Monday, September 19, 2005

Of Life, Limbs, and Separation Anxiety

As much as I love technology and all the benefits and amusements that come along with it, I also lament that it further alienates us from Nature. The repercussions of this separation are all around us: hills gouged for precious gems and minerals, mountains stripped of forests, waterways polluted from the waste generated by our need to use, abuse and consume everything that doesn't use, abuse and consume us first.

But the biggest damage is inside ourselves. When we quit seeing Nature as an integral part of our own souls, we lost something precious and of more value than anything we can chop down or mine or reclaim for industrial use. We lost the ability to see ourselves as part of a whole, as an essential piece of the bigger picture.

In order to devastate a forest, we had to convince ourselves the trees were "lumber" measured in board feet instead of natural filters for human-made toxins, or even sadder, that aesthetics were secondary to profit margins. We might as well cut off an arm and use it as a walking stick for all the sense such reasoning makes.

We had to shut our eyes to the sick air we breathed and pretend it had nothing to due with rising cancer rates or skyrocketing asthma cases. This makes as much sense as letting a mass murderer move into your home and then shutting your eyes when friends and pets start showing up dead.

Our water is no longer safe to drink. Our food is full of chemicals and hormones and by-products of human and animal waste. We might as well move into a landfill and wait for our lost souls to generate enough heat to compost our ignorance.

But the worst illness we've created from the detachment with Nature is a never-ending supply of cruel and intolerant religions with meaner and stricter and more murderous deities leading the call to kill kill kill, hate hate hate, destroy destroy destroy, in order to go to a heaven filled with equally mean and intolerant people. Nature once filled this function by teaching us we were part of everything and everything was a part of ourselves.

Now all these new unholy intermediaries teach is how we are separate, how we are different, how we need to build fences and walls and divisions, how everything is outside of us---personal responsibility, accountability, freedom of choice. It's all someone else's fault. Someone is always doing something to us. We are perpetual victims just waiting for someone or something to abuse us some more.

If we don't start returning to our actual and metaphysical roots in the Nature that is left, if we don't relearn the lessons of the forest, we will reach the end of our evolutionary spin of the wheel in a much shorter time than it took to arrive here. What lies ahead is not the eternal city imagined by centuries of visionaries and dreamers, but instead, the same primordial stew we climbed out of once before. Only this time it will be so polluted, it will probably mercifully put an end us before we can do anymore damage.

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