When Humans Encounter “End Times”, We Need Each Other More
We may have to avoid crowds, but we must embrace humanity
Moving through an uncertain terrain
My husband and I just returned from a business trip for a project in Washington state. As we left, the ninth death in the USA, all in the Seattle area, was announced.
When we began the trip, we were aware that the coronavirus, Covid 19, could impact our travel plans. I packed the hand sanitizer. He, being a bit overly cautious, perhaps, sought out the surgical masks. We never needed them, it’s only the sick and care-givers who need them the most.
We hear the experts advise hand-washing: soap and water, 20 seconds, frequently. That, avoid proximity to anyone coughing, sneezing, or wheezing. Covid 19 spreads primarily through respiratory transmission.
We knew we had to avoid crowds, but hold on to our human belonging, somehow.
Lately, in the news, the stakes for protecting a sustainable world are high. We have a mess in our flailing democratic processes. Then there is the simple truth that no one knows every inter-connected problems we will encounter as everything from commerce to travel are disrupted.
In Washington, as elsewhere, floods wreaked havoc last month.
Yet, Nature is on your side
Nature, the creation, constantly strives to balance. The beauty and biodiversity that Nature creates make every being on Earth possible. She also provides big brains with which we can choose to protect and defend all life, or we can choose to neglect it.
Yes, it can be depressing to think about all of the negatives right now. But, just to help me through, and provide a reality check, I remember that landslides are predictable. Gravity is predictable. Nature, to be precise, is completely reliable, at least in patterns, even when human behavior is not.
Science and medicine are astonishing. The love of the tireless is inspiring. But, the resilience of Nature outlives all of that and all of us.
This is reassuring. When we look at nature and nature’s laws, we have a solid anchor in something completely real. We have a foundation that sits at the solid core of our being while whole galaxies swirl on, out there, all around us.
I don’t worry too much about the distressing stuff in the world when we are in Washington. I am in a healing place, remote and quiet. When we return to freeways and cities, however, the sadness of more victims, as well as the relief to be bound for home again commingle sorrow with relief.
Even in a cramped cabin with no indoor plumbing, I cannot express how fortunate I feel to wake up in the cold morning and look out across a dawning sun spilling light all over the glittering snow-capped Cascade mountains.
Depending upon where you live, you can do the same. Look up. See the sky and count the blessings bestowed by each new morning.
Hey, (insert insult here), you’re the same as me!
All humans are family.
You may be my polar opposite politically. Or you may be of a different faith, hue, or gender. But, no matter your tribe, or lack thereof, you and I are homo sapiens. We are of one race. We are connected. Even in all the areas where we differ, we are much more the same than we are different.
Scapegoating is never the answer when tragedy hits. Cooperation, symbiosis, networking, as nature teaches, is a better template.
You and I breathe the same molecules. We are made of the same food, air, water that circulates endlessly at nature’s bidding. We share DNA. We depend on birds and bees, and flowers and trees. We all do. No exceptions. Our people are working on robotics and artificial intelligence, and bio-engineering, to be sure, but even these are a sort of shared children of our creation from the materials the creation itself supplies.
There’s still some time, I predict before our robot overlords take the world stage. Meanwhile, it’s up to our ability to learn our shared, core humanity, which will determine what happens next.
The fight for justice in an unfair world drives the constant change of the human arc. Nature works, instead, in cycles. We live in systems based on circulating air, water, soil, and ecosystems. We are all within the same exquisite web of life.
You cannot be different from me, even if you are called the worst epitaphs, or rude names: Repug. Libtard. Or worse. Or whatever. We, no matter what, are fundamentally the same type of hominid. Let’s say you think that men are superior to women, or whites are superior to blacks. You may think that you are in control through domination, but the world and nature’s realm does not care what you think.
Nature ensures every choice has an outcome. We just need to choose wisely. Sharing compassion to cope with our problems is key.
Evil stereotypes aside, I am certain that most people are not supremacists. Even if they are, they certainly don’t see that about themselves. We may as well take the time to find common ground, both metaphorically, and literally, because it is always present.
Follow your heart
I do not know all the ways that you are different from me. I don’t know if we are going to do enough — this week — about disease, or refugees, or the next giant fires and floods, or about inequality itself, but I know you have a human heart that beats for those you love.
Follow your beliefs. Stay determined in your ethics and morals. But it is useful to note, I think, that your differing beliefs cannot change the physical reality of our shared existence on a plane of biodiversity and eternal evolution.
Do you choose to rely on God or your hero candidate to change the world? Go ahead, and follow your heart. But know that as you do, that not everyone believes in a God or a hero. But there is no one on Earth who doesn’t believe in the sky, sea, land, and the life that it generates. My life. Your life. All life in the known universe.
I think if you truly follow your heart, the truth will sing to you in birdsong. The voice of God will murmur among the life-giving forests. All awe, beauty, and inspiration — whether you describe it as “God” or “nature” — will whisper in your ear that nothing you believe can change the nature of reality that is our immensely unique place among the stars.
Nature is going to provide air, water, food and shelter in equal measure. Certainly, taking power over others disrupts this constant. Nevertheless, the trees will provide oxygen to the rich and the poor without regard to their imagined status. The clouds will bless us all with fresh water without regard to who you voted for, or what you stand for.
Do some want more than their share? Yes, but it’s up to each person to strive for fairness.
Have a bigger family
As mentioned, I think you love your family. That is grand.
Now just extend your family to include a larger one. Eventually, petty tribalism dismissed, allows us to see all people are family. Even beyond that, humanism does not go far enough. We need to support the biosphere that is our bigger family. Science, nature and common sense will convince you of this.
Nature is full of self-correcting mechanisms, which with our defense of her, could make a huge difference for your survival and mine. It is not hard to imagine water wars of the future, for example, when water insecurity complicates already strained relationships we have between the haves and the have nots. Follow your heart, to share, and to follow nature’s example.
Nature, if we adhere to her ways, demonstrates that there are ways to conserve, share, innovate, cooperate, and succeed. By looking at her systems of a cycle and recycle, there is wisdom for the ages. We just need to tap into it.
Everything you need to know can be found in nature
To cooperate, to conserve the wild, and preserve the sacred, we need to stay aware that population crashes, do happen. We can control our over-consumption through thousands of many means, including promoting equality, or we can ignore the coming disasters that crash it all down.
International cooperation to share science, medicine, transport, and expertise has never been more needed.
The four horsemen of the apocalypse, hunger, famine, pestilence and war, are already galloping all about in different neighborhoods of your home planet. But, only our species, our shared species, has the natural given ability to influence this stark situation.
Nature tells us this.
We are in trouble with extremes of climate-related weather events, and slower, surer, coastal erosion, longer fire seasons, bio loss, and of course, epidemics such as Covid 19. The power imbalance between wealth and poverty is raw. This spills out onto tremendous political division right now.
It’s more important than ever before to seek out human nature, and external nature. Know that nature is here for you. Only if we step up to defend our life support system, will we be certain our life support system is reliably there for us as a team: Team Earth.