05 January 2010

Spaceships and Space Stations

I've been reading Thomas Berry and can't get his words out of my head. In 'The Great Work' he talks about the role of humans in the universe...as being one of, not masters of our world. This is the mind-shift required to bring about change for a better future. Heck, any future. He talks about creativity and that's where he hooked me. His description of the balance between discipline and wildness where creativity can flourish is brilliant. he likens the creativity a.k.a. life on earth to a perfect balance of wildness and discipline. Mars...too disciplined. Venus...too wild. He really got me to think about humans on earth, how we behave, how we squash creativity in our increasingly disciplined environment lacking any real balance. We kill creativity in elementary school, in college, at work and in our heavily regulated government systems. We lack balance and in the end we will destroy ourselves.

Berry also talks about the incessant drive of humans, our constant hunger to consume and own the earth's resources as if we have the ultimate right to consume all that surrounds us, with no regard to other living species on the planet. We have no right to assume that the earth is here for our exploitation. We humans are as valuable to this planet as any other tree or fish. Less actually because we will be the ultimate destroyers of this planet, not the tree nor the fish who adhere to the natural limits of nature.

Anyhow, Berry talks about how we humans need to have it all and more, setting our sights on non-earthly domains like space. As if humans ever really left the planet. Impossible. They left the earth surface on a machine built from material from earth, breathing air from earth, eating food from earth. No human has ever truly left the planet.

All this got me thinking...is that how we live on the surface of earth? Are we astronauts on our own planet? Think about it. In the western world, we have severed our ties with the natural world living in cities surrounded by concrete, plastic and steel. We don't know where our food comes from, we live as our surroundings dictate. We shuttle back and forth between cities or 'space stations' with little regard or notice of the earth that we rely on for our lives. Isn't that crazy? We rely heavily on the earth like astronauts do in space; but we don't notice our severed ties with the natural world like they do; it's more obvious when your hundreds of miles above the planet. Ask anyone, where does their food come from...their water...their clothes...their housing materials and furniture...their plants? Do they know or are they reliant on a higher body to supply all their goodies? We humans are a silly and egotistical bunch assuming that we can live like this. I feel sick about it.

Well, no time like the present. Berry talks about the impending 'ecozoic' era. This will require a complete mind shift and awakening in education, business, government and science. A bit of a tall order for such a silly bunch.

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