Meditative contemplation

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In recent weeks, in the Chilean media you will likely have found many articles with headlines like “Exploring the sites of Aysen,” or “Patagonia Chile is one of the top destinations in Lonely Planet”,  or “Fishing lodges provide excursions in anticipation of the winter season”, or “Opening a new tourist route through the forests and rivers of Aysen.” 
 
At the other end of the spectrum, come those who evidently do not want to hear news like the aforementioned articles, such as the accusations of “A Patagonia without dams will harm Aysen and Patagonia” and an interview and letter from the executive vice-president of HidroAysen, in which, among other things, he mocks the “sitting and reflecting” and the “desire to contemplate.”
 
Senator Adolfo Zaldivar likes to refer to the “meditative contemplation” as something useless and inefficient, although the inventor of the meditation was a real political scientist known for his great services to business. Daniel Fernandez, also reflecting on the theme, argues against regional politics when he explains that Aysen cannot continue to be merely a reserve of resources.  As if saying that nobody here uses the resources, or that there never existed fires that destroyed half of the forests, or that the fields have not been exploited, that the fishing boom did not occur and the fleets of ships never appeared, the mines closed, and salmon fishermen never came with the ISA.  Fernandez’s predecessor, the sadly celebrated ex-minister Jorge Rodríguez Grossi, is also known for his claim that the rivers of Aysen are underused. As if the only consideration for the “use of water” is for it to be used in mega-dam projects.  It is clear that for them, the people here are “nothing” and the rivers are only here to serve their business proposals. In fact, they leave the region without water and without all the possible uses of the Baker River basin.
 
I guess they have not noticed that the mockery of contemplation and meditation offends not only the philosophers, but professionals and intellectuals, religious people and thinkers, and those who have a sense of aspiration or spirituality. Surely you can classify contemplation and meditation as more than scientific work so that we can speak about tourism, art and artists as one of the primary factors of the world economy.
 
It is clear that those who mock comtemplation and meditation are not happy as “homo sapiens” but seem to prefer to be “homo productive”. They believe in the dogma of resource exploitation, including of course, human capital, although they will deny it when it is convenient. The outcome of extreme development is exploitation and destruction and it is not sustainable. For them, the planet, and its inhabitants, exists solely for the purpose to make money.
 
It is also clear that these kind of people do not believe, nor do they understand, the need to protect biodiversity and the need to protect wildlife -- they are capable of confusing beauty with pornography and ethics with an exotic drink.
 
Some people only understand financial terms, and there are, after all, entire countries that live off the tourism trade, Spain and Costa Rica are prime examples. These are places where tourism is the principal economic activity and I guess it does not occur to anyone to make a mockery of contemplating the wiring of a tropical bio-park. The same thing happens with artistic activity; this is especially exemplified during the years in which the Beatles provided Great Britain with its greatest source of income and Brigitte Bardot did the same for France. How much income will the art galleries and museums report? Why not also tell them to meditate? To think about their actions before they are performed?
 
The truth is that we, as human beings, need more contemplation and meditation, more “sapiens”, instead of continuing the ruthless destruction of the planet’s wild remnants of beauty and freedom. 
 
 
Photo by Jack Miller for Patagon Journal