The Problem of I Instead of We

We in up-to-date society have been increasingly raised with the concept of what we own. The old folk did not own property. Tribal members helped each other and shared the space with all living beings. They were visitors here who sustained life. The modern preoccupation of having more reflects our feelings of inferiority. It is a universal kind of hiding for which the more we manage to acquire, the less valuable we feel. Then we try to get still more of it as if this is a cure for our sense of emptiness. The obsession with having more is an addiction.

This ever expanding need for more which goes beyond the loving and healing bounds of man’s relationship to Mother Earth is causing the demise of everything around us including self. Our government refuses to see its hand in causing this disaster. It defers to corporations which need to sell their goods and labels what they do as environmentally sound. The government is too connected with financial support from these developers to make an objective evaluation. You need distance from what do and not be focused on personal reward to see a larger image. If you are obsessed with one thing and one thing only that is what you see.

We moderns have reached a fever pitch that rocks our life boat. The sheltering earth which protects all life cannot tolerate further expansion. In order to survive, we need to shrink. The government has to take off its blinders. It needs to stop supporting life threatening ventures, e.g. more cars instead of trains; more roads instead of train tracks, more drilling for gas and coal and oil instead of a house-sized and nation-sized solar power stands, sun instead of tar sands,  wind instead of nuclear radiation and explosion, bands of windmills flanking our shores.

There would be plenty of work, a new kind of work created by in our having less and going natural. There would be tons of jobs creating and installing windmills and solar collectors, jobs inventing new kinds of collectors which are simpler and cheaper, like an absorbent screen you put on your windows to collect solar power night and day. There are so many fascinating ways to have less stuff and know that you have more. You have more of the good stuff. You and your offspring and the animals and plants are surviving.

What has taken over our ability to relate to the negative consequences of having more? Some see it as our having divorced ourselves from our natural association with the Earth Mother.  Some call it a testosterone revolt, a moving into power for its own sake. Now we can be violent with Mother Earth, treat her as an object, see her as a shelf full of things for the taking with local people often native standing in the way to be removed; we can extract her guts and call them resources without the pangs of conscience. And even if there are pangs for some, we see it as unavoidable whose consequences we will somehow later fix.

Scientists devote themselves to discovering the methodology of extraction. They spend little time on how to deal with associated destructive accidents that always happen. They say they are prepared for these but aren’t. Preparation costs money which lowers profit. Preparation keeps them out of the market in which time is money.

The California air is full of methane from the explosion of gas wells. We are told it will take months to cap them if they can. But the air is polluted with methane greatly increasing the Greenhouse effect. The sea is full of oil from underground explosions. The scientists from the digging company do not know get it out. Instead they make it look good by using a chemical which drives the oil to the bottom which in turn destroys all the plant and animals that live there.

The ordinary citizen, trained to expect more does not see and does not want to see what is happening. His anxiety would be too great if he takes it in. He takes a child’s position towards a parent. If his leaders say it is safe, it must be safe. It is easier psychologically to go on along with destructive behavior than to face the negative and life threatening consequences so that you must martial forces to force it stop. Going along with what you should reject is an example of psychological denial.

The compulsion to get more has to do with creating a surplus. Instead of every living creature at the same watering hole, we put up fences and keep it all for ourselves. We translate life forms into money which we put into the bank. Instead of living thankfully with all of nature’s children, we only think of the I. The more we focus on the I, the more relationship of all things is left out. Those intent on expanding their possessions use destructive tools on ever greater regions.  They bear down on that portion of the earth which holds what he needs. They develop instruments to dig it up and take it away. They sheer off mountain tops to more easily get at the coal. Do they look at the disaster left behind and the lives of the people who live there?

They focus on what they need to extract from the planet on which they dwell. To dismiss unintended injury and death they call it collateral damage. We use the term collateral damage in wartime. I aimed at the armed soldier but shot the child – unintended. Mother Earth is being torn apart. We are shooting bullets into her body but do not understand that her increasing hurricanes, typhoons, oceans rising to take away great cities, growing deserts, melting permafrost releasing methane, cutting the rainforest to grow hamburger cattle for a few year until the grass runs out, the forest which creates oxygen and is called the lungs of the world, all these terrible and synergistic events which are leading to the breaking point, are Mother Earth’s cries for help. Saving her means saving us – is up to us.

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