Homo is defined as “man.” Sapiens is defined as “capable of discerning.” We are used to seeing Homo and sapiens together without awareness of their meaning. Do we believe in the universal presence of Homo sapiens when we shouldn’t?
How do we define and evaluate discerning? Our interests and motivating factors, our feelings and philosophy determine what we focus on, whether we enlarge or contract perception of what we study. If we know a hell of a lot about an ever “object of perception” regardless of our tools, (a narrowing of vision), how do we rate our discernment? Rating depends on the result of our perception, what we do with and as a consequence. Discernment is not an abstract value like something floating out there light years away from contact.
Some think that a hugely contracted mind is extraordinary. Even smallness makes connections All physical/energetic matter, no matter how small is part of the “whole.” Discernment on the highest level takes in the whole as best it can be currently understood. To see only the smallest part as unconnected leads to loss. Our society’s thinging of the world’s parts is all about making disconnected so our taking it and its dismemberment is regarded as insignificant. So it is with earth’s coal, oil, nuclear energy, oxygen producing trees, clean water flowing freely. Ignoring and breaking apart the world’s connection is destroying what sustains us.
Discernment is not an abstract notion. It resonates inside our bones. Discernment portends disaster. It picks up what is going on and says, “look out.” Discernment underlies our ability to survive. If we recognize and give a Latin name to some kind of rock but do not notice a tiger leaping out of the bush to devour us, the name of the rock can be printed on our tombstone. The discernment of many Homo sapiens, especially its leaders, is dominated by the need for power. The more powerful they feel the less they are able to see. Their field of awareness has a single frequency. Their philosophy is more.
The narrowness of vision is also true of those whose thinking is shaped by things focused on by TV and the written news. These consumers do not recognize that most TV stations and newspapers are owned by corporations which need to push their wares. The news offers information of which the corporation approves. Corporations own factories which make tanks and guns and bombs. In US society, most of those running for office need millions to buy advertising. Those receiving corporate money to pay for advertising will ready us for war with tales of horror and threat. Politicians, TV actors and those who write the news put forth what the corporation pays them to sell. Also, a fact rarely recognized, TV and written news sell us to their corporate funders as consumers who will buy corporate products. News purveyors are selling us. Selling newspapers does not make enough. Did you know TV viewer and news reader, that you are for sale?
Discernment is narrowed by negative feelings. Fear stimulates greed which stimulates fear. Fear and greed tell us to hold onto our limited supplies, to keep what we’ve got away from “them.” Greed tells us to take if from them first. Advertising and corporate funded news tell us what to buy and who to fear. They engender fear which keeps us funding their weapons manufacture also to build jails against those who they claim “threaten.” With more people in jail than any other country in the world, jail is the US’s primary occupation, that and the building and selling of weapons.
The other day I saw a new invention, a non-polluting ball beloved by sea life which swims around it, lying so deep in the ocean that no boat can crash into it. The ball rolls in and rolls out with the tide. The energy created by its rolling is brought by lines to storage units from which Homo sapiens can draw power. The construction of this tide-moved ball is paid for by our taxes so the power it creates should be free. Discernment would see this invention as in tune with life, a worthy cause to fund and use. Will the politicians whose “running” is funded by environmentally destructive producers, (fracked gas, nuclear, coal and oil), allow it to be widely known and purchased?
True discernment is exemplified by the Zen statement, if you meet Buddha on the road, slay him. Slaying Buddha means finding out the essential nature of the “all” through meditation not believing another person’s words. Many people are too desperate about survival to slow down and meditate as the newly “recovered” economy replaces jobs with computer-run machinery, if not by distant people, even children who work for far less. To put sapiens onto Homo, we have to open our eyes, ears, and mind, not to believe what we are told. If we give into the false security of believing messages which dim consciousness, destruction has to follow. If we separate from corporate-created ignorance, we will be out of the Homo anti-sapiens pack and probably anxious about our autonomy. Also more alive.
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