Existence is. Then, there are human concepts about existence. The dilemma of being human is that we cannot live in existence without conceptualizing existence. The great evolutionary uniqueness of humans is our ability to abstract our experience out of its undifferentiated totality. This is our special talent. It makes us human. It is also our curse, and the curse upon all of Nature.
Nature is. It is a harmony and a perfection of balance and unity. Nature, undisturbed by human imposition, is the Biblical “Eden”. To be quiet and present in Nature, relatively undisturbed by humans, is to experience something powerful resonating within us that touches the ground of our fundamental Being, our own deepest nature, even the foundation of our spirituality.
But, our humanness, our compulsively abstracting, conceptualizing, dividing, talking mind, compels us to separate our experience into thoughts about who we are, what life is about and how we can better manipulate Nature for our own benefit, and Eden is lost. We cannot seem to coexist with Nature. This is the human dilemma. Our ability to abstract existence allows us to emerge from Nature, to create human society, culture, invention and technology, to escape being subject to the amoral laws of Nature where survival is tenuous. This certainly seems good, but we then have cut ourselves off from Nature, and, in the process, from our own deepest nature. Humanity has practiced indifferent exploitation of Nature for thousands of years, and has largely lost any primal connection to it. This is not good.
Nature is a unity and harmony. To the human mind, however, it is all these squiggly, wiggly, hard-to-control lines of form, and the human mind rebels at this. It wants to control, safeguard and develop existence for its own benefit. Since humans have the capacity for abstraction, they can identify the separate entities about them and categorize them by their value or threat to human existence. Since they have the capacity for abstraction, they can take the separate entities about them, use or dispose of them, and create new combinations that increase their value to human existence. This sounds like it is good, but as abstracting consciousnesses, we have lost the realization that humans have abstracted the foundation of their own existence right out of connection to the basis of that existence.
To create an example of this, let us look to the squiggly wiggly entities humans call fish and squirrels and deer and other creatures that enhanced primitive human existence as food, and that humanity learned to capture using the abstracting of fibers from plants into patterns of straight lines called nets and snares. Humanity has also learned that the entities of earth and plants can be combined into another kind of net called fields for farming after all the entities in the net that are not the earth and the desired plants are taken away. It has also learned that nets called shelters and villages and cities can be made to live in once all the entities that are not conducive to the shelters, villages and cities are taken away. It has also learned to take the materials of the Earth and abstract them into nets called technology. All this to enhance human existence. Good. Right?
What gets lost in the making and casting of nets onto existence so as to enhance humans is the realization of the consequence of all that is getting lost. What gets lost is Nature in all its squiggly wiggly lines, and all its connectedness. What gets lost is our own fundamental Beingness that emerges from and is of Nature. We forget the Nature that is who we are, and that Nature is where we came from. We have snared ourselves.
We have made and cast so many nets, that we have entangled all of Nature, our home and source, in separating nets, and tragically, are strangling the life out of Nature. So very sadly, we, likewise, have become entangled in the nets ourselves, so that we cannot even realize existence as harmony and balance and oneness at all, and are strangling the Life out of our own existence, our own Being, our spirit. Eden has been lost, and so are we. The truth is that we cannot exist separated indefinitely from our source without becoming hopelessly lost, and thus, doomed. It is time to remember what the old prophets used to intone: “Repent, before doom is upon us.”
There is, of course, no going back to Nature before the technology/nets. There is however the remembering of who we truly are, and beginning to weave nets the purpose of which is not the control and domination of Nature, but the harmonious reunion with Nature around us and within us. We must evolve further as a species to reintegrate our abstracting intelligence with the ground of our own Being, our own deepest nature, to find a new balance of humans in Nature. We must remember that we emerge from Nature and are Nature as surely as the fish and the squirrel and the deer. Repenting means coming home. It means to think (abstract) less and meditate (connect) more, so as to rediscover Nature within us, and our connectedness to Nature around us, with the squiggly wiggly lines of Creation, of Eden, “before doom is upon us.”