GB No. 2(21)/96


Wojciech Eichelberger, the author of the book entitled Pomóż sobie. Daj ¶wiatu odetchn±ć (Help Yourself. Let the world rest) is sensitive, humble and great, reflective and wise. He can gather a variety of thoughts and emotions but, without contradicting himself, find big and small solutions. It is hard to argue with him over his perception of the world - it is as it is - over love, spirituality, use of one's senses, the body's potential, and understanding of existence and the traps of life we drop into. Omnipresent is the motif of work; hard, but yielding the desirable fruit.

The author writes a lot about giving, sacrifice, sharing and wisely using the resources of the body in the beautiful texts and interviews Rozczarowanie (Disappointment), O braniu i dawaniu (Of giving and taking), Kochać m±drze (To love wisely), Przywrócić człowieka człowiekowi (To restore a man to a man). It is advisable to focus on the second and third parts of the book. The first being full of personal digressions, though not advise or moral teachings. The third part treating the subjects of attitudes, opinions and the philosophy of life (ecology and its traps!), humanity, one's own work over oneself and the one more professional called the "psychological aid": a mysterious bridge linking a man to a man, the wavelength for exchanging emotions, impressions, thoughts and knowledge, and the undefinable flow of energy.

Another issue Eichelberger deals with in his two fundamental texts is ecology understood as a relation between existence and environment, the figure and the background. Apart from precise or even scientific terms, they are full of emotion, simple judgments, definite solutions that place the author on the map of cognition and honesty, where "yes" means "yes" and "no" means "no". The texts convey many doubts but also offer many answers to the questions posed by the author himself. Eichelberger resists the dualistic perception of the world, the earth and life - splitting disconnection - instead of accepting them as two aspects of one phenomenon (life-death, body-spirit,...), and illusions resulting from it. These illusions determine the relation between a human being and the world; "the mirage of body" ruins the contact between a man, his body and his senses, preventing us from experiencing the inner unity and cohesion because we block our energy and power which is so necessary for mindful realisation of life's potential. The energy is wasted on excessive self-control and for keeping up the tension.

"The mirage of personality", defined as life narcissism, is another step into the illusion - we get entangled in self-love, fear of ourselves, the need of safety, seeking confirmation, love, admiration and power . It is sick: love is increasingly often only a declaration, a desirable commodity which everybody wants but nobody produces. We rebound off one another in the rat race and the ever-escaping vision of satisfaction. As long as 20-30 years ago Karen Horney already wrote about the times that were favourable for "overproduction" of narcissistic personalities.

"The mirage of the future" is another wall that separates us from what is " here and now" and invites us to virtual voyages into the future while setting us free from the care and responsibility for the reality that surrounds us. The illusions build up the contradictory, destructive and deficient existence of man. How can you open up to real life, try to change the scenario written by a stranger, notice the bond between a man and the earth? - you can find some of the answers at the end of the article Ekologia relacji Ja-¦wiat (Ecology of the relation: I - the world).

Other reflections relate to the ecology of insight and the ecology of fear* of contradictory attitudes. The first notion consists of sensitive cognition of self, it helps us to understand the motives of our actions. If the motivation is fear, remorse, pride or a sense of power, the result we be illusion and falseness, and we will achieve ends quite opposite to the desired ones. Fear is a bad guide, it protects our sense of safety, therefore helping us satisfy our needs. Denying the true relationship between man and the earth, and what is "here and now" enables escapism into illusion and non-existence. Such a suspension between heaven and earth makes us exist, in fact, nowhere! We become an illusion ourselves: without roots in the earth, not devoted to heaven, we are homeless and thus it is even easier for us to destroy and neglect "our home". It gives way to vandalism, hostility and lack of respect for other beings, building a fortress under banners: "it is not my home", "it is not me who has made the barriers"; it takes us far away from what is safe, good, basic and natural.

What leads us to such an unconcern? The author claims it is pride that covers fear, weakness and mortality - the mask of arrogance that we show to the world. Thus we believe we are important and powerful! What a beautiful delusion... we believe... we hypocrites who turn into usurpers, who violently seek power, superiority and other delusions to replace sympathy and love. To control and destroy, limit, close, harness, and adjust - in this way we can achieve a temporary delusion of peace. But, in fact, we do not feel too safe surrounded by nature, so wild and powerful. Maybe that is why we want to annihilate it. We cut off our own roots, we cut off the branch that we sit on, thinking that, through indifference, we can acquire power, independence and freedom. We will die together so naive...

Saving the earth because of the sense of danger, not because of love and admiration for the work of the creator, is evil. We are afraid for ourselves, our health, our life, our gardens and our dogs - we care for our own comfort and safety - and this is what the author calls the ecology of fear. It covers attempts to neutralise the result of a consumptive lifestyle, of disastrous economy, the policy of choosing the lesser evil, seeking compromise, etc., etc. The author finishes his reflections with a rather grave remark about the attitude of "being against" that which is omnipresent in our lives. Yes, that is what really threatens us: "out of fear for our own health we kill other people's dignity. Therefore the sustainable actions motivated by fear seem to be polluted with incompleteness and hypocrisy. There is a serious hazard that the actions can evolve into various forms of dogmatism, violence and aggression". Quo vadis, ecology?

Aneta Sendra-Wójcik
reprinted from Zielone Brygady, Apr. '96
transl. M. Maciejewska

Wojciech Eichelberger, Pomóż sobie. Daj ¶wiatu odetchn±ć. Agencja Wydawnicza "Tu". Warszawa 1995.
*) Wojciech Eichelberger defined the notions (which are equivalents of deep and shallow ecology, terms created by Arne Naess, the founder of deep ecology) in the first issue of I - Miesięcznik trochę inny. He also wrote a chapter of Ekorozwój 2020 (the first volume of the Biblioteka "Zielonych Brygad" series), entitled Ekologia relacji Ja - ¦wiat. Próba diagnozy.
GB No. 2(21)/96 | Contents