Originally published at http://www.commondreams.org/views/2020/12/17/one-world-wisdom-wholeness
The concept of wholeness was in part shattered with “The Enlightenment”. Western Science is based on reductionism and there was a manic race to break every thing in existence down to find what made it tick. This also led to the ideal of individualism and giving precedence to the individuals wants and desires with the claim that “self interest” was in everyones interest and the need of community or the whole was immaterial.
Wholeness was abandoned and this reached its apex with the claim “there is no society” and that there are only individual wants and needs.
This reductionism reduced all of life to little more then a component. A Bison roaming the prairies become nothing more then a buffalo robe which one could sell and make money from. Entire forests were seen as nothing more then a source of wood and profit with the suggestion “A tree is not worth anything until it is chopped down”.
Modern Science is now rediscovering “wholeness” . They are discovering that the sum is greater then the parts and that all things work together as a whole this something those first nations peoples learned long ago. You just can not remove a part of that wholeness and not expect that to impact everything else.
Remove the wolf, remove the butterfly , remove the bog , remove the tree , and everything else is affected.
Few people are willing or able to think holistically…they confine their thinking to silos that at best focus on short term gains that are often unobtainable and will produce no meaningful results even if they are obtained.
Despite its shortcomings, FDR’s New Deal came closer to a holistic approach than anything else. It recognized that corporations have always been obligated to increase shareholder value at the expense of all else. The New Deal therefore regulated them to limit their ability to destroy us. That is why we have witnessed 40 years of decriminalizing New Deal regulations in the name of “deregulation”. That dismantling continues. Until all New Deal regulations are restored there will be no progress possible in the direction of “the wisdom of wholeness”.
With regard to restoring essential ecological priorities, I urge everyone to read and digest and discuss this book: Creating an Ecological Society: Toward a Revolutionary Transformation, by Fred Magdoff and Chris Williams. In addition to a critique of the antithetical relationship between capitalism and global ecology and culture, the authors provide substantial information on how to re-assemble a global society governed by the needs of all people, instead of a society ruled by the greed of a few.
I agree, in general, about wholeness. Yet we must remain vigilant and tireless in scrutinizing and calling out “modern science.” To this moment, much of science and its “practitioners” continue to conduct campaigns of violence and destruction against people, the natural world and its ecology, and against science itself. Science at its elemental core is nonpartisan and objective. However, the essential nature of science has been distorted and contorted to serve the displacement of “objectivity” through capitalism’s insatiable quest to exploit virtually everything through its contrived economies. Thus, water (and soil, and plant life, and animal life, and human lives, et al. ad infinitum) is only valuable in the sense of making a buck from seizing it and selling it for financial “profit” contrived by a system that condemns the collective, ecological, and metaphysical values of Earth to the narrow prism of private property “ownership” and a legal system designed to maintain the ongoing exploitation and rape of life’s essentials. Capitalism is a massively tyrannical and perpetual crime against nature and against humanity. The erstwhile purity of science has been defiled, corrupted, and co-opted by sycophants and collaborators: in science, finance, business, politics, media, law enforcement, military, and all the other pillars of this global crime syndicate. Most of “modern science” completely fails to grasp “wholeness” and will likely never do so until the artificial construct of capitalism is forever banished from the feeble minds of humanity.
Capitalists aim to destroy indigenous cultures not merely by stealing land and killing its inhabitants, human and otherwise – capitalists are intent on obliterating the knowledge and traditions and potential for salvaging what’s left of this miraculous planet. Personally, I despise the limits of choice in how I live in this material and materialistic world, especially at an advanced age. While I embrace a return to wholeness in all senses of the word, I remain tormented by the overwhelming evidence that fragmentation, disjunction, dysfunction, and exploitation retain an inordinate constituency among witless humans. The universe remains unimpressed with any species intent on circumventing wholeness.
How the HEB’s work together for Life. HEB’s…Highly Evolved Beings
HEBs also share. They share everything. With everyone. Not a being goes without. All the natural resources of their world, of their environment, are divided equally, and distributed to everyone. A nation or a group or a culture isn’t thought to “own” a natural resource simply because it happens to occupy the physical location where that resource is found. The planet (or planets) which a group of species calls “home” is understood to belong to everyone – to all the species in that system. Indeed, the planet or group of planets itself is understood to be a “system.” It is viewed as a whole system, not as a bunch of little parts or elements, any of which can be eliminated, decimated, or eradicated without damage to the system itself.
It’s not just ecology – which is the relationship of the planet’s natural resources to the planet’s inhabitants. It’s also the relationship of the inhabitants to themselves, to each other, and to the environment. It’s the interrelationship of all the species of life. What we’re talking about is larger than the ecosystem. It’s truly the speciesytem. The effect on the speciessytem is uppermost when considering any decision. It is understood that the speciesystem supports all life and every being, at the optimum level. Doing nothing that would harm the speciesystem is therefore a statement that each individual being is important. Not only the individual beings with status or influence or money. Not only the individual beings with power or size or the presumption of greater self-awareness. All beings, and all species, in the system.
You are moving dangerously close to the time when you will not be able to experience “life as you know it” precisely because you have insisted on subordinating the needs of most species to the desires of only one – namely, humans – and even all members of that species, but only a few. Not even the largest number (which might have some logic to it), but by far the smallest – namely, the richest and the most powerful.
Your civilization does not deserve a tirade; any more than a roomful of small children deserves one. Human beings will do what they are doing – to themselves and to each other – until they realize that it is no longer in their best interests. No amount of tirades will change that. If tirades changed things, your religions would have been far more effective long before now. If these simple observations are stinging you, look to see why. This much we both know. The truth is often uncomfortable. Yet this book has come to bring the truth. As have others which God has inspired. And movies. And television programs. For better or worse, television is now the campfire of your society. It is not the medium that is taking you in directions you say you do not wish to go, it is the messages you allow to be placed there. Do not denounce the medium. You may use it one day yourself, to send a different message…
The needs of all species in a speciesystem are treated equally, but the needs themselves are not all equal. It is a question of proportion, and of balance. HEBs deeply understand that all living things within what we have chosen here to call the speciesystem have needs which must be met if the physical forms that both create and sustain the system are to survive. They also understand that not all these needs are the same, or equal, in terms of the demands they place on the system itself. Let’s use the two living species you call “trees” and “humans.” Obviously, trees do not require as much daily “maintenance” as humans. So their needs are not equal. Yet they are interrelated. That is, one species depends on the other. You must pay as much attention to the needs of trees as to the needs of humans, but the needs themselves are not as great. Yet if you ignore the needs of one species of living thing, you do so at your peril. The book God mentioned earlier as being of critical importance – The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight – describes all of this magnificently. It says that trees take carbon dioxide out of your atmosphere, using the carbon portion of this atmospheric gas to make carbohydrates – that is, to grow. (Nearly everything of which a plant is made, including roots, stems, leaves – even the nuts and fruits which the tree bears – are carbohydrates.) Meanwhile, the oxygen portion of this gas is released by the tree. It is the tree’s “waste matter.” Human beings, on the other hand, need oxygen to survive. Without trees to convert the carbon dioxide, which is plentiful in your atmosphere, into oxygen – which is not – you as a species cannot survive. You, in turn, release (breathe out) carbon dioxide, which the tree needs to survive. Do you see the balance?
The oxygen manufacturing plant which you call the Amazon rain forest can be replaced in its capacity to balance your planet’s atmosphere in, say, two or three thousand years. Not to worry. You’re clearing thousands of acres every year, but not to worry. You clear the land so that you can raise cattle to slaughter and eat. Raising cattle is said to provide more income for the indigenous peoples of the rain forest country. So all this is proclaimed to be about making the land productive. In highly evolved civilizations, however, eroding the speciesystem is not looked at as productive, but rather, destructive. So HEBs have found a way to balance the total needs of the speciesystem. They choose to do this, rather than serve the desires of one small portion of the system, for they realize that no species within the system can survive if the system itself is destroyed.
Human beings have been trying to solve problems at the “doingness” level for a long time, without much success. That’s because true change is always made at the level of “being,” not “doing.” Oh, you’ve made certain discoveries, alright, and you’ve advanced your technologies, and so, in some ways, you’ve made your lives easier – but it’s not clear whether you’ve made them better. And on the larger issues of principle, you have made very slow progress. You are facing many of the same problems of principle that you’ve faced for centuries on your planet. Your idea that Earth exists for the exploitation of the dominant species is a good example. You clearly will not change what you are doing around that until you change how you are being. You have to change your idea about who you are in relationship to your environment and everything in it before you will ever act differently. It is a matter of consciousness. And you have to raise consciousness before you can change consciousness.
Stop being quiet about all this. Speak up. Raise a ruckus. Raise the issues. You might even raise some collective consciousness. On just one issue, for instance. Why not grow hemp and use it to make paper? Do you have any idea how many trees it takes just to supply your world with daily newspapers? To say nothing of paper cups, carry-out cartons and paper towels? Hemp can be grown inexpensively, and harvested easily, and used not only for making paper, but the strongest rope, and the longest-lasting clothing, and even some of the most effective medicines your planet can provide. In fact, cannabis can be planted so inexpensively, and harvested so easily, and has so many wonderful uses, that there is a huge lobby working against it. Too many would lose too much to allow the world to turn to this simple plant which can be grown almost anywhere. This is just one example of how greed replaces common sense in the conduct of human affairs.
If your objective is to care for Earth and wisely husband her resources, acting as if those resources are limitless does not work. This has already been demonstrated. If your objective is to discover and cultivate a relationship with
Trust me, I have no use for Capitalism nor for the “Scientists” that have sold their souls to support that system
Oxygen is about 20% of Earthly atmosphere, whereas Carbon Dioxide is about 0.04%. How do you define “plentiful”?
Another way of looking at it which probably gives a similar result is to focus a lot more on the future & the long-term implications of what we do. By always prioritizing short-term greed of giant corporations, we have ensured a much gloomier long-term.
AT last, a spiritual piece, suggesting I believe, that the problem is not our human-nature, (that deep-down, is actually wise, sensitive and fully ecological), but the conditioning that superimposes itself over this nature, burying the former!
This makes our current alienation and climate crisis (as well as other issues that the left are far more sensitive to) even more Sad.
Personally, my Progressive focuses/foci, come from my Humanistic/spiritual outlook…
Are you being serious!? Sometimes I think we need to be re-taught to read with some intelligence an flexibility -…It is relatively overly-plentiful, not being this high for centuries! This is the whole problem, yeah? (That and methane)
Another superb column by Robert Koehler.
Love the reference to a Rights of Nature law, in Grant Township, Pennsylvania. It is succeeding, and withstanding court challenges!
In Iowa, we have our equivalents to fracking pollution. In addition to excessive herbicides and pesticides polluting our lands and rivers, we have Confined Animal Feeding Operations (CAFO) in every corner of our state. The pork is raised here, and most of it slaughtered and sent overseas, and we are left with the wastes. Fittingly, we are a hog cesspool. Same goes for cattle, turkeys, and chickens, et al.
At some point, the slaughter has to stop, along with the waste. An essay like Koehler’s helps, along with books recommended in these comments. A new mindset to engender the wisdom of wholeness can’t come too soon.
One book I took tremendous satisfaction from and that was an eye opener is called “Beyond the Door Of Perception. Plant Intelligence and the Imaginal Realm. Into the Dreaming Earth” by Stephen Harrod Butler.
From the Jacket.
Buhner shows that the capacity for depth connection and meaning filled communication with the living world is inherent in every Human being. It is as natural as breathing. as the beating of our own hearts, as our own desire for intimacy and love. We can change how we think and in so doing address the difficulties of our times.
That convinced me to pick it up from the book store and I have not regretted it. I am not suggesting this book has all the answers but it does suggest we must evolve beyond where we are today and part of that evolution means ending Capitalism and seeing the Earth as naught more then plunder.
We need a new way of thinking.
There is one very small political party that has stood for ‘one people, one world’ for over a century,
It is the World Socialist Party of the United States which produces the magazine 'World Socialist
There’s a balance in nature ,humans are changing this balance very rapidly as to make life as we know it difficult.
Nothing more cruel to nature than mankind .
… Very Profundis. I googled your book recommendation -the authors last name is spelt ‘Buhner.’ The book is also titled; “Plant Intelligence and the Imaginal Realm.” I was surprised to see it because I actually have the book myself. I was so intrigued, I bought it a few years ago. I also bought another hundred books since that purchase, and somehow forgot to read it. Thanks for the reminder. I’m sure it will be no less intriguing two years later -after all, we’re talking about the perineal philosophy here, right?…
… Hehehe… so much for my spellcheck…
Perennial is the word you were seeking.
… Thaaaaat’s the one…