So I went to this talk "Green Shakespeare"--English professors from all over the country practicing what they call eco-criticism talked about A Mid Summer Night's Dream.
The argument was basically that Dream recognized the many and interconnected ecosystems that make up our world. What Shakespeare called "fairies" we call bacteria, microbes etc., but the fact that these things exist and are wound up with our human survival is nonetheless expressed.
And I asked the question, which for me is every question--as often as art is and has been radical, art has also towed the line. For example, in the Bible when God gives dominion over the plants and the animals to man. I think that has just as much to do with our current environmental policies as the double cherry stem in Dream. What then do you do with that?
The answer that came back from the panel was that reading a lot of literature doesn't make you good. Reading a lot of literature makes you more of what you are.
This troubles me because it seems to give up on the possibility of learning.
If there is a core inside of ourselves that can't change, then there is a limit to knowledge which I think we come up on much harder and faster than the things outside of ourselves that are steadfast--reality, right, and wrong.