I love Mother Nature and Gaia

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London had suffered since the 13th century from poor air quality which worsened in the 1600s, but the Great Smog is known to be the worst air-pollution event in the history of the United Kingdom, and the most significant in terms of its effect on environmental research, government regulation, and public awareness of the relationship between air quality and health. It led to several changes in practices and regulations, including the Clean Air Act 1956.

Living in the east end of London was a very bleak existence in the 1950’s. I remember a smog alert when weather conditions and the coal fumes erupting from chimneys caused a health crisis. I was sent to St John’s Open Air School, in the country, because I was anaemic and the doctor recommended I escape the city for a while. It was there I developed my love for mother nature and that love has never diminished.  In my teens I would mount my five speed bike and cycle from the slums of London to the open air of Epping Forest. I would take off my shoes and ground my feet to the soil feeling at one with nature and Mother Earth. On other occasions I hiked the Pilgrims Way, camping overnight,  earning my hikers badge with the boy scouts.

In the mid seventies I discovered the Gaia Principle.  This principle, first espoused by a physicist James Lovelock, suggested that the earth was a living organism where humans along with all the other separate systems relied on each other. This theory found favour with philosophers, writers, poets and environmentalists but not scientists. It also found favour with me and I envisioned the earth and all its inhabitants as one. We were a symbiosis and dependant on each other for survival. What a grand utopian dream, us a single tribe of human beings, caring for and nurturing mother earth , who in turn would ensure our survival by nourishing us with its abundance. After all we would be stupid to bite the hand that feeds us. Right.  It was nice to dream for a while.

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“I am Mother Nature. All of creation bows before me. When people leave their cities and learn of me—walk in my woods, bathe in my rivers, eat of my harvest—they will find healing to their souls. But stray from me and return to the supposed wisdom of men, and they will find themselves in chains once more.”
― Seth Adam Smith, Rip Van Winkle and the Pumpkin Lantern

The latest feel good craze started by politicians/environmentalists is the banning of plastics straws. I would suggest a more comprehensive look at how we package all goods for consumption would further our issue with plastic and other disposables more than a token feel good talking point. But that’s the thing. Politics, economics, life style and other life issues get in the way of a comprehensive determined plan of action to do what is best for our planet.

And what is best for our planet?

Can we have our civilized cake and eat it to the detriment of sustaining our planet?

Where do we find the balance?

Is biodiversity necessary or is its disappearance part of evolution?

How much do human beings contribute to climate change versus natural events?

Can technology play a greater part in this process?

Am I personally doing all that I can to improve the well being of  my planet?

We have made progress. There is no longer smog over London due to electricity replacing coal. We are cleaning up rivers. The future of automobiles is electric rather than gas/diesel. We are legislating green belts encompassing our cities and hopefully this will be preserved and continued. We are planting more trees. There is still a lot to be done but there is also a greater awareness of these issues and hopefully over time more and more people will respond. With part of our energies focussed on saving our planet perhaps we can also spend some time to focus on preserving ourselves to enjoy its abundance. Peace.

 

 

 

 

Life is Sacred (except for wasps)

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“Folks, it’s time to evolve. That’s why we’re troubled. You know why our institutions are failing us, the church, the state, everything’s failing? It’s because, um – they’re no longer relevant. We’re supposed to keep evolving. Evolution did not end with us growing opposable thumbs. You do know that, right?”
― Bill Hicks

In my early thirties I signed up for a two year course training to become a yoga instructor. I remember a discussion with a fellow student, in the Bhagavad  Gita class, who espoused the theory that homo sapiens had gone through many incarnations and had always managed to destroy itself. He refused to believe that humans had only walked the planet for thousands of years when the earth was billions of years old. His theory was not a shock to me as we certainly do have a knack for anger, hate, self destruction and dancing to the tune of politicians who steer us to war.  If Social Media was programmed to eliminate hateful users  there would be very few survivors.  (Latest scientific theory is that the earth is 4.5 billion years old, and we, the current species of homo sapiens have populated it for 200,000 years).

Also in my yoga days, I became a vegetarian, decided to try AHIMSA and took a vow to do no harm to any life form. When my wife would scream at me to remove a spider from the house I would spend hours trying to capture the spider and remove it unharmed to the outside world. I invariably ended up pulling its legs off and consigning it to the outside world crippled and misshapen, to live the rest of its life in agony. The path to hell is paved with good intentions. My AHIMSA vocation came crashing to a halt because of my allergic reaction to the yellow jacketed wasp. One afternoon while relaxing on the patio, soaking in the sun’s rays, a wasp landed on my arm. I froze and very carefully reached out my hand to flick it away. Feeling irritated I then searched for the fly swatter and went to war with the wasps killing about eight in an hour. It was either them or me, survival at its most primal.  My irritation subsided when a vision of a giant hamburger floated in front of my eyes and I said “that’s it, a sign from God ” . So ended my vegetarian and AHIMSA period. It had lasted three months.

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“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”
― Albert Einstein

So how do we survive our innate instincts to lash out and destroy that which we don’t understand or feel threatened by? The conclusion I have come to is to treat human life as sacred. I have a feeling of awe and reverence towards human life. I remind myself of the miracle of conception and the baby taking form within the womb, growing cell by cell possibly evolving into an Einstein or Madame Curie. I meditate on what a unique being I am, a whole micro eco system thriving within my body. I never to cease to wonder at the working of the brain, of being conscious and self-aware.  We should all be self aware, to be the ripple in the pond reaching out trying to improve the conditions of life wherever we go.  This includes acting positively on social media when our instincts want to lash out.

I don’t know if we need new institutions but we certainly need to renew present institutions. Religious institutions needs to evaluate its dogmas and update them in light of modern discoveries instead of being stuck in the past. They need to put its followers before the preservation of the institution. Political ideologies need to tone down their rhetoric and not be so polarizing. We should order our civilizations around ideas that are species preserving, life preserving and life advancing. Nietzsche’s ideas not mine. We have to try because our technological achievements are outstripping our mental capacity to keep pace. If we have evolved over the last 200,000 years, how are we evolving into the future? Have we reached our evolutionary limit? Can we progress and overcome our base natures before we destroy ourselves? I am somewhat optimistic. All I can do is ensure I do my best to evolve in my thinking and actions, and the rest is up to how others behave. I like the concept of building the City of God. But I’m going off topic. I’ll have to save that for another day.

 

“To Thine Own Self Be True”

Last week I left a comment on Sabrina33 blog as follows, ” Great blog Sabrina and so very true. Everyone needs friends they can rely on, who will tell them tWP_20180801_17_11_37_Prohe truth and support them. Keep on telling your truths. ”  I had no sooner pressed the send button when my mind went into overdrive, ‘why did I say that’, ‘do I even know what truth is’, and so have spent the last few days thinking on what do I mean by truth. I came up with a whole bunch of ideas and tried to distinguish truth from opinion from assumption. I eventually collapsed in hopeless confusion. Reviving myself after a few minutes I jumped up,  reached for the bottle of vodka, poured a shot and stared into space for additional inspiration. I then decided on three truths that were very self evident to me, typed them up and placed them on the fridge.

When I commented to Sabrina “speak your truth” I think I was saying be authentic in your speech and writing. Don’t be pretentious but sincere and honest and real. Of course if you want to do this you have to know yourself. You have to have a set of values and you have to incorporate these values into your being. For isn’t truth being in accord with a fact or reality. So if you don’t make your truth the reality of your being then you are just acting upon life’s stage, playing a character other then yourself.

Here’s a quote from Oscar Wilde, “Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else’s opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation. ”

I blogged a while ago on my “Red Pill” moment, when someone I was following on Twitter supposedly a devout Christian, who was taking a doctorate in theology, made fun of someone crying about the human race in a moment of despair. That Twitter person had read a whole lot of assumptions and opinions on being a Christian but hadn’t absorbed the truth of it. But who’s perfect.

Is there a universal truth. I don’t really know though I was fond of asking this question when interrogating priests in my youth. They would just repeat Catholic dogmas…..and perhaps some of these are truths. I do know that certain truths can change over time and things I once held to be true are no longer true. They are no longer true because I put them to the test and they failed the test. So we come back to having to live our truths because if we don’t try them out we don’t know whether they are truths and so we are just playing a role. It’s the same as practicing Lectio Divina. Chewing on a phrase from the bible. Reading the phrase a number of times, meditating on the phrase and taking the meaning into your soul. That’s what we have to do with our truths.

The title of this blog is from Shakespeare:

This above all; to thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man.

This quote is from Polonius in Hamlet. This sounds serious but in the context of the play Polonius was a self absorbed rambler in his speech who gave long winded advice.

I discovered a great three minute cartoon on YouTube today with loads of meaning. I encourage you to check it out ” This Land is Mine” by Nina Paley. I also checked her out on ninapaley.com.

I think my next three blogs will be on my three truths/values described above. I hope this hasn’t been too long winded.