Charles Brandt – The Oracle of Oyster River


Cultocracy note :

An interesting article from Canada based Hakai Magazine

Charles Brandt is the subject of the article and is described as a ‘hermit’ who lives on Vancouver Island in Canada .

Charles suggests that one way to save the natural environment is to “fall in love with the natural world” . All well and good , but this philosophy is flawed in that the natural environment is being systematically destroyed , primarily in the names of profiteering and consumerism . How can you learn to love something which you have not experienced or even seen ?

I see examples of a more technophile , synthetic love for the modern technological world on a daily basis . I can probably state with a small degree of certainty that if a tiger , lion and giraffe stepped in front of an average person glued to their ‘smartphone’ they would probably not bat an eyelid . A slight exaggeration you may think , but you get the gist .

Lets put it another way , if you asked the average person raised in a city to forego their car and smart phone to save a single wild animal , what do you think their response would be ?

Society has raised the new generation on a diet of electronic gadgets and purposely programmed addictive applications . Tech giants are now integrated into more ‘traditional’ power structures , their influence cannot be underestimated .

I suppose the bigger question is what effect will a total reliance on gadgetry and electronic media have on the intellect of each successive generation ? This question becomes particularly pertinent when you consider that the majority of media streams and applications are tightly controlled by the powers that be . This is even before we even begin to contemplate the more ‘subliminal and silent’ potential of gadgets and the underlying infrastructure , a fact that the vast majority of people are completely unaware of , which in itself is a prime example of the control the powers that be have over media platforms .

On the flip side , technology also gives a potential voice to everybody , again there are powers that will continually seek to censor and control the discourse .

Many medical professionals are now talking about internet or smart phone addiction .

Is this by accident , or by design ?

The Oracle of Oyster River

On Vancouver Island, a hermit-priest has spent a lifetime contemplating the natural world. At 95, he has come to believe there is a way we can save it.

Slow down. Take a breath. Attend. Insight takes time. Charles Brandt has been meditating and praying on the east coast of British Columbia’s Vancouver Island since 1965. Over that time, he has come to some elegant conclusions about our place in the natural world. He gathered them slowly, through solitude, study, and quiet contemplation. He has acted upon them. Brandt is a Catholic hermit, priest, ornithologist, flight navigator, book conservator, and naturalist. The solitary path he has taken in life can be seen as both a radical departure from and a return to first principles.

For over half a century, Brandt has walked the quiet road leading to his hermitage, his “road to nowhere.” As revelations of abuse and cover-ups eroded the moral authority of the Catholic Church around the world, he continued to meditate, pray, and observe the natural world around him. Over time, he came to consider himself not a theologian but an ecologian. Now, as he approaches the end of his journey, he is taking steps to ensure this land and hermitage are preserved in perpetuity. He also hopes the insights of his generation of ecological thinkers will live on beyond him.

Brandt was 13 when he fell under the spell of the man who famously went to live alone in the woods near Concord, Massachusetts—Henry David Thoreau, the renowned 19th-century American essayist, naturalist, abolitionist, and philosopher. Growing up on a farm near Kansas City, Missouri, Brandt was himself already a budding naturalist and avid birder in 1936 when he first got his hands on a copy of Thoreau’s masterwork, Walden. He was particularly taken with Thoreau’s attempt to develop awareness and empathy for the natural world, honing what Brandt calls the “latent senses.”

Brandt was instrumental in establishing the Tsolum River Restoration Society and the campaign that resulted in the reclamation of the old copper mine (at a cost of $6-million), which led to the rapid return of salmon. Only eight pink salmon were counted in 1983; in 2016, the numbers had reached 130,000.

In addition to Brandt’s efforts to restore the Tsolum, he went on to advocate for the protection of parks, forests, and the surrounding sea—work that has been honored with numerous awards.

“Immersed in the beauty of Earth,” Brandt says. “I had taken rather bold stands against several logging and mining companies that seemed bound to destroy all that I had come to the rainforest for.”

It was his life of contemplation and communion with the natural world that led to a deep love of it. It is that love, he says, that led him to act in its defense.

Read the full article here at Hakai Magazine

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