We can gain standing or mana in the world through cooperation (yin mana) or through competition (yang mana). Drawing on both Maori and Daoist ideas, the way of yin mana is explored, whereby all parties can gain through new and meaningful participatory activities.
In Maori tradition, all creatures are naturally sacred or tapu, and cannot be used without ritual removal of the tapu, a symbolic acknowledgment of the mana of the gods concerned. Although there is a religious dimension to tapu, it is also the natural state of all creatures, reflecting the idea that they have intrinsic worth. The theist aspect of tapu can be bypassed: tapu is the mana of the atua or gods, whocan be seen as personifications of or indeed identical (...) with areas of the natural world. In this way, the mana of the gods is seen as the mana of nature itself, and respect for the tapu of a creature turns out quite like the familiar idea of respect for its intrinsic value or its ecological value. We might conclude that the environmental mana of the human species is currently negative, and this conclusion in turn might persuade us to change our ways. (shrink)
The standard sources for Maori ethics are the traditional narratives. These depict all things in the environment as sharing a common ancestry, and as thereby required, ideally, to exhibit certain virtues of respect and responsibility for each other. These environmental virtues are expressed in terms of distinctively Maori concepts: respect for mauri and tapu, kaitiakitanga, whanaungatanga, manaakitanga, and environmental balance. I briefly explore these Maori environmental virtues, and draw from them some messages for the world at large.