It seems to me there are two fundamental ways to view the world. The first is that we, humanity, are part of the world, and that all life and our environment are bestowed by our Creator with those basic, inalienable rights, so eloquently described by Jefferson, to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The second view holds that we, humanity, are separate and apart from other species and our environment, and that the world and its inhabitants are here solely for our use and entertainment.
The latter view got me thinking, "where have I heard this before?" Oh, yes — the Christian concept of Lucifer. The story goes that Lucifer was once an archangel; God's loyal right-hand man. Then he declared himself separate and apart from God, and fell from grace to eternal banishment in the fiery recesses of Dante's dungeons.
When we despoil our environment and its inhabitants by cutting down too many old trees, by loading the air, earth and water with chemicals and poisons, by eating animals, and by using animals for experimentation and entertainment, Lucifer smiles. When we are silent in the face of such oppression, Lucifer positively beams.
A city councilor recently and derisively used the term "treehuggers" to refer to the growing number of citizens in our city bearing witness, with pity, sorrow and anger, to the reckless cutting of old trees. As a "treehugger" myself, I feel sorry not just for the trees, but for this councilor, as his comments are suggestive of a world view which is insular, instead of expansive; oppressive, instead of tender; arrogant, instead of egalitarian.
The devil's modus operandi, his signature at the crime scenes — and they are many — is oppression, insularity, and arrogance. To do his work, he needs human tools. With our dual capacity, we choose, every day, and in many ways, whether to be the devil's agent, or instead, an instrument of peace.
You shall know them by their deeds.
Let us all choose peace.
Betsy Wosko is a Lake Oswego resident.
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