Repeat after me: We are of this planet! It’s really very simple!
There are times when I look back at my writings on Learning from Dogs, now well over 1,500 posts (1,633 as of today, to be anal about it!) and ponder if the fundamental message behind the name of the blog often gets overlooked. The Welcome page states:
As man’s companion, protector and helper, history suggests that dogs were critically important in man achieving success as a hunter-gatherer. Dogs ‘teaching’ man to be so successful a hunter enabled evolution, some 20,000 years later, to farming, thence the long journey to modern man. But in the last, say 100 years, that farming spirit has become corrupted to the point where we see the planet’s plant and mineral resources as infinite. Mankind is close to the edge of extinction, literally and spiritually.
Dogs know better, much better! Time again for man to learn from dogs!
Elsewhere on the blog, I underpin that proposition by listing the attributes of dogs:
- are integrous ( a score of 210) according to Dr David Hawkins
- don’t cheat or lie
- don’t have hidden agendas
- are loyal and faithful
- love unconditionally
- value and cherish the ‘present’ in a way that humans can only dream of achieving
- are, by eons of time, a more successful species than man.
Now this is all fine and dandy but of what relevance is this to the mess that homo sapiens now finds itself in? Two parts to that answer come to mind.
The first part is that watching a dog out in the open countryside quickly brings home the fact that these animals are part of nature and, if push comes to shove, can live in the wild and fend for themselves. Not saying that a domestic dog would enjoy the experience but that their wild dog and grey wolf roots still rest somewhere in a dog’s consciousness.
The second part of the answer is that all animals instinctively live in harmony, in balance, with their surroundings; with their environment.
For the incredibly obvious reason that dogs, as with all other animal species, are an evolutionary consequence of the natural history of Planet Earth. That evolutionary journey from the Grey Wolf (Canis lupus) part of the Canidae family, a family including wolves, coyotes and foxes, thought to have evolved 60 million years ago. That journey all the way to the domestic dog (Canis lupus familiaris).
That ancient journey where the African wild dog (Lycaon pictus – painted dog) came together with early man. No one knows when but the African wild dog was certainly around when man developed speech and set out from Africa, about 50,000 years ago!
Two vastly different natural species, dog and man, evolving compatibly with each other for so many thousands of years.
Back to the attributes of dogs, in particular a dog’s ability to cherish the present. Earlier this week I was chatting with Kevin Dick, friend from Payson, AZ days, about the ‘interesting’ times we are living in. Kevin thought there was a significant difference between the generations born in the 1940’s and 1950’s and those born in later times. Most people over the age of, say 55, were brought up to save for ‘a rainy day’ and, possibly, be able to leave a legacy to their offspring. Kevin then went on to reflect that more recent generations exhibit a ‘buy today, don’t delay’ mentality.
A by-product of this materialistic instant gratification approach is that the whole damn consumer machine has created a total disconnect with the fact that we humans are of this planet.
“The earth is the mother of all people..“
(Chief Joseph 1840 – 1904, leader of the Wallowa band, a Native American tribe
indigenous to the Wallowa Valley in northeastern Oregon)
Humans today fail to comprehend this fundamental fact: Our ability to harm the planet and think that it won’t affect our species is complete madness! If only we could learn how to cherish the present in the way that our dogs do!
I’m now going to offer an essay from John Hurlburt. I knew John had written this essay but didn’t get round to reading it properly until I had finished the introduction above. I’m blown away by the resonance between the two but, as always, John’s words are so much more eloquent.
Climate change, religion, economics, government, politics and social issues are topics which create strong personal opinions and cultural divisions. We have difficulty accepting ideas which may conflict with our personal understandings. As usual, it’s an ego thing. The arrogance of our species is inclusive. We all suffer the consequences.
To counter our ego, we know that everything fits together. We exist in a unified cosmos with fluctuations and diversities that emerge around and through us.
Our present transformative state is as a biological form of energy and matter which possesses a conscious awareness of the natural order. We choose to ignore or deny the essential nature of our being at our own peril. Do we live only for the moment or do we live to insure our species future? That’s our fundamental choice.
“Seek the truth and identify the common good.” Zoroaster [also known as Zarathustra, Ed.]
We are a consciously aware component of a living world in an isolated corner of a remote galaxy. Everything within and on the earth has an extraterrestrial origin. We live on an incubator we call the earth. We rarely truly communicate with or fully understand the energy of nature in our lives. Our critical thinking ability has become enveloped by an electronic cloud.
We generally agree that the actions of many religions and most politics are based upon short term human interests rather than upon the long term well being of our planet and its disappearing life forms. The fact is that we only began to emerge as a species about 100,000 years ago. Hubble telescope observations have dated our universal origin to roughly 13,002,000,000 years ago.
Could it be that we only imagine ourselves as independent beings? Could it be that beyond the mind games we play there is a vast reality greater that we can understand with our limited sensory apparatus and our finite minds?
Life is a transformative experience. All species, tribes, races and genders are united by the nature of life. We pass through a period of being selfish and ambitious during our journey. Many of us choose to move into these familiar ruts and furnish them. We do not always walk the way we talk.
Nature favors species which adapt to constant change in an emerging universe.
If we agree that our intelligence is judged by choices we make, there is some question about intelligent human life on earth. A recent Harvard University study of species in relation to change estimates that the life span of the human species is approximately 100,000 years. Sound familiar?
The wisdom of our brief human history tells us that we are on a careless and needless path to self destruction. All that’s necessary to verify this assertion is to turn on the news of the day. The systemic paradigm that has been imprinted on our psyches is in constant flux. As we live and learn, we realize that our purpose is to leave life better than we found it.
A delicate balance is necessary to maintain an even strain of faith in the natural process rather than dwelling upon our self centered fears of losing something we imagine we own or not attaining something we believe we want. The earth heals itself from the inside out. We can do the same as a species. Today is the tomorrow we dreamed of yesterday. What have we done to fulfill the true purpose of our lives?
an old lamplighter
So, yes, we have much to learn from dogs.
I will close as I started. We are of this planet! It’s really very simple!