While scientists at our universities frantically try to crack the secrets of life in the service of financial profit, there is blindness to the crisis at hand. A crisis arguably created by the thoughtless embrace of advancing technology, leaving torn ecosystems, toxins, cancer and other new diseases, pollution, loss of topsoil, extinctions, climate change, and dying fish in its wake. Science, as it is practiced now, is not going to get us out of the fix it has gotten us into.
We need a shift in our understanding of “nature”. It is difficult to conceptualize and articulate what is missing from inside of the paradigm we inherited. It has something to do with relation, wholeness, spirit. We have lost part of the hoop of wisdom and it is hard to know what is still recoverable.
It’s not just that science needs to look at different things; we need a whole new approach to understanding our world. Scientists are the priests of the current religion of the world elite and have so narrowed their means of understanding that they are now missing the whole. It is not only that science is currently under the employ of capitalism; it is that science has discovered how to manipulate parts of nature but is woefully ignorant of the depth of the Weaving of Life. This is the web of life unraveling. To understand it we need to know ourselves as part of this whole and embrace the mystery as integral. The science that believes itself to be objective and rational leaves out poetry, magic and beauty and cannot lead us to the reweaving we need to survive.
Science has generally approached nature by capturing, manipulating, dissecting. Nature will not reveal her beauty and truth this way. How many hawks do you have to trap in your net and shackle before you understand the magnificence of their soar? How can we discover the wonders of nature by observing it in freedom? How must we be free ourselves to do so?
My heart aches to know what is happening to the animals in laboratories. How have we come this far astray? Are experimenters trapped in the same way, deprived of natural light and air? Do rats heal with love? How are they different when they are living free…running through tunnels of a nest of different plant branches collected and placed for decades by their ancestors? Can you hear them? Does their spirit talk to yours? What if you were both free and wild? What would you say to them? How about ants? Slow down and watch them communicate. What are they doing? How are we connected? How are we kin? How shall we live together?
Wake up humans! What matters is the soil that grows the food and the health of the life in the soil. We got lost down the microscope, discovering the world of small and seeing — then manipulating — nature’s building blocks. How miraculous. Nature has patterns but, tunneling to decipher the codes, we are lost; we forget where we are. We need to stand up from the microscope, stretch and reconnect, remember, reunite with the whole of which we are part and breathe. We need to notice the beauty in nature, observe her rather than dissect her, court her with respect and patience.
Science went awry, following the cold logic of Bacon and Descartes that saw nature as separate and inanimate, as something to control. In a different history we might have followed Novalis and Goethe, who approached nature respectfully, enticing her as a lover, to reveal some of her mystery. Can we find a way to re-embrace nature as beloved kin? Can we unhitch from the track of logic that leads to our predictable demise? What would it look like, this wooing, courting of nature to work with her?
It would look like free time to sit in nature, still, listening, watching, smelling, feeling. Listen, listening, lightening the load. Observing, protecting, enhancing wild places, creating space for diverse species to thrive and adapt. It would look like permaculture, living systems; like wild, diverse poly-cultures, and wetlands to revitalize water we have pooped in. Localized diverse agriculture, rooftop gardens, compost, and bio-remediation. It would look like prayer and sacred respect, honoring, participating in the cycles. It would look like simplifying, slowing and deep remembering.
Open yourself to evolve with life on earth. Let birdsong in your heart.