually the actual evolutionary possibility in progress.

And while the egocentric tendency acts on the mass with mechanisms of forced aggregation (see information standardization) on the contrary the "increase" of consciousness takes place on individual emotional levels. We must be aware of this when, as precursors, we propose a bioregional address that will certainly not be able to use the means of the counterpart but must still understand them organically and from there evolve. Only in this way can the sense of difference melt away and the consciousness can find its space again. The inside of man is still a whole world to be explored but also the exterior is equally infinite and unknowable. For this reason the middle way, moderation, is always proposed as the only possible way for the continuity of the species. Integral non-dual awareness does not divide. It is for this reason that in the ecology of the deep and in secular spirituality the story goes back to the Earth, listening to its message, thus arriving at that integration with it. Enjoying the silent joy of life, here and now. A joy that has no construct, no cause, no mechanism to satisfy, no possession, only is ... It's called existence.

But beware: this vision does not assume the return to primitivism but identifies the current conditions of the advanced society as the occasion for a rebalancing. The continuity of our society, as a human species, requires an evolutionary key, a global understanding, by which to open our minds to the awareness of sharing with the entire planet (perhaps it would be better to say with the universe) the experience life. This is the science of the inseparability of life. It follows that even the human economy can and must take into account this vision to start a technological progress that is not opposed but that is in tune with the vital processes.

Science and technology in every field of application will have to answer the question: "Is this ecologically and spiritually compatible?" Machinery, energy sources, the disposal of by-products, as well as socializing and culture, will have to be realized in terms of sustainability. If this stimulus manifests itself in the human mind, then a rapid process of industrial and agricultural reconversion and redevelopment will be necessary, which in itself will be able to sustain the economy. In fact the only "ecological reconversion" will favor the overcoming of the current state of "enpasse" giving great boost to the economic and social development. A great revolution involving our making peace with the planet and with the living beings that inhabit it.

Appendix of thoughts on the common heritage of Man-Nature-Animals

“Animals have feathers, horns, fangs or claws, they fly in heavenly skies or they crouch and run; we cannot exclude that they may have human intelligence ”.

When Huang-ti fought against Yen-ti in the Pan-ts'uan country side, he lined up bears, wolves, leopards, tigers, vultures, pheasants, hawks, sparrow-hawks and they were his standards. "

"Yao ordered K'uei to tune the music. When the jade instruments were hit, the animals would play and dance with the nine tunes of Shao. This demonstrates that with sound one can tame the animals ".

"I know intelligence is common to both animal and man. Of course in appearance and sound, animals are different from each other, but to communicate and understand each other exist? There is nothing that the wise did not know or which they never achieved to understand: that is why they were able to attract and tame animals."

"We know that the intelligence of animals is the same as the desire of live."

"In the most ancient times, animals lived together with man. When they started creating emperors and kings, they were frightened and drew away. "

(Lieh-tze, tanslated from the original Chinese by Giuseppe Tucci

Spiritual Aspects of Deep Ecology.

I can't give you my heart
and my soul,
because they are already Tue.
So, I brought you a mirror.
Look at me and remind me.


The spirituality of nature, or biospirituality, is one of the fundamental aspects of the new profound ecological awareness from and bioregional. But it must be said that the sacredness of creation is an aspect recognized also in various religious faiths, even in the Christian faith, above all in mysticism (both in the primitive one and in the Franciscan one) in which the custom of retreating into caves, woods and deserts prevails in close communion with the natural elements and with the animal world. In this way the beauty of creation and the greatness of the Creator are recognized.

Pagan aspects were present even in the Jewish religion, although sometimes condemned as for example the adoration of the sacred cow during the crossing of the Sinai, or recognized and belonging to the tradition as happened with the sect of the Essenes who lived in close symbiosis with nature and with its magical aspects, having also developed the ability to draw their nourishment from the desert, a great miracle this considering that they were even vegetarians.

Respect and adoration of nature, defined by the Catholic Church (a little disparagingly) "pantheism" is one of the stimuli that has always been present in man, among other things, this pantheistic sentiment is at the base of the evolutionary excursus of the species.

This reminds me of a story, which I often love to tell, about the origin of the human species. It is now certain that there was a "first woman", a primordial Eva. The analysis of the female genetic heritage present in the bones proves it unequivocally. I thus imagined a woman, the first woman, who having achieved self-awareness (the most obvious characteristic of intelligence) and having only "monkeys" (such were the males at that time) had to do a work of painstaking selection to decide with whom to mate in order to have the best chance of genetic transmission of that evolutionary aspect. And so it happened consequently in the following generations and it is in this way that slowly from the sorting in the coupling they have become important qualities such as: the sensitivity towards the habitat, the empathy, the patience, the adaptability and kindness of the male towards the offspring and the community, etc. etc. Benefits that led the species to the "intelligent" condition that we know (or we would know if an involutionary thrust had taken place in the meantime).

Unfortunately in this historical moment, following the abstraction from the vital context and the manifestation of spirituality in a metaphysical religious sense (projected to an afterlife and to a spirit separated from the matter) much of that respect (and consideration) towards nature and the environment and the community has been diminishing, to the point that virtualization is preferred instead of the sacredness lived in everyday life. And in this good part of the responsibility is to be charged to the monotheistic beliefs and to the new faith of materialistic consumerism. But what had been driven out of the door now comes back through the window, in fact science is rediscovering the myths, legends and divinities of nature describing them in the form of "archetypes".

At the beginning of human civilization, in the Paleolithic and Matristic Neolithic period, sacredness was embodied maximally in a feminine key, then with the recognition of the male function in procreation this sacredness assumed mixed male and female forms, later with the patriarchal monotheisms it was the male who it became preponderant. Now it is time to bring these energies back to their rightful place and on a total equal footing. Although already in an ancient civilization, the Vedic one, this parity had been indicated, as in the case of the denomination (masculine) "Surya" which indicates the identity of the sun as an entity, which is completed by the feminine aspect "Savitri "Which is the radiative capacity of solar energy. And we know that there is no difference between fire and the ability to burn its own.

But the biospiritual vein is also gaining strength in modern Catholic theology, especially through the push of Thomas Berry, who went so far as to affirm that the "passion of Christ" in this era is represented by Mother Earth raped and offended by an exploitation without limits .

"The objective universe has structure, is orderly and beautiful. Nobody can deny it. But structure and pattern, constraint and compulsion. My world is absolutely free; everything is self-determined. Therefore I keep saying that all happens by It is spontaneously and immediately, because of its timelessness. It is not in the future. It is * now * "(Nisargadatta Maharaj)

Excerpted from: "Riciclaggio della memoria - Notes, traces and stories on deep ecology, bioregionalism and lay spirituality" by Paolo D'Arpini


Date: 24 November 2020Author: Paolo D'Arpini
Credits Publisher: Paolo D’Arpini -


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