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Mary Evelyn Tucker: Reciprocity and Restraint

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That's an excellent question. I think the challenge, as we look back in various religious systems and cosmologies, is to identify patterns that are possible for our current situations. It's not to say that any one of these traditions is perfect--no. But it is the case that native peoples had a sense of limits and of limits in terms of taking the animal world for food or for clothing or fishing. There was sense you had to allow the fish to restore themselves--to spawn again. You had to respect the migrating patterns of caribou and so on. So there was this interaction with reciprocity and that deep sense of reciprocity is what we need to recover. Now I think it's not impossible to say that the sacramental tradition of many of the world's religions, for example in Christianity, the sacrament of giving thanks, a Eucharist, with bread and wine-- --the fruits and foods of the earth as it's actually spoken about in the mass-- --there's a tremendous sense there of gratitude for what has been planted --what has been grown with human hands. So the working with nature to offer food and the rituals around food that are in Judaism for sure--in Christianity and Islam-- are things that we can again bring forward. Where we have lost the sense of restraint-- I don't know completely that we can leave it at the feet of religions even though the sense for some of removing God from nature--certainly many people would say has de-sacralized the world and therefore opened it up for consumption and for abuse and for exploitation. There's some definite truth to that. But now we need to recalibrate that sensibility and say, "Well, the religions also had this sense of the sacred qualities in nature its self." Ritual practices were designed around harvest or around the planting of seeds, around water for the plants. In Shinto, you had this immense amount of rituals around rice planting. You see these rice rituals all across Asia. So these are rituals and practices that we need to need to bring back into focus for our modern period.

Video Details

Duration: 3 minutes and 9 seconds
Country: United States
Language: English
Genre: None
Views: 122
Posted by: global on Apr 14, 2009

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