7. Everything Will Change

“Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand”

— Albert Einstein

Wayne Dyer, the noted self-help author and motivational speaker once said[1],

“When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.”

That is precisely what our story does by reversing the mainstream perspective. Instead of humans controlling Nature, in our story, Nature had been controlling humans all along, putting us to work developing the tools and technologies that were necessary to create a fast feedback mechanism for prolonging Life at the inner edge of the Habitable Zone. Therefore, Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s wise words from the Social Contract applies to us at a species level[2]:

“Man is born free, and everywhere he’s in chains. One believes himself the master of others, who nevertheless is more a slave than they.”

In our story, humans were allowed to commandeer Nature’s treasures, including fossil fuels and other species, but on a transient basis in our tool building, Caterpillar phase. Though we enslaved animals en masse, we were really more slaves than they, especially in our technological society. We were wage slaves, debt slaves or just plain slaves to our own ambitions and desires. The more we tried to control Nature to produce monocultures to our liking, the more super weeds, super bugs and zoonotic diseases that Nature created to keep us frozen in a high state of anxiety. Now, we’re receiving signals from Nature that our frenzied tool-building phase is over and that it is time to free ourselves from our invisible chains, repair the collateral damage that has occurred and heal the planet and ourselves.

HEAL is literally an acronym for Human, Earth and Animal Liberation. For a sustainable human presence on Earth would be truly liberated and nonviolent, in all respects.

This formulation of the human story fits the known facts just as well as the typical “gloom and doom” environmental stories, while putting the trials and tribulations of our fellow beings and our ancestors in a different light. Our fellow beings have suffered tremendously at our hands over the past 200,000 years. It is now time for us to ease their suffering and nurse them back to health. Our ancestors were like sculptors working on various aspects of a multi-generational, long-term, technological project. It is only now that we can begin to see the fruits of their endeavors come together. While many realized souls among our ancestors recognized the misery and suffering in our enslaved human condition and even showed us how to free ourselves, an inner compulsion drove us to pay lip service to their teachings and complete this multi-generational project. For the good of all Life!

Today, many of us have been feeling divided, dejected and depressed by our socioeconomic and environmental crises. But in our story, there are no billionaires, foreigners or “freeloaders” to blame for the difficulties that we face today. It is only when we stop assigning blame for our perceived difficulties that we can come together to do the needful – a radical transformation of our socioeconomic system, from consumption to compassion as an organizing value, and from competition to collaboration as an organizing principle.

Just over a hundred years ago, Mahatma Gandhi faced the same situation in his beloved India – a people divided, dejected and demoralized by their British colonial rulers. Gandhi wrote his famous monograph, Hind Swaraj or Indian Home Rule[3] in 1909, to perk up his countrymen and instill in them a sense of pride for their culture and traditions. The British colonial rulers of India banned the book, which naturally made it an instant best seller! In the book, Gandhi addressed the prevailing narrative of the colonizers that Indians were intellectually inferior since they weren’t leading the scientific and industrial revolution in the world. He pointed out that true happiness is only rudimentarily dependent on the material comforts that the scientific and industrial revolution was enhancing at the expense of our spiritual disconnection and therefore, Indians should be teaching others, rather than learning from others:

“Civilization is that mode of conduct which points out to man the path of duty. Performance of duty and observance of morality are convertible terms. To observe morality is to attain mastery over our mind and our passions. So doing, we know ourselves. The Gujarati equivalent for civilization means “good conduct”.

If this definition be correct, then India, as so many writers have shown, has nothing to learn from anybody else, and this is as it should be. We notice that the mind is a restless bird; the more it gets the more it wants, and still remains unsatisfied. The more we indulge our passions the more unbridled they become. Our ancestors, therefore, set a limit to our indulgences. They saw that happiness was largely a mental condition. A man is not necessarily happy because he is rich, or unhappy because he is poor. The rich are often seen to be unhappy, the poor to be happy. Millions will always remain poor. Observing all this, our ancestors dissuaded us from luxuries and pleasures. We have managed with the same kind of plough as existed thousands of years ago. We have retained the same kind of cottages that we had in former times and our indigenous education remains the same as before. We have had no system of life corroding competition. Each followed his own occupation or trade and charged a regulation wage. It was not that we did not know how to invent machinery, but our forefathers knew that, if we set our hearts after such things, we would become slaves and lose our moral fiber. They therefore, after due deliberation decided that we should only do what we could with our hands and feet. They saw that our real happiness and health consisted in a proper use of our hands and feet. They further reasoned that large cities were a snare and a useless encumbrance and that people would not be happy in them, that there would be gangs of thieves and robbers, prostitution and vice flourishing in them and that poor men would be robbed by rich men. They were, therefore, satisfied with small villages. They saw that kings and their swords were inferior to the sword of ethics, and they, therefore, held the sovereigns of the earth to be inferior to the Rishis and the Fakirs. A nation with a constitution like this is fitter to teach others than to learn from others.”

With that positive formulation of the Indian’s story, he was able to transform Indian attitudes and thus lead the movement to free India from British colonial rule. 

[1] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=urQPraeeY0w

[2]  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Social_Contract

[3] The PDF of an English translation can be found online here: http://www.mkgandhi.org/ebks/hind_swaraj.pdf

6.3 The Sun’s Story
7.1 The Signs of the Metamorphosis
Climate Healers
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