Morally, it is avowedly humanistic in the high Renaissance meaning of the word, not the degraded meaning of humanism that has been imparted by Foreman, Ehrenfeld, a salad of academic deep ecologists, and the like. Humanism from its inception has meant a shift in vision from the skies to the earth, from superstition to reason, from deities to people---who are no less products of natural evolution than grizzly bears and whales. Social ecology rejects a "biocentrism" that essentially denies or degrades the uniqueness of human beings, human subjectivity, rationality, aesthetic sensibility, and the ethical potentiality of this extraordinary species. By the same token, it rejects an "anthropocentrism" that confers on the privileged few the right to plunder the world of life, including women, the young, the poor, and the underprivileged. Indeed, it opposes "centrism" of any kind as a new word for hierarchy and domination---be it that of nature by a mystical "man" or the domination of people by an equally mystical "nature." It firmly denies that nature is a scenic view that mountain men like Foreman survey from a peak in Nevada or a picture window that spoiled Yuppies place in their ticky-tacky country homes. To social ecology, nature is natural evolution, not a cosmic arrangement of beings frozen in a moment of eternity to be abjectly revered, adored, and worshiped like the gods and goddesses that priests and priestesses place above us in a realm of supernature that subverts the naturalistic integrity of an authentic ecology. Natural evolution is nature in the very real sense that it is composed of atoms, molecules that have evolved into amino acids, proteins, unicellular organisms, genetic codes, invertebrates and vertebrates, amphibians, reptiles, mammals, primates, and human beings---all in a cumulative thrust toward ever greater complexity, ever greater subjectivity, and finally ever-greater mind with a capacity for conceptual thought, symbolic communication of the most sophisticated kinds, and self-consciousness in which natural evolution knows itself purposively and willfully.
From Social Ecology versus Deep Ecology:
A Challenge for the Ecology Movement
by Murray Bookchin