Friday, 22 October 2010

The Kumar at the UoG

Satish Kumar came to the University of Gloucestershire this afternoon for what he called a fireside chat: no open log fire there, unlike at Dartington Hall - though plenty of fire in the belly.

"My pet theme is about soil, soul and society - a new Trinity for the age of ecology." It avoids, he said, the dualism of the Christian Trinity; the anthropocentricity of the American life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, and the all too personal "mind, body and spirit".

We are not separate from nature: we are nature, that is "to be born". What we do to nature, we do to ourselves: there can be no healthy society on a sick planet. From one, bitter-tasting pip, the apple tree grows, yielding year after year an abundant harvest, not discriminating between those who enjoy its fruit, whether they be saints, sinners - or grubs.

A body without a soul is only good to be buried. We need to put the soul back into society, for its well-being. You can be rich and not be well - and many of us are exactly that. Without beauty, the soul will starve.

"I'm going to Pakistan," Satish told a fellow-Indian. "Take some food with you," came back the advice. "No, I am foremost, not an Indian, but a member of the earth community. Your parcels of food are parcels of mistrust."

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