Paradise Lost

May 1, 2011

I was musing on humankind’s relationship with Nature, and it struck me forcibly that humankind’s need to dominate the environment is the source of much of the problems our planet faces now. Ohter animals, and humanity, in days gone by, were part of the environment, and accepted it as such; they have (had) no need to tame what was around them. But humankind…has become different. We need to tame the trees to manageable proportions, we need to tame plants to give us food, we need to tame animals to do our work for us…and we need to tame the forces of Nature to do our bidding, too. Development, to us, is not the sustainable path of use that can be cyclically replenished, but the “let’s take more” model that lands us in difficulties. We don’t want certain animals, and birds, and insects, and organisms, near us, or in us…. we work to eliminate them. We want others for our own short-term needs (or just desires)..and in the process, almost eliminate them. We want a particular thing and don’t seem to count the cost of getting it by eliminating others. We build a pyramidal model of dependence, and are surprised that it is not sustainable. We break the interconnected web of existence…and exclaim when it floats in tatters around us.

I think the Biblical “Loss of Eden” refers not to any physical casting out from a beautiful garden, but to the loss that our own lack of understanding of who we are, and what we are part of. Our greed, and our need to dominate what is, ultimately, indomitable…is what is causing much of the major problems we see Earth facing today.