–by Satish Kumar (Oct 26, 2012)
The Declaration of Independence in 1776 [of the part of the Planet we call the U.S.] may have been right in its time and context. At times of slavery, colonialism and imperialism, it is right and proper that the colonised stand up for their dignity and claim freedom from oppression.
But now the age of Ecology is dawning and a new consciousness is being born. In the wake of multiple environmental crises, we are rediscovering the ancient wisdom that we depend on each other and we depend on the ways of nature. We depend on the Earth.
The Industrial Revolution, scientific discoveries and technological inventions have created the illusion that we, the human race, are the rulers, that we can take nature’s laws into our own hands, and do what we like with them. We are the masters of creation; we are in charge of the natural world – its forests, rivers, mountains, fishes, fossils, animals, birds, oil, gas, coal. We have dominion over the land, the oceans and the sky. We can split the atom, engineer genes and walk upon the moon. We can ever diminish the wild, enslave the animals, dam the rivers and deplete the energy reserves accumulated over millennia. There are no limits to our power.
This is human arrogance at its worst. As a result, we have turned the abundant bounty of natural gifts into scarcity. Time is infinite, yet we have turned it into a limited commodity. We have reduced the Earth, our planet, our home, to a battlefield where we are competing and fighting for materials, markets and power.
Now we are at a crossroads. We can continue to follow the same path. We can continue to live in the illusion of perpetual economic growth. We can stick to our technological addiction. We can pursue genetics, robotics, nano- and nuclear technology. We can take our road to ruin. We can drive to the abyss. Or we can turn towards ecology: the path of values, ethics and aesthetics, the path of love and reverence for nature, the path of participatory science. We can relinquish the knowledge which enables us to lord it over the Earth. Like the Chinese in the middle ages, who discovered gunpowder but decided to use it only for fireworks, we can be wise and say enough is enough.
For survival and for the good life we need humility. We come from the soil and will return to the soil. We are part of nature, neither above it nor separate from it. Nature is the source of all life: the source of joy and celebration, the source of arts and imagination, the source of poetry and inspiration, the source of skills and inventions. Earth gives us experience of time and space, it gives us seasons and change. We work and rest in response to earthly cycles. Earth grants us a sense of place, from which we derive our identity and belonging. Earth is the source of music, dance and delight. It is the source of beauty, wisdom and insight. For our existence and experience, for our happiness and health, for our nutrition and nourishment, we depend on the Earth. We depend on the love of the beloved, the beauty of the beautiful and the goodness of the good. Embracing vulnerability and humility, let us declare our utter dependence on the Earth, and on each other. You are, therefore I am.
– By Satish Kumar, in You Are, Therefore I Am.