On Beyond Back-To-Nature Philosophies
Listening to a popular “animal communicator”, I realized the core issue with what she was saying. While I appreciate what they do with specific animals and species, and it touches my heart deeply (I love animals, and plants, and minerals…), there is an assumptions and an attitude about humans and the planet and Life and nature I will go into here. And, it sounds like she would be quite positively happy if humans were wiped out, and that we are at a “tipping point” (the phrase Al Gore popularized in his environmental screed of the same name). There was something about the way she talked about humans going away, an arrogance that was slightly chilling.
They had identified with the projected nature as real, the world, expanding the ego, and taken sides.
Years ago I used to feel this way: as a big nature lover, in awe of it’s beauty and wonder and diversity, and pained by the destruction humans were causing, I felt that the planet would de better and happier without humans. But there is a contradiction – who or what would be happy if the humans were wiped out? That is, what is being conscious of all this? I’m not pointing to human consciousness here – there is no such thing as separate human consciousness.
Consciousness does not appear in humans, the phenomenon of human beings appear in Consciousness. That is the right way around to look through the telescope. Neither is there a separate animal consciousness – in fact this is why communication with animals (and all so-called “telepathy” between humans and between species) is possible: the supposed, unreal barrier between beings is temporarily dropped or seen past. There is no transmission going on between separate beings, there is only ever One Being. Time and space are a projection.
And, what human faction will carry this out, eliminating all the “bad” humans, and leave what – just the core of good ones who did the wiping out? And then what? They commit suicide? I don’t think she really wants that… but it seemed like the logical extension of the outlook.
It’s true Consciousness doesn’t need humans, or human minds and bodies to be conscious and happy. But neither does it need the natural world of the Earth, other than such that this whole phenomenon of body-mind-world can arise together. They fail to see they all arise together – the entire story of this planet and evolution and the universe, and the mental projection of the story – and fail to see past the supposed sin of being human. It’s an old religious attitude.
In truth, all is well and unfolding as it should. All of the supposed sins and horribleness of humans are part of the natural order, neither good nor bad. There is an underlying peace despite all the apparent chaos: hard to see at times, but it returns, when allowed to. Plagues and wars are nature cleansing itself, as unpleasant and horrible as we judge this to be.
We have been so inculcated with the idea that the world is going to hell in a handbasket, that the sky is falling, and that you’re sticking your head in the sand to ignore it, that it can be difficult to see the truth for most. But one you experience the peace and harmony of your own being-ness, it’s hard to swallow all the stories of doom and gloom the media spouts out and friends believe.
The mistake of the Gaia folks (the New Age environmental belief system) is to think the peace is in the world, the natural world, and that the cause of un-peace is humans. Therefore, the logic goes, get rid of humans and all will be well. The reality is that peace is not of this world, and chaos and duality is built-in. There have always been times of chaos and times of peace. Civilizations come and go. Ups and downs, positive and negative, according to the mind. There are natural cycles to everything. Without contrasts and change, there would be no world. It’s what makes it go. The mind is a “child of time” as I heard a wise sage say once. It can only operate on differences, change, time, objects of time and space. The mind, time and space, the body and world all arise together. True, humans are not needed, but neither is anything created needed.
All of the back-to-nature philosophies and ideologies (which included Nazism) make the mistake of not realizing that nature is a projection of the mind, and therefore to hold this virtue of nature or race as a given and absolute, a rigid and artificial idea, unaware and unconscious. And it is used as weapon ultimately, causing more violence than it presumes to create in it’s projecting of future peace.
So if you dig underneath, what is revealed is another form of materialism: Gaia or the planet is assumed to have a consciousness of it’s own, and is not seen as appearing in consciousness. It’s a fundamental and very common mistake in our modern culture, which is based on materialism (I’m speaking of philosophical, not ethical materialism, though that follows too). It’s the unseen underlying assumption. So nature purity or racial purity (in the case of Nazism) are taken as real and givens, and we are to be subservient to these givens, unquestioned. What evolves out of these inherently violent philosophies – not matter how calmly they are espoused on the surface – are politics and actions that cause more problems than they solve.
When Lao Tzu talked about being in harmony with nature, he meant inner nature. Harmony with the outer world, which is not really separate, follows, well naturally.
Give up sainthood, renounce wisdom,
And it will be a hundred times better for everyone.
Give up kindness, renounce morality,
And men will rediscover filial piety and love.
Give up ingenuity, renounce profit,
And bandits and thieves will disappear.
These three are outward forms alone;
they are not sufficient in themselves.
It is more important
To see the simplicity,
To realize one’s true nature,
To cast off selfishness
And temper desire.