This morning Our World 2.0 posted an outstanding new article entitled, “Japan should look to satoyama and satoumi for inspiration“.
It is exciting and gratifying to see the concepts of satoyama and satoumi being highlighted for their potential to provide a sustainable, resilient, long-term basis for a rich and dynamic culture and thriving relationship with the natural world – not only for Japan’s rebuilding strategy but also for the world.
Japan is uniquely positioned to act as a “proof of concept” for other developed countries in finding ways to remember and draw into the present long forgotten ways of living in harmony with nature – and in the process reconnecting with those tangible and intangible qualities of interconnectedness that provide true meaning to our lives and nourish our parched spirits.
The spontaneous acts of compassion and service that arise in the immediate aftermath of great disruptions to our daily (and oft-separate) lives – from the simple act of opening one’s home to passersby walking home after the earthquake, to outpourings of love and concern from strangers across the world – are profound demonstrations that at our most human core, relationships of dependence and interdependence are natural and understood, particularly by the heart. And now increasingly by science. Across disciplines – from ecology to economics, quantum physics to the social sciences – diverse examples of connection and community are rapidly becoming recognized, and valued.
Until they were eclipsed by the rise of industry, Japan’s long traditions of satoyama and satoumi flourished as expressions of a spiritual ethic of interconnectedness that was intrinsic to the ancient worldview. Now, as our modern industrial “age of separation” cracks under the pressures of its own unavoidable contradictions, we are being pushed and pulled to find a new way of being in the world. Satoyama and satoumi are ancient in origin but their intrinsic wisdom is as vital and fresh as life itself, ever renewing and innovative, and totally adequate to the task of serving as the foundation for a promising way forward.
As this article says, the concepts of satoyama and satoumi are no panacea, but they do provide a set of eminently practical values and principles that are, ultimately, priceless for their universal promise and applicability.
May everyone inspired by this article go far in supporting and promulgating local and global expressions of satoyama and satoumi, both for Japan’s sake and the world’s.