August 21, 2009

‘We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.’ Einstein

The Nature of Us

More than half of all human beings live in urban areas. People living between slabs of concrete become detached from nature and this detachment contributes to a drastic rise in mental health problems. Every year ninety million births take place; in a second three children are born: two of them will live in abject poverty. As people migrate in increasing numbers into the towns and cities, the resultant overcrowding brings a silent stress to our natural bodies; the evolutionary force within senses a need to control population growth. Nature is only interested in survival of the species. If there are too many, she will take steps to redress the balance.

During times of danger, war or famine, fertility rates drop. Our bodies protect their few precious eggs by shutting down ovulation. The innate self-protective system which guides the ebb and flow of our reproductive patterns is the wisdom of nature at work. The collective unconscious that lives within us all may decide "We won't make more."

In our conglomerates we have created ‘fear factories’. Fear of not having enough; fear of losing what we do have; fear of the stranger; fear of dying; fear of disease; fear of violence and fear of war. These fears are manufactured for the purpose of controlling large quantities of people living in close proximity. Some might call it civilization.

To counteract these artificial and destructive fears we resort to denial. We enclose ourselves in a cocoon of equally artificial safety from where we cannot sensibly deal with the reality of our lives. We deny the suffering of others, our impact on the environment, the ‘collateral damage’ of pointless war and we deny our individual responsibility to do something about it.

But our most basic natural programming is little to do with these types of fear, or indeed denial. Our most basic need (after food and shelter) is for simple pleasure - such as the touch of a friend, helping someone in need, or enjoyment of a good book. We all instinctively know what is good for us, and we should banish the fear that to tread that path is wrong. Doing what is good for us is empowering, satisfying, healthy and joyful.

‘The idea that six billion of us are needlessly and voluntarily living profoundly destructive, counter-intuitive, unhappy, unhealthy, unnatural, hard, self-limiting, self-sacrificing, deprived lives, and that all we need to do is learn the lessons of nature, change our minds, walk away from civilization and create an stunningly better, joyful life, and save the world in the process, is just too radical, too insane an idea for most people to accept.’ Read Dave Pollard's magnificent and insightful observations:

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