Thoughts and Musings, Can We Find Balance?

I was lying in bed today, (I'm a night-shift nurse, so my nights and days are backwards from most "normal" people) thinking about one of the themes I wanted to stress from "The Elegance of Nature-Prophecies of the New World." I realized, with sudden clarity, that one of those themes was embodied within this passage from Chapter 13.

"He learned to observe the world around him, silently watching, learning from the natural order, from the plants and animals around him, and even from the clouds in the sky. Part of being of The People, he decided, was understanding the nature of their Mother, the Earth. Man was never meant to be above the Earth, to "rule over" the Earth. To be of the People, one must understand they are part of everything."

This has long been a central theme within my own life, but I feel it is something that needs to be stressed, especially given the state of affairs within the United States. We are living in an odd time it seems, as we watch the great melting pot of America simmering to a boil of anti-immigrant hatred, blatant racism, xenophobia, and religious self-righteousness. On television, or in person, we see  political rallies where people are removed simply because they appear different from the majority of those in attendance. We're observing the progress that has been made over the past few decades, progress in moving away from racism and hatred of others, eroding away under the guise of "speaking your mind" in order to "make America great again." We're in the midst of watching an entire religious belief system become demonized because of the actions of a few radical extremists, and I can't help but wonder what things would be like if the relative positions of these religious factions were reversed. Would there not be even more radical actions because, well, "my God is greater than Your God."

To make matters worse, we are living in a time, perhaps similar to the dark ages, wherein "belief" in something is required for it to be "real." If a peer reviewed and verifiable scientific discovery does not fall within one's own worldview, then that discovery must not be true. Yes, I'm referring to climate change, a well documented and studied phenomenon that somehow falls into the realm of "belief," despite 97% of scientists coming to a consensus of the effects of man-made climate change. We have large subsections of our population who are willing to either willfully disbelieve the data or blindly believe those few scientists who disagree with the overwhelming consensus. (most likely due to large infusions of cash from a few select industries who benefit from this) Based on this willingness to ignore facts due to disbelief, we have these same large subsections of our population willing to continue destroying the delicate ecosystem of the planet in order to continue building/growing the machinations of the economic system because we can't possibly stop growing, where's the money in that? Growth is what we do here in America, regardless of whether its necessary or prudent, we grow, so our billionaires and wannabe billionaires can make more money...because money IS what makes the world go round right? It's not about gravity, or ecology, or any kind of real science...its money.. because without money there wouldn't be science... which reminds me of a quote...

"Money has never made man happy, nor will it, there is nothing in its nature to produce happiness. The more of it one has the more one wants."-- Benjamin Franklin

I remember a discussion in my 12th Grade history class, which by the way was probably the year I learned more about life than the previous 11 years in school, led by our teacher, Mr. Bruce Cunningham. Bruce was a stern man, straight to business and more demanding of us as students than any other teacher we'd ever had. His class was required to graduate from our High School, so there was no getting around Bruce Cunningham's history class, and he knew it. He took the time to introduce us to real life through projects designed to make us face the harsh realities of the world we were getting ready to step into. One of those projects focused on the stock market, how it worked, what the numbers meant, and how to make it work for us. The Dow Jones Industrial average at the time was at 6,400. "It might one day climb as high as 7,000 or 8,000," Mr. Cunningham said, "but that day will be a long way off." In February of 1997, just three years later, the Dow Jones Industrial Average crested 10,000, and I realized the economy Mr. Cunningham had talked about was really a living, breathing entity with its own semi-sentience. (Perhaps economists should be required to have a degree in biology too) We, as Americans driven by the idea that capitalism has the answers to all our problems, continue to feed growth hormones to the beast we call an economy, even as we ignore the warnings of whats to come if it continues to grow beyond the means of manageability.

My point in all this is that we are not happy, and seemingly cannot be happy, unless we continue to grow, to expand, to continue filling this world of ours with ever increasing numbers of resource hungry human beings who do not recognize, or refuse to see, their place within nature's delicate landscape. We grow our economy and we grow our population because more population drives more jobs, more jobs drives more economic growth for the beast, which in turn drives more profits for those trying to hold the leash of the beast. In the words of one of my favorite movie characters:

"I'd like to share a revelation that I've had during my time here. It came to me when I tried to classify your species and I realized that you're not actually mammals. Every mammal on this planet instinctively develops a natural equilibrium with the surrounding environment but you humans do not. You move to an area and you multiply and multiply until every natural resource is consumed and the only way you can survive is to spread to another area. There is another organism on this planet that follows the same pattern. Do you know what it is? A virus. Human beings are a disease, a cancer of this planet..."--Agent Smith

Maybe it's time we learned to curb our cancerous tendencies, to find our place within the delicate balance of nature, to help bring balance to a scale that we have overwhelmingly tipped in our behalf. Maybe we should be stewards of the earth, realizing that we cannot own the Earth. We're only here for a short time, but the legacy we leave for our children and grandchildren will persist long after whatever sums are accumulated in the digital bank accounts of today's world.

To quote another character from the same movie above:
"Bingo. It is a pickle. No doubt about it. The bad news is there's no way if you can really know whether I'm here to help you or not, so it's really up to you. You just have to make up you on damned mind to either accept what I'm going to tell you, or reject it."--The Oracle

Royce Sears