The human experience is as impressive as it is destructive. It’s impressive because of the vast challenges that threaten our existence have been largely meet and overcome. From solving tricky diseases, starvation, and unchecked tyranny to overcoming the severity of extreme climates, let’s face it: humanity has been wildly successful.
Of course, “success” here is measured by the fact that we continue to reproduce ourselves impressively. By this measure, all should be well with us human beings after all we’re well into the 21st century, and if we haven’t figured it out yet perhaps we never will.
As impressive as we may be, many would challenge this narrative of “success” but on what bases? First, we must consider the costs associated with our success by the sheer weight of the lot of us; we’ve grown ourselves to 7 + billion on this single, lonely green and blue planet.
Perhaps it’s time to reflect on the question: “What are the real costs of human civilization?”
Our existence, our very varied ways of living on earth, have in fact wreaked havoc on many other species known and unknown; indeed many have gone extinct owing to our lavish lifestyles. Perhaps this could be justified on the maxim that only “the strong survive” you know, the evolutionary unfolding of limited time within the compression chamber of space and resources.
The idea here is that humans have historically perceived our planet as a mere means to justify our survival and reproduction. We see the world as possessing natural resources like oil, coal, the fruits of the fields and so on, as a thoughtless means to further our own interests at the expense of other living creatures: from plants and trees, seas and oceans to other material goods yet to be discovered. And so it’s true that we are, as a species, “strong” in this evolutionary sense.
But this human-centered philosophy has already started paying its toll on us to such an extent that we already suffer from this dangerous idea that “only the strong will survive.” Ideas can create and destroy.
But how do ideas destroy?
Firstly, think of just how radically unbalanced this human-centered “strong” philosophy really is. Let’s call this “philosophy” Human EGO. Human EGO stresses brute strength without taking into account a more balanced approach that seeks to fit into our external reality rather than just use and dispose it.
This EGO narrative goes like this:
We have developed the side of our human capacity that overcomes many challenges by deploying reason, logic, physics, war technologies, institutional religions and chemistry (think pharmaceuticals). But in the pursuit of using these capacities (as good as they can potentially be) we force ourselves into a state of being radically underdeveloped especially on the more humbly side—you know the side that seeks to fit into our natural environments in both safe and sustainable ways.
To humbly fit with and within our world, we must have the ability to restrain our desires that wants to dominate all things along the destructive path of mere human survival. Lacking the ability to curb our EGO appetite that wants to be “strong” just for the sake of it creates imbalances that over time will eventually undermine our planet’s ability to shelter and nourish. In other words, we humans desperately need to quickly establish a balance between our strength and rational capacities within the orbit that includes other gifts such as compassion and empathy for our planet and all things living.
Stepping back we can easily observe that a certain if not elusive life-giving energy persists in our world—it is in fact a certain form of energy that inhabits all things—bringing the fruits of the field into maturity and harvest as well as indwelling ourselves in a way that gives us life, joy and love. Some refer to this as God. Moreover, these fruits not only give us material essentials such as water, food and resources to flourish and sustain ourselves over time, but they also give us a deeper sense of belonging to something greater then ourselves.
We are thus in an unbreakable relationship with this life-giving energy. And the laws of this relationship, like any relationship, require a responsibility to care for it, to nurture it, and to guard it as if our lives depended on it for the simple reason that our lives do depend on it. This human-centered “strong” EGO philosophy is thus like a partner in a marriage that continually cheats for the sake of immediately satisfying a singular desire at the cost of breaking the bonds of our responsibility to others and even, in a deeper sense, to ourselves. In this case, the “other partner” is this life-giving energy that keeps giving us the gift of life without us humans always appreciating it, caring for it or even acknowledging it.
Isn’t our EGO acting in a way that forces an imminent divorce with life? And doesn’t this divorce only spell out one thing: a certain death to our species? The EGO, it must be kept in mind, survives but it does so only because it can and will never find peace with itself; indeed the EGO hates itself because it refuses to be vulnerable, to be open, to grow and develop connections and feelings.
So what would a healthy relationship with this life-giving energy look like for us human beings? I would suggest that like any relationship it requires us to start thinking of ourselves less selfishly and begin to think and act in accordance with the laws of a relationship, which are much bigger and even stronger than we are. But how do we act within a relationship whose very existence gives us more than mere survival?
And here comes the crux: I suggest that we begin to relate better to this life-giving energy—to enact practices and habits that finds a balance between all modes of our existence (mind, body, spirit). One such mode is our emotions and feelings that tune us into a wider, deeper consciousness beyond our minds and might (EGO) and even our most basic drives like sex, revenge, jealousy, domination. We need, in other words, a prophylactic against our EGO that only operates by killing anything in its path irrespective of feeling or caring for anything but itself. This selfish condition of Ego is great at destroying anything in its path, and, in time, it will eventually kill itself—this is EGO death-drive in all its naked rawness.
A new historical era has dawned on humanity—it is an age in which all aspects of our being (individually and collectively) must find a connection with the life-giving energy of existence or else our EGO will continue on its destructive path of complete human annihilation.
The Ego wants to kill all things including us and its time to give it what it’s turning our planet into: a grave yard. RIP
EGO or Life? The choice is ours to make.