'All of which brings me, by a long and winding road, to Buddhism. Having skulked around on the edges of Buddhist thinking for many years, mostly unknowingly, it was only last year that I attended my first retreat. I didn’t have any expectations: there was just a draw. But something was opened up to me during that five days of silence and contemplation and self-questioning. I realised, as I had never realised before, that the world and my perception of the world were not the same thing.
As I write it down now, it seems embarrassingly obvious, but there is a difference between knowing something intellectually and knowing it at this deeper level. I look at a forest. You look at a forest. We see different things. Perhaps one of us sees planking or sawdust or biological diversity or spiritual retreat or silence or rare insect life or certain mosses or a quality of light. Yet none of what we see has any relevance to the forest itself, or any of the organisms that make up its whole. It is just what it is. It is just there.
What does this mean? What it has meant for me is that I am now able to begin – only to begin, mind – separating reality from my view of it, and to understand the emotional projections which I overlay on to the world I walk through. One of those projections is a sense of what ‘nature’ is and should be, and how I should be able to help maintain it in a certain state. Nature itself, meanwhile, has no sense of that state. It has no sense that it is ‘nature’ at all. ‘Nature’ is made up of a vast and detailed complex of living beings doing what they do. Our self-consciousness, and our needs, are part of that complex. But nature doesn’t need us, and ‘extinction’ as a concept is something that only humans worry about.' - https://carolynbaker.net/2015/05/01/the-witness-by-paul-kingsnorth/
The same stumbling around the edges, the same revelatory experience, the same shopping around until he can find a form acceptable to his politics... His novel, 'Beast', has an embarrassing section mimicking shamanic journeys to the underworld with the protagonist getting lost at the bottom of his sleeping bag, I kid you not!
I presume, correct me if I'm wrong, that you're taking issue with my broadsides against Christianity though, rather than with my criticism of PK. You're probably right that I wouldn't have responded in quite the same way. In part that's because I grew up with Christianity (before growing out of it) so know more about it than I do Islam and feel entitled to criticise it in a way I wouldn't with the latter. Still, from what I've read Islam has played a similar role as handmaiden to predatory states and/or empires, also views itself as the one true religion and also has a preoccupation with the afterlife at the expense of the current one. This world-hatred appears to be a feature of all the major civilised religions, and as someone who has said he is working to 'uncivilise' himself and the wider culture, I would be calling him out in the same way (though probably without quite the same sting, I'll admit).
Feel free to call me on it if he does and I don't!