Healing (Human) Nature
If it is true that: What we really need is for humanity to hold nature sacred again, then the question becomes: How do we get humanity to hold nature sacred again? Easier said than done, right? Right now the vast majority of society holds money sacred. Of course most people don’t actually bow down and worship dollar bills, but if you look at what is most valuable in their lives, it is fairly clear that money is at the top of the list. Maybe they don’t want it to be but it is. The evil of capitalism lies in the power of money to subvert or displace any other values people hold. Money is the most potent and addictive drug of all, and no one is immune.
Money is the holy sacrament for the religion of capitalism. Capitalism is defined by private property rights, the ability to own natural resources, capital accumulation and re-investment, free markets, and competition. Capitalism is inherently exploitative, alienating, unstable, unsustainable, and creates massive economic inequality. It commodifies living organisms, including plants, animals and people, is anti-democratic and leads to an erosion of human rights while it incentivizes imperialist expansion and war. On the good side, capitalism has helped propel innovation and prosperity (for an increasingly small minority).
The Native Americans before Columbus never developed capitalism because they never believed it was possible to own the land. They never developed a monetary system which makes possible the hoarding of money and the massive economic inequality that can result. They believed that Nature was sacred and they treated it accordingly. And Nature responded by rewarding the Native Americans with an abundance of Natural wealth which we can hardly conceive of.
Native Americans cultivated the land without exploiting it. America before Columbus was a paradise in every sense of the word. But instead of learning from the Native Americans how to maintain this paradise and continue to cultivate this richness of Nature, capitalist invaders claimed the land and started taking advantage of the natural resources that had been growing and accumulating for centuries.
500 years later we have almost depleted the natural resources originally cultivated by the Native Americans that we wiped out without even a thank you, and we’re busy all around the globe exploiting the remaining so-called primitive people who still have some of their natural resources remaining. We are responsible for deforestation, strip mining, unsustainable agricultural practices, damning of rivers and many more ecologically devastating practices. Our capitalist system doesn’t worry about exhausting these resources, it’s just a mindless eating machine that doesn’t consider consequences for future generations.
Clearly something needs to be done to stop this mindless “progress,” but how do we do it? Do we go back to the system that existed before capitalism? Isn’t that the opposite of progress, which is bad? The answer is no, it’s not bad. It’s actually really, really good for everyone involved. Holding Nature sacred means that you love Nature, as opposed to capitalism which means that you love money. Each one of us is part of Nature which means that when we love nature we are loving ourselves. How can that be a bad thing. You are not made of money, you are made of living Nature. You are Human Nature.
If we decide as a society to focus on healing Nature and the planetary biosphere, we will in the process naturally heal ourselves. I don’t know about you but I could use some healing. I’m falling apart. For the past few years I have this sense of impending doom. It got a lot worse in early 2020 with the onset of Covid, and recent events at the Capital really kicked it into high gear. No major war has been declared but we’re all surrounded by fear and aggression. Our society is afflicted with so many seemingly unrelated problems: political parties spewing hatred at each other, the pandemic, racism, poverty and homelessness, small businesses failing due to lock down, so many different diseases and health care crisis, paranoia, suspicion and mistrust and so many lies and who really knows what the truth is any more?
Like you, I am caught up in all these human problems, but most of the time I feel like a mute wild animal, watching the ongoing and relentless destruction of my home which is Nature and the biosphere. And yet I also know our shared human problems are real and can’t just be put aside or ignored so that we can focus exclusively on the biosphere. All of these problems, personal and planetary, are interrelated and interdependent.
So many unforgivable acts have occurred in human history. I don’t need to make a list, do I? We search for a clear cause, for an enemy that we can make pay. But in most if not all cases the real cause recedes back into our deepest history. So you draw an imaginary line and say “here’s where it started, and here’s who is responsible.” Reduce the infinite complexity of the problem down to a finite enemy that can be hated and hopefully destroyed.
Many people feel that forgiveness and unity with their enemies is no longer possible, not without first applying punishment and consequences. And I get it, I can hold a grudge as long as the next guy. I’ve always been a big fan of justice and karma, the idea that people get what they deserve. When I was about 15 years old my closest cousin, like a brother to me, was run over, mutilated and killed by a drunk driver, who was never charged at the time because it was such a horrific accident scene, and he never served a day in jail for killing my cousin and maiming my cousin’s passenger. For years I dreamed of participating in various forms of karmic retribution (revenge). But gradually over the years I’ve been able to let it go, at least most of the time. It stings to let people get away with seemingly unwarranted aggression, where atrocities have been committed that may have resulted in injuries and death. But with so many enemies all around the globe, we’re gonna have to burn the planet to the ground just to punish all the guilty, and that seems to be what is happening.
If we want to heal Nature and the planetary biosphere then we have to start by healing our human interactions and forgiving people who don’t seemingly deserve it. Now, I don’t want to sound naive or overly simplify complex matters, but the rational, linear problem solving-solutions that make sense within the context of our current capitalist system WILL NOT be able to solve our current set of global problems on time. There is an urgent need to make significant changes. So here’s a radical idea:
Let’s empty our jails and prisons and assign those prisoners to the hardest, dirtiest work in the global garden. Give them a real chance at redemption. (Of course psychopathic murderers might need appropriate supervision but we will never heal our broken relationships by simply punishing people.) If you’ve broken the law and hurt people or killed people or stolen from people, then you are assigned to clean up pollution in our rivers and ocean. The fact is we’ve all hurt people and many of us could probably be sent to jail for one reason or another. We all owe a debt to someone we have hurt and let’s pay that debt back to the Earth.
Our capitalist system, which demands more and more money created by exploiting natural resources, has to go. Good riddance to bad garbage. A barter system would fill in some of the gaps, with a focus on local economies, and a universal standard of living for all needs to be provided. Implementing this system is of course a huge challenge; getting from here (our current capitalist, money-based system) to there (a more local, barter based system) will be a bumpy ride. But when people hold Nature sacred, they will no longer be able to participate in exploiting and destroying the biosphere.
Especially important is we need to stop the ongoing destruction of any remaining rain forests (equivalent to the lungs of our animal bodies) and focus on the conservation of any remaining wild lands. Planting trees is good but letting adult trees live is so much better.
Biodiversity demands that we share the land with other animals. Wild lands are especially necessary and wild animals are much more expert than we are at maintaining biodiversity, which keeps the food chain intact. A great deal of environmental restoration needs to take place which means letting wild growth take place and mostly leave it alone for a while.
So many problems to work out but a lot of very smart people have been working on solutions. Check out: All of the writings of Charles Eisenstein. Bernie Sanders, The Green New Deal. Society for Ecological Restoration. (I’ll keep adding links as I find them.)
And check out the MONAD Calendar-Clock app, which tells the planetary time & date, and reveals the biorhythms of the Earth’s biosphere. This is how Earth and Biosphere-lovers tell the time and date. MONAD is a highly accurate and dynamic model of planet Earth At The Center of a time & date-telling celestial sphere. The celestial sphere reveals the biological nature of planet Earth. It’s what we’ve always used to mark and measure the planetary, photosynthetic biorhythms (solar day, lunar month & seasonal year) which drive the agricultural activity of plants that make animal life and human society possible.
We’ve got a lot to figure out but the good news is that Nature is not separate from human Nature. If we seek to destroy Nature we destroy our self in the process. If we seek to heal Nature we heal ourselves in the process. What we do to Nature we do to our fellow humans, and vice versa. If we want to heal ourselves we have to focus on healing Nature and the planetary biosphere, which is what gives us our bodies and our health. It’s paradoxical that you can’t heal yourself by focusing on just your self, and you can’t heal the biosphere by focusing exclusively on the biosphere. We have a complementary relationship with Nature and have to take this into account.
We have forgotten who we are and what we are meant to be doing on this planet. Our only real job here on this planet is simple; we’re basically gardeners. With the industrial revolution back in the 1700s we created agricultural machines which are able to do part of our jobs but not our Whole job which is to cultivate the planetary biosphere, keep it whole and healthy, and make sure that biodiversity is maintained.
Biodiversity is a critical concept to understand. In Nature there is a food chain of organisms that also serves to link up all the ecological organ systems into a single living, cosmic-scale organism known as Gaia or MetaGaia. If you study ecology, you discover that each link of the chain of life, no matter how small or large, is equally important in sustaining life. In human Nature there is a complementary form of biodiversity in social roles. We humans have different personalities and types and I’m good at things you’re not good at, and vise versa. It’s a mistake to think that certain people are more valuable than others. We all are equally valuable and necessary to maintaining healthy human Nature. We need all of us working together to heal the biosphere.
Focus on restoring Nature and you will find that you are also healing human Nature. I’m not asking you to give up a cause which is personal for you. If you have been victimized by systemic racism all your life it is unreasonable that you would want to abandon this cause. But know that by expanding your focus from one aspect of human Nature to include the needs of all of Nature, that you are optimizing and expanding your effectiveness and also contributing to the healing of your self and others.