The day the last Dodo bird died an entire species vanished. The psychic pattern and physical form of the Dodo disappeared forever. The dinosaurs are gone. Cro-Magnon and Neanderthal Man likewise.
It’s interesting how we more deeply appreciate the loss of the Dodo, the Baiji River Dolphin, and the Javan Tiger, as more tragic than the disappearance of our own ancestors, the Neanderthals and others. I know we’re relieved that Neanderthals are no longer running around !
If a flock of Dodos were rediscovered somewhere imagine the thrill this would send around the world. Naturalists, scientists, and conservationists would honor the Dodo, and great efforts would be made to preserve them.
But if a clan of Neanderthals was discovered still surviving in a remote valley, excitement would soon be replaced by fear. They’d be quickly contained, becoming subjects of scientific research, prodded by religionists in search of souls, humiliated, exhibited and not allowed to survive for more than another generation or two. They’d be treated as feral. We’d deny them their culture and world. They’d be destroyed.
We value whatever makes us feel most safe… We hold to the idea that the last 100 years has seen a growth in environmental awareness. True in some ways, but the last 100 years have also wrought more environmental destruction than ever before. Well intentioned as many are, the world’s environmental organizations have not been successful in protecting species and environments. These organizations are not capable of doing so. They are not up to the task. How could they be?
In times past there was less “social awareness” propaganda about the environment and there was also more widespread sensitivity to the environment, and more integration with it. Science and religion have come to define our right to stand outside nature. From this position we have set about either increasingly misusing the environment or vainly attempting to save and protect it – from ourselves!
“Earth Mother”, or “Gaia”, sustains life. When we recombine with nature, linking back into and with the cycles and places of the Earth, we may rediscover our harmony and balance with the world. And a renewed intelligence with it.
The rapid degradation of the natural world, together with our frantic attempts to save this or that species or place, indicates a form of cultural multiple personality disorder.
Wanting to save ourselves is at the core of why we try to save anything else. Both our destructiveness, and our saving attempts, are about one thing – fear of our own survival. Recent centuries have seen mankind becoming increasingly feral, fearful, crazed. We breed and populate out of fear that there isn’t enough, and the more we populate the less there is to go around. We are mad.
Our view of so-called feral animals and plants is largely misplaced. We go to great lengths to care for our pets, and livestock are starting to get better treatment, but the beings we’ve labeled as “feral” are poisoned, trapped, infected and shot to death with the idea that we’re helping the environment.
All over the world species are on the brink of extinction. We like to think we favor the rare and endangered, and attempt to preserve at least a few of them.
While we focus on protecting the rare and exotic we are faced with all the feral species who are surviving with remarkable success. Oddly, because these species are doing so well we find it necessary to destroy them, without understanding what their easy success represents in the larger scheme of things.
Ideas of “endangered”, “threatened”, “native, “introduced”, and “feral” are just concepts for giving meaning to what we don’t understand. Labels define, delineate and separate. We subjugate the feral as well as the endangered. We trap and undermine everything.
Why destroy an entire native forest and simultaneously try to preserve just one or two of its species? Talk about insane! We don’t know what we’re doing. We are a species, and a culture, gone mad. We don’t live in these forests anymore. We don’t know what they are, or what they are for. We have no idea of what we’ve done, and are doing.
When does a successful feral species become accepted as a native? And since when does it fall to humans to grant acceptance? How did this responsibility become ours? The dingo, a once new species introduced to Australia thousands of years ago, is generally considered to be a native animal, and still somehow feral. Successful feral cats, rats, birds, plants, rabbits, deer, hedgehogs, possums (the list is as large as the endangered species charter), when will we see that all of these are a natural part of a global shift, of which we too are a part? We call them feral, but are they not the “new natives”? We call them feral because we had a hand in them being where they are, and we think they’re not part of natural order – because we assume we’re not.
As “ferals” settle into native habitats many changes take place. But the environment has always been adaptable, ever changing. Rather than oppose this process, why not accept it? We can’t stop these changes. Do we even know what we’re doing when we try? And who are we to know anything about it? Does it matter to Nature what we think about any of it? What do our tiny, fear-based, thoughts and actions amount to…? Of all the creatures on Earth today’s humans are clearly the most feral and misplaced.
There may soon be no so-called native places left, where the natural environment has not been eliminated, or subjugated, somehow.
Have you noticed that every environmental protection organization actually needs and requires “endangered species” in order to prove its worth and survive. Think about this for a moment. Each organization literally depends on there being endangered creatures to protect. But a forest protection success today can never be guaranteed safe through tomorrow. Mankind is too disconnected to promise the protection of any natural thing.
What is really at stake is the Sacred.
We have been so quick to give up our Sacred ties to earth and life. What forest, what animal, tree, other race of people, what poor, misplaced, toad is next? Pretty soon none of these ideas will matter. An incomparably beautiful bird is saved from extinction in some enclosure somewhere but its primeval forests end up silent, desecrated… now what?
Endangered? Threatened? Protected? Feral? Conservation? Self-Sufficiency? Survival?
What are we doing? We pretend to be gods over things we don’t understand. We pretend we know all about it, and that we can protect it, but “IT” is much bigger than us, and much more resilient. We are naive, self-important, tiny, dilettantes relative to the workings of nature. Forgetting our Sacred responsibility, our inherence in nature, we too will be discarded and made extinct. Even if we remember and embrace our Sacred relationship with the world, and the Divine, we will still one day become extinct.
We fear for our lives, and we have let this make us mad. We seek to both destroy it all and save everything, at once. There are no guarantees we are going to survive anyway. We will not. So why all this effort, and thinking and philosophy? Accepting this is the beginning of reconnecting with the Sacredness of life.
We are dependent on Life for our life, and on Nature for our nature. Because we won’t survive these short lives we can just relax, trust, and be vulnerable and compassionate.
Surrender to this life, which fills and breathes our very moment… then see what happens.
“Every now and then, look up and see everything.” – Adi Da Samraj