“Some men walk the broad fields of haughty ambition, or base and servile adulation, or deceptive hypocrisy, and some take the road of true religion; but I, influenced by my star, follow the narrow path of knight errantry, and because I profess it I despise wealth but not honor. I have redressed grievances, righted wrongs, punished insolence, vanquished giants, and trampled monsters; I am in love, simply because it is obligatory for knights errant to be so; and being so, I am not a dissolute lover, but one who is chaste and platonic. I always direct my intentions to virtuous ends, which are to do good to all and evil to none; if the man who understands this, and acts on this, and desires this, deserves to be called a fool, then your highnesses, most excellent Duke and Duchess, should say so.”
—Don Quixote, Second Part, Chapter XXXII
“When we experience nature we develop a deep sense of empathy and love for nature and when we love something we care for it, we conserve it, and we protect it. The current environmental movement is driven by fear of doom and disaster. That cannot be the right motivation for a truly sustainable future. Love and reverence for the earth will automatically result in sustainability, harmony and coherence….”
“So the way of the Gita is the way of a spiritual warrior, a peace warrior and an eco-warrior–what Gita calls a karma-yogi: one who is engaged constantly for the upliftment and well-being of the deprived and dispossessed but who acts without desiring the fruit of his or her actions. The Gita says that as the tree does not eat its own fruit and the river does not drink its own water, the karma-yogi should not seek any benefit of his or her own action. Rather he or she should offer that action for the benefit of others.”
–from “Three Dimensions of Ecology: Soil, Soul and Society” by Satish Kumar
We need a determined knight errant like Don Quixote right now. Is there anyone less foolish than he is in the concluding chapters of Cervantes’ novel? Trick after trick is played upon him for the delight of the decadent royals, long after these cruel ruses cease to be funny. And in the very end, he awakens to his own “madness” before dying in his native village.
But who is more sane than Don Quixote, in rejecting wealth but not honor? It is the world that has gone bonkers.
We need a lesson from Don Quixote in following one’s star for the benefit of all other life forms. The giants we must conquer consist of our lack of belief in the wonder and mystery of this world and our unwillingness to take any responsibility for its destruction. But why all the gloom and doom? Let’s clean our armor and set out for an adventure like the knights errant of the past…this is an incredible opportunity, no es verdad?