ALCHEMY OF WORDS
ALCHEMY OF WORDS
There are two primary worldviews, two lenses through which we see the world. In one, the world is wired together, connected. In the other, the world is made up of separate things.
In the first view, things and people are interconnected. We are interdependent upon one another and upon the earth. What each of us does matters to the whole. We have impact on the world around us. This view is held by a broad range of people, from biodynamic farmers and Buddhist teachers to meteorologists and quantum physicists.
This view embraces the idea of oneness, which has many faces. One aspect is that what we do to the world, and anyone or anything in it, we actually do to ourselves. I don’t often quote him, but for those so inclined to his teachings, Jesus speaks to this when he explained that whatever was done to the least of his brothers and sisters, was done to him.
In other words, Love your neighbor as yourself.
Chief Seattle famously spoke to this: All things are connected like the blood that unites us all. Man did not weave the web of life, he is merely a strand in it. Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself… What befalls the earth befalls all the sons of the earth.
The second view believes that we are born into the world alone, and we die alone. And in between, whatever success we have is up to us alone. That humans are islands, separate and apart from one another. That humankind were given dominion over Mother Earth and everything that is in and on her. And that nothing we can do while here has any significant impact upon the planet or its inhabitants.
This view requires some tricky footwork. But if you can disconnect yourself from the world around you in this way – if nature is just something over there, something to serve as a backdrop to your life, a movie set – then you can easily put poison onto the soil and still eat the food that grows from it. You can dump toxic waste into the oceans and still eat the fish that swim there, without concern. You can do this even though you probably wouldn’t pee into a bucket of water and then drink from it.
This belief also allows you to distance yourself from other humans. How other people are treated -- for example those with different colors of skin -- has no bearing on your life. Restrictions on others as to who they can love or marry has nothing to do with you. They are not you, after all. People who make less money or are otherwise less fortunate are not really relevant to your life. There is no reason you should you concern yourself with them. Also, criminals. Just separate them out of view from the rest of society so we don’t have to think about them.
Another trick of the brain required for this view is that one has to accept the benefits of firemen, policemen, public education, public roads, Social Security, Medicare, and other community benefits, while still decrying socialism in all its forms. Anyone who wants to take part what you’ve worked hard for is a freeloader. They just need to pull themselves up by their bootstraps and do what you did, without help from anyone. (Of course this is not true, but that is just another trick of the brain to be mastered.)
In short, large blinders are required for this second view. We learned as kids that the leg bone is connected to the ankle bone. Just as everything in the body is connected to every other thing. Just as we are microcosms of our world and our universe. Separation is indeed an illusion. There is simply no proof of it.
In the first worldview, there are people who see things as they are and go about aligning their lives and activities accordingly. And then there are those who would rather keep their backs to the light of day and believe in the stories told by shadows on the back of a cave.
Put another way, there are those who approach the world with openness and those who keep themselves and their world closed tight. A worldview of love and one of fear.
Yoda reminded us, Fear of loss is a path to the dark side. But we cannot lose a world that belongs to all of us. That is the mystical irony of an open and interconnected world. It is abundant and sustainable and it cannot be lost.
But we can be.
This oneness exists whether you believe in it or not. And the natural order of all things is to fall into alignment with oneness. Indeed, in order for any species to survive, it must find its place within this oneness. If humanity survives its separation thinking, it will be because we recognized the truth of oneness and moved into alignment with everything else in the universe.
Remember to love your neighbor today. And then notice how good that makes you feel. Repeat.