As If - The Josephine Porter Institute

As If

One of the most useful ways to think of something is as if. 

We don't have to accept that the farm literally is an "organism" but it is quite useful to think of the farm as if it is a living organism. Think of a prize dairy cow, if you think of her as a living feeling creature, you are rather more likely to treat her kindly.

As it says in Proverbs 12:10, "A righteous man has regard for the life of his beast, but the mercy of the wicked is cruel." 

How much more so for the farm? If we imagine that the farm is just an inert field of dead dirt, we aren't likely to be sensitive to its living needs the way we might be for a cow. But if we approach the farm as if it is a living organism just as much as a cow is, we are far more likely to tend it with the proper care. We can appreciate an object, but can we really love an object? Without the living soul quality, is there any obligation demanded by an object? Maybe we treasure the object out of nostalgia -- perhaps an ancestor gave it to us or it is a familiar trinket from out childhood. This reverence, though, is not really for the dead object itself but for the relationship to the soul of the memories of which it is a symbol.

If we treat the farm as if it is alive and has its own wishes, likes and dislikes, and, perhaps, even that it feels pleasure and pain, might we not treat it better? How else can we humane stewards of the Earth?

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