About  |  News  |  Blog  |  Outlooks  |  Newsletter  |  Clips  |  Resources  |  Index  |   RSS Feed  Français


Bookmark and Share


The Sea and Life

All forms of life are linked to each other as interconnected elements of an ecosystem. When life is threatened in one part of the system, it retreats from all parts of that system – from the environment, from communities, from houses and cities and works of art – like the sea which retreats uniformly from every bay as the tide goes out. Restoring life requires doing the same in reverse: bringing it back simultaneously to all parts of the system, like the rising tide.

But we can’t bring life back using the same technological means that drove it away in the first place. That can only be achieved by appealing to life itself, for only “life creates the conditions that lead to life,” as Paul Hawken writes in Blessed Unrest1, quoting biologist Janine Benyus. This observation is central to Hawken’s thinking. The German biologist Rudolf Virchow demonstrated, more than a century ago, that spontaneous generation does not exist: life cannot emerge from inanimate matter. As a reminder, he left us a formula whose full import we have yet to realize: omnis cellula e cellula. Every cell comes from another cell. In other words: only life can give life. This law applies to all forms of life, including the life of symbols. As Goethe2 put it: “Intelligence can manufacture things, but being lifeless, it cannot give them a soul. Life can only emerge from the living.”

Nor can we consciously control life without distorting it, adds Hawken. “If we try to do it, we will die, just as the planet is dying. We do not manage our bodies, because we cannot. We can, however, protect them, nourish them, listen to them and take care of them through food, sleep, prayer, friendship, laughter and exercise.”3 

1 Paul Hawken, Blessed Unrest, Viking Press, New York, 2007
2 Goethe, Zahme Xenien

3 Paul Hawken, op.cit., p.177



The Sea and LifePollinationResilienceThe Art of the GraftThe Canary in the MachineThe Grain of Sand and the Blade of GrassSocial GardeningThe Bird that tells the HoursMidas the Dis-enchanter, or Instrumental Reason



Keep informed on new postings by subscribing to our free monthly newsletter.

Jacques Dufresne's

The editor of L'Encyclopédie de L'Agora and well known newspaper chronicler and philosopher, analyses actuality through the looking glass of Belonging.
Latest posts
Justice for innocent priests and religious men and women!
To Live or To Function?
An Alternative to Performance Sports: Sustainable Sport



Loneliness affects one in ten people in France

ONE in ten people in France lives in solitude and a quarter have only the most basic links to family or friends, a new report has revealed. The issue of solitude came up in 2003 after the...

Preventing Home Foreclosures - a Promising Innovation in Philadelphia

Between June 2008 and May 2009, of the 4,690 homeowners who were able to negotiate with their banks through this program, 2,776 succeeded in holding on to their homes.