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Honest, courageous and wholly necessary
on 28 July 2008
The subject of ethics reaches deeply into our experience of being human. It is messy, gluey, inescapable and a fundamental fact of life. Its challenge is both simple and complicated: On what basis do we make our decisions?
Emma Restall Orr has broken new ground as the first author to dissect, examine and critically position natural Pagan ethics within its broader cultural and philosophical context. Scholarly and comprehensive in its depth of examination, the author adeptly navigates through the rich heritage of influential philosophers and thinkers whose work has sculpted and continues to shape our understanding of nature, reason, humanity and relationship. From Immanuel Kant to Arthur Schopenhauer, Peter Singer, and many more, each thinker provides a touchstone for exploring how a sensitive relationship with nature can form the basis of a Pagan ethics.
The book tackles some difficult questions and dilemmas: How does the nature-revering Pagan, grounded firmly in their philosophy, respond to issues such as abortion, euthanasia, or animal exploitation? How have we formed an understanding of consciousness, freedom, sanctity, responsibility, and how are these expressed in the way we live? Faced with global environmental crises, how can we craft our nature-based values into sustainable relationships that form an intelligent and effective response to the problems?
Restall Orr may come across as authoritative at times, and readers should prepare to have their assumptions challenged. This is not a comfortable book. It is intentionally provocative, deeply questioning, and essentially motivating. It expertly addresses a gaping hole in the Pagan literature, and as such, its significance should not be underestimated.
For the practitioner, this book asks: What does 'walking the talk' really look like? And, importantly, are you ready for it? Though of certain interest to scholars and academics, this is a crucial read for every nature-honouring Pagan committed to a critical reflexivity of their Craft.
Honest, courageous, wholly necessary, and probably one of the most important texts on modern Paganism to come out of the 21st century. This book carries enough bite to stir us all into wakefulness.