The word ‘decimation’ has its roots in the brutal Roman practice of punishing military units guilty of cowardice, mutiny or desertion by putting to death every tenth man. A UN report just came out stating that of the 8 million animals and plants on earth, man is on the verge of wiping out a million. Man is literally decimating the earth.
Pause a moment to reflect: We humans, a sentient species, are consciously bringing about the 6th mass extinction in the 3.5 billion-year history of life on earth! That a species whose brain is the highest expression of evolution on this planet is doing so is a terrible conundrum, a spiritual and philosophical challenge of the highest order.
How can it be that a potentially sapient species (we call ourselves Homo sapiens after all), which evolved on this earth along with all other life, could be such a destructive factor to the diversity of life on earth?
I began asking that question nearly 50 years ago, and after 15 years of persistent, even obsessive questioning and study, had some original insight that resolved the conundrum, at least at the philosophical level.
I submitted my insights to the smartest man in the world I knew, a physicist-philosopher Einstein called his spiritual and intellectual son, David Bohm. He concurred, saying I had resolved what used to be called “the riddle of man.” But he advised: “Don’t make another philosophical system out of it.” I knew what he meant, and didn’t.
Clearly, the roots of the present crisis lie much deeper than the Agricultural, Industrial and Scientific Revolutions. It’s just come to a head during the Digital Revolution.
After all, prehistoric hunters using spears and atlatls probably drove the megafauna in the Americas—woolly mammoths, mastodons, giant sloths and dire wolves for example—into extinction. So even during indigenous times, humans diminished the diversity of life on earth.
The difference is that indigenous people intuited that humans were a very different kind of species, separate because we separate things, foolishly making ourselves a creature apart.
Therefore native peoples constrained and contextualized man’s separative tendencies through mythology and tradition. But man’s fragmenting bent was lurking underneath, waiting for the scientific, technological and digital revolutions to unleash the sorcerer’s apprentice of separation and fragmentation.
Most people now realize that no political or economic program, no leader or group of leaders, and no appeal to human sentiment or self-interest can provide an adequate response to the crisis of consciousness. More and more people are coming to understand that the resolution is not outside us, in our political and economic systems, but within, in human consciousness itself.
A British chemist, who served as the chair of the UN’s Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, Robert Watson, declared that the precipitous decline in biodiversity (the Sixth Extinction) at human hands is “eroding the foundations of our economies, livelihoods, food security, health and quality of life worldwide.”
But practically in the next breath he buckled under to conventional thinking, and added, “We care about nature, but we care about human well-being. We need to link it to human well-being…otherwise we’re going to look like a bunch of tree-huggers.”
As long as scientists have to apologize for having a deep feeling for the diversity of life on this incredibly beautiful planet, man will continue destroying it. Scientists have to decide whether they care more about the earth, or how they look in publishing the facts regarding what man is doing to the earth.
Watson’s remarks reek of dualism and anthropocentrism. They are all the more egregious because scientists should know better, should consciously understand what indigenous peoples intuited for thousands of years—that appeals to self-interest only fuel the pursuit of profits over the planet.
If anyone has to tell you why the decimation of the earth should matter to you, you’re too far gone to reach or matter at this point.
It was no coincidence that America’s moronic Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo (a name that reverberates with an ancient disaster, and will ring with future infamy), was in the Arctic today lauding the opening up of shipping lanes and fast-thawing regions for oil and mineral extraction, even as the Trump Administration denies climate change is even happening! It’s evidence once again that the goal of man-made evil is the complete destruction of the earth and the human spirit.
Humankind’s conscious evolutionary leap from a fragmenting consciousness based on thought (separation, symbol and memory), to holistic consciousness based on insight (direct perception, stillness and attention) is being driven by our own destructiveness as a species.
Scale is irrelevant. Each of us contains the totality of human consciousness within us in microcosm. Therefore as we radically change, we affect the totality.
Lefevremartin77 at gmail.com