There is indeed a trend pointing in the direction of humans becoming isolated from the soil from which we all can trace our origins. It is not very difficult finding symptoms of this anti-naturalism. One way or another these days, we tend to escape into a different reality, mainly through technological entertainment. Technology has become something which adapts to a global economic structure, and which leans on newly invented needs of the individual, who is no longer concerned with what the world outside of him looks like, what happens to it, and, in the end, what happens to himself. Technology itself, however, is hardly something to be blamed; it is what our species is destined for, technology is our "speciality," but we can either choose to use it wisely, or in ways that have no positive long-term effects whatsoever, which most definitely seems to be the case today.
Our problem is how we have come to believe that our species and the planet that gave it birth are not necessarily dependent on each other. That we need our Earth should be obvious; it gave us birth, it gave us one place among many in an ecosystem with billions of other species, and only it can feed us, support us, and keep our species alive and in development. Biting the hand that feeds you is only an option for dim-witted and/or suicidal people, and is not healthy collective behaviour.
The situation is also that we, as a species, have reached beyond the direct control that evolution has on other creatures, and thus we have the ability and responsibility to act upon this natural system in one way or another. When a species reaches a certain point of intelligence, this is apparently what happens, which means that planet Earth, ultimately, is "dependent" upon what we do as well. For we are in one way the very pinnacle of our planet's potential thus far, but not in the way the common Christian doctrine tells us; we are not to separate man and nature, and demonize the latter for its feral behaviour, but instead bring it and us to higher points of existence in a universal hierarchy of evolution, through a system that combines knowledge of patterns found in nature with the potential found in man. Thus we can either take our species to new heights, or fail miserably.
If we fail, things will have to start anew (if the planet hasn't collapsed completely already), and a new species of intelligence will have to take on the quest at which we proved to be unsuccessful. Do our species really have to be remembered as the one that failed simply because, after a while, an individualist lifestyle was deemed more comfortable? Do we have to be remembered as the creatures that after millions of years of evolution, and after great cultural achievements produced by such sophisticated brains, in the end decided to sit down in front of a TV set instead, while their plastic lifestyle ruined everything and killed them all? To people that are not completely defunct, this sort of failure is not an option, and individual needs above higher goals are out of the question.
And yet, this is not a moralizing lecture in which one part can feel superior and where the other must forever bear the burden of guilt and sin. In such a case we would make the same mistake all over again. We must understand that we are at a crossroads in history, where people either fall pray to their misery, pride and/or cowardice, or learn from their mistakes and move on. We can learn to see that we are the Earth, and that the Earth is us, that if we alienate it, we will die with it, that all living creatures on this planet are our cheering supporters, and that we are not isolated beings that can get away with our apathy without getting caught ourselves in the end.
September 10, 2006
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