Waking up to nature
For thousands of years we’ve gradually separated ourselves form nature, believing we’re better than it. We need to wake up.
The image above is from David Attenborough’s latest production on Netflix, highlighting the brilliance of nature in all its wonderful glory. This particular incredible piece of nature-design is a flower which attracts bees with the aroma the bee wants to use to attract a mate. Unknown to the bee, it’s about to land on a flower with a slippery coating. The bee ends up in the bottom of the flower cup where its only means of escape is through a small tunnel. As the bee re-enters the world from the tunnel (as it’s doing in the pic) the flower sticks a couple of pollen pads on its back for it to carry to another flower. Plus the bee now smells of the lovely smell from the slippery liquid which it wanted to attract a mate with. One of the best win-wins I’ve ever heard of.
When I see these incredibly beautiful, intelligent designs which happen all over our planet, and which we probably don’t even know the half of, I just feel an unfathomable sense of “how dare we!”.
Beginning around 12,000 years ago, in the first stage of agricultural revolution, we started to own land and people. We started to disconnect from the nature from which we had come and with which we’d lived in harmony till then. We began to change our relationship to it, as though we were “better than” just because we had a pre-frontal cortex. We began to shift to a mindset of take, and from a very limited perspective on the world.
In losing our connection with nature we lost our connection with ourselves. We forgot that we too are nature. We are made of the same stuff as the bee and the flower. We are powered by the same energy that powers and grows and moves all things. Flowers turning their faces to the sun happens through the same energy that grows tree roots around rocks and grows babies from a tiny egg. Our clever thinking is not the power house of all action that we think it is.
We’re not better than nature.
Most of our great inventions and designs came, and still come, from inspiration in the natural world.
So yes, we have an intelligence that enables us to understand the mechanisms, the parts, the building blocks. From there our intellectual mind can reconfigure those building blocks into something new and different. It can work out ways to improve the blocks, change them or heal them.
But these blocks are not the full story, they’re just the part we can perceive and we are just one small cog in a hugely intelligent natural system.
In not seeing this we’ve ploughed on and messed with this beautiful place without consideration for our impact. No awareness of the whole. Our intellectual mind believing its own hype, unaware that it can only handle limiting and limited concepts. Unaware that there’s a smarter system and a wiser mind running the show.
So in forgetting nature, we forgot where we came from, we’ve been believing in self above all else and we’ve moved oursleves to this place of intense insecurity and desperate seeking. So far away from our roots, but with an echo of knowing that it’s not meant to be like this. An echo that being OK is our natural state. We’ve just been looking in the wrong place.
My hope now is that we wake up to the suffering we’ve created inside ourselves because from there we can act from compassion to do whatever needs to be done.
As well as One Planet, I was inspired to write this after listening to these two podcasts. Have a listen if you’re interested too. Russell Brand’s podcast episode with Wendy Mandy, and Deepak Chopra’s with Dr Jane Goodall.