Nature is perfection. It is amazing to me how brilliant the system of nature is. Every being has its place and it creates abundant diversity. If anything goes out of balance, nature does its job to correct this imbalance. It is a self-regulating system that has worked for all but the last 10,000 years. It worked for one billion years beforehand and spawned different varieties of life in all parts of the world. It worked for the whole, not just one individual species. It was a wonderful time to be any one of Earth’s creatures. There was abundant food and water. Populations of all species were stable. There was no feeling of deprivation. You lived, you died, and you experienced a life that was far more abundant without the use of any currency. It was a life of ease, grace, and lightness. Then we came along and fucked everything up.
Civilization and its consequences have completely destroyed the majority of what we see as nature, which used to be the entire Earth. Us humans have inbred with ourselves, creating a world for us, by us. A world where forests are clearcut for the next mini-mall. The white man and his conquerous ways. We even overtook our own species by giving all native peoples two options: join us or be killed. We had to think that way, though. We needed more land to feed our ever increasing population. We had no more space to grow our grains. We needed that land. Damn anything or anyone who stands in our way. We’ve got a civilization to run here, people (and animals).
The larger we became, the more we grew to fear nature. The reason we feared nature is because we no longer knew nature. We spent our whole lives outside of nature, so how could we regard nature with comfort? We simply feared the unknown, and set out to destroy it. True, we are victims of circumstance, but that doesn’t change the fact that we’ve pillaged and burned most of all life that has ever been here simultaneous with our civilizations. We’ve kept around certain beings that served us (and that we served), such as cows for milk and grain for food. But everything else that we did not find useful or pretty or fun was destroyed with no regard for its value in ecosystems or simply on its own terms. I’m sure we didn’t know what we were getting into. But it’s not too late to stop the destruction.
We are naturally forager-hunters. That is what we were for anywhere between hundreds of thousands or 2 million years. We looked for foods we could consume, including hunting wild animals that sustained us to live another day. We did not see ourselves as better than the rest of life on Earth, but an equal part in the dance. That is, until someone started to realize that we can spill the seeds into the ground and grow our own food and never be at the mercy of the Earth ever again. That power became addictive. It was a power never before seen in any species and was a major breakthrough with unintended disastrous consequences. At the time, we didn’t know. We didn’t envision a world like the one we live in today. We simply envisioned food security and a slightly larger and more powerful population.
But this became pathological in its own right. The more people we had, the more food we had to grow. The more food we grew, the more people we had. We ran out of land and started taking more to house and feed the expansive population that simply was getting out of control. Of course, it grew very slowly by today’s standards. But in those times, there were so few people to begin with that even what seems like a minor growth today was a major problem that needed to be rectified. We could have gone back to our roots and abandoned the civilized life, but it was so much easier to keep going down that road than to stop and go back. We saw the good in civilization and denied the bad. We latched onto power and ignored destruction. No one was in charge, and we just kept speeding down the fast track of grain agriculture/animal domestication.
In a blink of an eye of the history of the universe, we went from eating mangoes and hunting wild game to shopping in supermarkets and commuting 45 minutes to and from work in a vehicle that has proven to go faster than any animal on the face of this Earth. Sure, life is easier in some ways, but in other ways it is increasingly difficult. For example, the average forager-hunter maybe worked one to two hours a day in activities related to survival. The rest of the time was spent slacking off and playing. Today, 40 and even 50 hour work weeks are the norm and that is just so we can afford a basic subsistence life. Most of the work today is meaningless and has nothing to do with survival, other than the fact that the tokens we receive for the work go towards our basic survival needs. Even the one or two hours primitive peoples spent on survival were also viewed as a blissful experience, something that was looked forward to. Try asking 100 people today if their current career is bliss.
We still have the ability to create heaven on Earth, but nobody has the time because they have a job, a house, 2 cars, and payments that bind them to the slavery of work. It really is a shame that 99% of the people in the world could not live in the wilderness if their life depended on it. Of course, there’s not much wilderness left, never mind enough to support nearly 7 billion humans and all other life on Earth. We are the most helpless human beings that ever existed. We are dependent on the very system that is destroying us. I truly believe it is the only thing that is holding us back from living the way we are supposed to. If we spent less time working and more time planting gardens or rewilding vacant lots, we could start to create the world we used to live in and make it better (i.e. more diverse and abundant).
While not an impossible task, it is certainly a daunting one. How do we drop the baggage of civilization and move from there to where we are in balance? A crash would certainly help. A crash of civilization would leave an opening for a new way of living that has never been seen before. We will start having to do more things for ourselves and become more self-reliant. It could indeed start a chain reaction that would lead to us learning a whole host of skills in wilderness survival and other necessary interventions from a society gone bankrupt. It may take 100 years or it may take 1000 years, but I am certain that at some point, our Earth will once again become the heaven it was. And if it is through the extinction of the human race entirely, then so be it. And besides, do we really want to be remembered as the species who ruined it for every other species? Is that what we truly want our calling card to be?
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