Waging War with Yourself,
Our Earth is dying. Anyone who can see fact from fiction can see that our planet lies “bleeding to death at their feet.” (84) Broken and ravaged she whimpers, pleading, begging us to stop raping her, yet we can’t hear her cries, for we are too frenzied with the act of desecrating her body to stop our cataclysmic actions. We thrust into Gaia, defiling her, laying waste to her, killing her. Bloodied and tear-stained she muffles a sob for us to stop; can you hear her? Man needs to realize that truly he is raping all things in existence including himself. The illusion of self is causing mankind to wage a war with the earth, yet man must realize that there is no separation between himself and the world, this illusion of separation is causing the destruction of life on planet earth.
Daniel Quinn, in his book Ishmael, gives us some very interesting philosophies and ideas. First off let’s take a look at the Taker philosophy, and what exactly it is. Taker Philosophy: the idea that the one embodying this ideology is somehow superior and more valuable than all other creatures. Thus those with this ideology have the right to literally seize anything they have the ability to acquire. This usually is actualized in the theft of land or resources, usually resulting in death for the original proprietor or inhabitants of said land or resources. Now in the vast majority of cases the entities inhabiting the land in question traversed multiple species of plant and animal, and lived in a symbiotic relationship with their fellow inhabitants, resulting in a thriving ecosystem. The practitioners of this Taker ideology live in accord with what could be called the Warrior’s law. So embedded in the explanation of the Taker philosophy we see the Leaver philosophy. Leaver Philosophy: Those embodying this ideology take what is needed, nothing more. They feel they are part of a greater web of life, and do what they can to nourish this web. They live in harmony with the other entities around them, striving for a mutually beneficial symbiotic relationship. The practitioners of this Leaver ideology live in accord with the Peace keeping law.
Within these two philosophies we have the emergence of two very contrasting laws. These laws are the basis of their respective ideology, thus embodying that philosophy completely. The product of each philosophy is a direct result of their respective laws. Peace keeping law: “You may compete to the full extent of your capabilities, but you may not hunt down your competitors or destroy their food or deny them access to food. In other words, you may compete but you may not wage war” (pg. 129). “Take what you need, and leave the rest alone” (pg. 127). Then we have what could be called the Warrior’s law: “Deny…competitors access to all the food in the world.” (pg.128) “Exterminate…competitors.” (pg. 126)
So we have Taker and Leaver. One bent on destroying the world, the other on living peacefully, part of a greater whole. Now the Taker ideology is an adaptation of the Leaver philosophy. And due to its fundamental nature the Taker ideology has nearly wiped out all remnants of the human Leaver population and severely devastated the non-human Leaver population. In the Lakota language, “White man” translates to: those who take everything. Yet nowadays it’s not so much the Whiteman, but the mentality of the Whiteman, the Taker mentality. Taker ideology puts men at war with earth, and everything on it. To a Taker “the world is a foe to be conquered, they will conquer it like a foe, and one day, inevitably, their foe will lie bleeding to death at their feet, as the world is now.” (pg. 84) To truly conquer earth one must be at war with everything. And in doing so one would be at war with the very nature of one’s own innermost being. “Man did not weave the web of life; he is merely a strand in it. Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself.” (Chief Seattle) So in waging war with the world, he wages war with his own existence. This is because the world is not something other than he. Man is striving to understand himself, yet what he needs to realize is that he will never be able to find what he is looking for if he searches outside himself. To truly know himself he has to realize that he does not exist separately from the whole of creation; by imposing the fantasy of separation of self mankind is only creating suffering.
The myth of self is nothing but a chimera, humanity has no identity outside the identity of the world and universe. People like to think they are special, and somehow superior to the rest of creation, yet this is fantasy. Anatma shows us that we have no self; we are not separate in any way from the rest of creation. We arise from a series of conditions which are intimately connected to all things. Throughout our lives we are nourished and supported by this matrix of life, and one day we shall return to our primordial nature, donning our original faces, the faces we had before birth. To go against this truth is delusion, and horribly self destructive. Yet what is destructive for man, or the world, is destructive for all things in existence.
Everything is interconnected; one action effects all things everywhere. The Diamond Net of Indra shows us that any and every action has an intimate correspondence on all things in existence. So when humanity acting from a place of delusion wages war with the earth, they really wage war with everything, and all things are effected by this destructive act. Mankind must realize the horrible consequences of his actions, he must see the interconnectedness of the universe or soon all shall be lost.
And so now, after several thousand years of heated battle, man is beginning to win this horrible battle; earth is dying, thus so is all life on earth. “We’ve poured out poisons into the world as though it were a bottomless pit- and we go on pouring our poisons into the world. We’ve gobbled up irreplaceable resources as though they could never run out-and we go on gobbling them up. It’s hard to imagine how the world could survive another century of this abuse, but nobody’s really doing anything about it.” (pg. 80) It took much to get her here, broken and crying. Yet here she is, lying before the feet of man, broken and bleeding. And man is faced with a question: Will he finish her here and now, killing her and thus all life; or will he look down with eyes opened, in an illumination of the understanding of his role on planet earth? Man must realize that the broken body truly is his; truly he is lying broken and bleeding on the ground. There is no difference between himself and the earth, when he poisons the earth he is poisoning his own body, poisoning the web of life of which he is only a strand.
Man as yet has been uninspired to change, even though it’s painfully obvious that we are headed to certain destruction if we hold to this illusion of self, and separation from the web of life. What could possibly inspire people to fundamentally change their way of life? Could it be that people need to be inspired with a bright image for the future? People need to be inspired to act, not with guilt or shame but with hope. “People need more than to be scolded, more than to be made to feel stupid and guilty. They need more than a vision of doom. They need a vision of the world and of themselves that inspires them.” (pg. 243 – 244) And “Stopping Pollution is not inspiring. Sorting your trash is not inspiring. Cutting down on Fluorocarbons is not inspiring. But this…thinking of ourselves in a new way, thinking of the world in a new way…this…” (pg. 244) Might be just what mankind needs to become inspired to reevaluate his relationship to the world. When given a majestic hope for the future mankind might just do what it takes to save the world, and themselves.
Man must utilize the Peace keeping law in his creation of a new way of life, in his creation of a new civilization. If this is done, not only would man thrive on planet earth, but so would all species, animal, plant and even mineral. The only way for man to truly prosper is if he is part of a global community of harmony where all life works together to progress towards the goal of perfection. So if man could implement the peace keeping law then, “His destiny is to be the father of them all – I don’t mean by direct descent. By giving all the rest their chance- the whales and the dolphins and the chimps and the raccoons- he becomes in some sense their progenitor…oddly enough, it’s even grander than the destiny the Taker dreamed up for us.” (pg.242) “And maybe, when the time comes, it’s man’s place to be the teacher of all the rest who are capable of becoming what he’s become. Not the only teacher, not the ultimate teacher. Maybe only the first teacher…But even that wouldn’t be too shabby.” (pg. 243) Man would be the first among many intelligent beings on earth. And it all would have been possible because man saw the follies of the Warrior’s law, and decided to once again join his brother and sisters in the web of life, even though he had never truly left. For Humanity to build a lasting and prosperous civilization he will have to encompass a symbiotic relationship between a diversity of species, yet for this to occur, man will have to embrace the Leaver philosophy, thus relinquishing the Taker philosophy along with our sense of ego and self superiority.
Man is chasing after a phantom, his ego is just illusion, and until he can approach the world from a state of no-self he will continue to wage war against the planet. Yet, due to the nature of no-self and the interconnected nature of the world, man will need to be at peace with himself if he ever wants to achieve peace with the world. Because in the instant that man become at peace with himself he too will become at peace with all things in the cosmos. Man must realize that he is not only the rapist but also the rape victim. Because when mankind wages war with the world, truly he is waging a war with himself; and if man cannot realize that he does not exist separately from the world then not only will man perish by his own hand, but also by the hand of man will the earth be set ablaze.