What does this mean? I’m not a scholar, but I can say what it means to me: it means that if you make nature your witness, and if you act as a witness for nature too, there is a truth to be found. It even means, perhaps, that the ultimate witness to who we are comes from the earth itself. When you sit with the earth, when you make it your witness and when you act as a witness for it—what do you see? What are you compelled to do? These are questions that take us beyond political stances, beyond principles, beyond arguments about engagement or detachment. They are questions, it seems to me, that can never be answered in any way other than the strictly personal. Sitting or acting; engagement or retreat; perhaps there need be no contradiction.
In the transition from the mentality of the evil Other to the mentality of interconnectedness, we all face, from time to time, moments of doubtful hesitation: “Is it OK to trust? Is it OK to relax control? What if the Other doesn’t respond in kind? What if he just takes advantage of our ‘weakness’ (our trust)?” For warring factions with, in some cases, generations-long grudges, to take that step requires huge courage. For our own leaders it takes a bit of courage as well. What if they are called soft? What if Assad truly is a monster and he takes our declining to bomb him as license to commit horrors? What if he doesn’t want peace but only, like a James Bond villain, to dominate and destroy? What will happen to the United States if we can’t build a gas pipeline  through Syria controlled by U.S. interests? If I listen to my heart, will I be OK?