A return to integrity

Can we mend our broken ways? Just possibly.

Yesterday’s long rant was the outcome of me promising ‘a debate’ with Patrice Ayme.  Succinctly, I had disagreed with a comment from Patrice where he had written: “Force is the truth of man. Everything else is delusion, even the vegetarian style.” and wanted to respond within the space of a post rather than the more restrictive comment.

For my disagreement with Patrice had been essentially about his statement, ‘Force is the truth of man‘.  I don’t recall a war in the last 50 years that has been a force for good.

But then it was Alex’s comment, see below, that stopped me short.  For I realised that I was confusing ‘force’ with ‘war’ and that was probably a big mistake on my behalf.  Of course, I’m writing this without the benefit of knowing better what Patrice meant in his comment! Blogging, as powerful a media as it is, does not provide for immediate interaction!

Nevertheless, Alex’s comment yesterday was powerfully inspirational.  Because so many of us (and I include me in that ‘us’) all too often behave as though we are a species utterly divorced from Nature.

I closed yesterday’s post with these words;

So what to do?  Because I am fundamentally at odds with the sentiment expressed by Patrice Ayme; “Force is the truth of man. Everything else is delusion, even the vegetarian style.

The answer takes us to tomorrow’s post, A return to integrity.

And, yes, it does mention dogs!  Rather a lot as it happens!

Dogs are the one species that man has lived with longer than any other species.  So when we refer to the qualities of the dog it is simply because we are so familiar with them.  In no way does that exclude the numerous other species that bond with man and share the same wonderful qualities.

Qualities so easily seen: Love, Honesty, Loyalty, Trust, Openness, Faithfulness, Forgiveness and Affection. Together they are Integrity.

Of course dogs will kill a rabbit, for example, as readily as a cat will kill a mouse.  In this respect force is the truth of Nature.

The only way for species man to survive on this planet is for every element of man’s existence on this planet to be rethought of in terms of the natural order.  Read the comment left by Alex in yesterday’s post:

Hi Paul, what you highlight are examples of disconnection between humanity with nature and each other. I have on my own blog highlighted a concept of Ubuntu – “I am because we are” – which is only possible when the self realises they are part of an inter-connected network of life. Your example of islands of fragmented forest where disconnected wildlife are dying out is how it is with disconnected humanity, we are doomed to destruction because we are cut off from the life-giving connection to nature.

All the problems you highlight are symptoms of the disease of disconnection, until there is reconnection to nature none of these symptoms can be successfully addressed.

War is an integral part of nature, when people seek to dismiss this then they add to the disconnection from nature. I was stung in the face by a drunken wasp a few days ago, this is how it is with nature, it is beautiful but also brutal. Peace and balance are illusions, life is in a becoming because of unbalance and strife. I advocate harmony, like a downhill skier we do not seek to control our surroundings, but instead act in harmony by moving around the obstacles such as rock and tree.

Disconnection can be as large as destroying whole forests by ignorant energy policies to those idiots who kicked a puffball to pieces before I could harvest it, or the new owners of my former home who have taken a chainsaw to all the trees and bushes in the garden. People who are disconnected do not consider how their actions impact nature or people contrary to the philosophy of Ubuntu.

I am because we are!” Each and every one of us is where we are today, for good or ill, because of what we are: part of Nature.  It’s so incredibly obvious – we are a natural species – yet who reading this wouldn’t admit at times to behaving “as though we are a species utterly divorced from Nature.”

Millions of us have pets and animals that we love.  Yet we still miss the key truth of our pets.  That we are a part of Nature, subject to Natural order, just as much as our pets are.  We have so much to learn from our animals.

Take this rather sad story but, nonetheless, a formidable story of the integrity of one species for another.  Watch the video.

oooo

Take this rather happier story about the integrity of one species for another. Watch the video.

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Thus when we see the extraordinary benefits that arise from love and trust, from loyalty and faithfulness, and much more, why oh why is so much of our society fundamentally broken?

As John Hurlburt wrote in a recent email, it is because, “we are spiritual bankrupt. We spend too much of our time thinking about ourselves and what we want and too little of our time thinking about other people and what we all need.”  John went on to add that this spiritual bankruptcy had preceded our moral and economical bankruptcy. He pointed out that the solution to our moral and financial problems, as well as our salvation as individuals and as a species, is spiritual. “We simply need to love the Nature of God, the earth and each other regardless of what we may believe God to be.”

Now whether you are a religious soul, or a heathen, or somewhere in the middle, it matters not.  For if we continue to defy Nature and the natural laws of this planet we are going to be dust before the end of this century.  Again in John’s powerful words:

Denying climate change is a death wish.

Nature always wins in the long run.

Nature is balanced. Are we?

As if to endorse the great examples that Nature offers us in terms of the benefits of love and trust, take a look at these three recent photographs from here in Oregon.

A young timid deer responding to me sitting quietly on the ground.
A young timid deer showing her trust of me as I sat quietly on the ground less than 30 feet away.

oooo

A mother and her fawn trusting Jean's love for them, and getting a good feed!
A mother and her fawn trusting Jean’s love for them, and getting a good feed!

oooo

Sweeny, on back of settee, and Cleo in peace and comfort.
Little Sweeny and Cleo converting trust to peace and happiness.  (Not to mention Jean!)

Now these are not photographs to ‘ooh’ and ‘ah’ over, these are reminders that kindness, generosity, selflessness and trust are part of Nature.  All the great virtues and values of man do not come from a vacuum, they come to us via Nature.

We have been blessed by an evolution that has allowed mankind to achieve remarkable things.  Even to the point of leaving the confines of our planet and setting foot on the Moon and sending probes from out of our Solar System.  There’s a sense, a distinctly tangible sense, that man has conquered all; that we have broken the link from being part of Nature; from being of Nature.

And now Mother Earth is reminding all of her species, every single one of them including species man, that everything is bound by her Natural Laws.

Does this mean that man has to revert to some form of pre-civilised stone-age era?  Of course not!  Progress can be as much within the Natural order than in competition with it, as it has been in recent times.  In fact, Professor Pat Shipman explains our progress is benefited by being part of that Natural order.  Here’s how Amazon describe her book, The Animal Connection.

The Animal Connection: A New Perspective on What Makes Us Human

A bold, illuminating new take on the love of animals that drove human evolution.

Why do humans all over the world take in and nurture other animals? This behavior might seem maladaptive—after all, every mouthful given to another species is one that you cannot eat—but in this heartening new study, acclaimed anthropologist Pat Shipman reveals that our propensity to domesticate and care for other animals is in fact among our species’ greatest strengths. For the last 2.6 million years, Shipman explains, humans who coexisted with animals enjoyed definite adaptive and cultural advantages. To illustrate this point, Shipman gives us a tour of the milestones in human civilization-from agriculture to art and even language—and describes how we reached each stage through our unique relationship with other animals. The Animal Connection reaffirms our love of animals as something both innate and distinctly human, revealing that the process of domestication not only changed animals but had a resounding impact on us as well.

It’s a powerful read and greatly recommended.  Here’s an extract from the book [page 274, my emphasis]:

Clearly, part of the basis of our intimacy with tame or domesticated animals involves physical contact.  People who work with animals touch them.  It doesn’t matter if you are a horse breeder, a farmer raising pigs, a pet owner, a zoo keeper, or a veterinarian, we touch them, stroke them, hug them.  Many of us kiss our animals and many allow them to sleep with us.  We touch animals because this is a crucial aspect of the nonverbal communication that we have evolved over millennia.  We touch animals because it raises our oxytocin levels – and the animal’s oxytocin levels.  We touch animals because we and they enjoy it.

From the first stone tool to the origin of language and the most recent living tools, our involvement with animals has directed our course.

So to round this off.  These last two posts came from my need to debate with Patrice the statement that “Force is the truth of man.”  If Patrice’s meaning was that the truth of man is subject to the force of Nature, then I agree one-hundred percent.

For the time for man to recognise that the force of Nature is “the truth of man” is running out.

Each of us, whoever you are, for the sake of your children and for all of the children in the world, embrace today the qualities, the values of Nature.

Love, Honesty, Loyalty, Trust, Openness, Faithfulness, Forgiveness, Affection.

(Unknown author)

If you can resist treating a rich friend better than a poor friend,

If you can face the world without lies and deceit,

If you can say honestly that deep in your heart you have no prejudice against creed, colour, religion or politics,

Then, my friend, you are almost as good as your dog.

Let us learn from dogs.

Let us return to integrity.

4 thoughts on “A return to integrity

  1. I saw both videos, illustrates that connection between living things can be a powerful force.

    As I forage for mushrooms I note the connection between some of the fungi and trees as they work closely to support each other.

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  2. Thanks Paul for thinking about this so hard. Yes, I plead guilty for meaning the sentence “Force is the truth of man”, in the fullest way. Yes, the truth of man is subject to the force of Nature. The essence of man is even made by the force of nature. In the world of forces we evolve in, war is just a punctuation.

    I have an essay on that coming soon, but it’s a subject I have broached before, being one of my obsessions: I believe in Nature as the teacher, and that the genes just set-up a frame work: see my recent essay “Gene Obsession” (which is preliminary to the one about learning from Nature’s force).

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    1. Thanks Patrice. Yes, I must admit that these last two posts took quite a few hours to write; about 10 in total if I recall. But without spending that time researching and reading, I would not have embraced the fundamental premise that Nature is our teacher, as you put it.

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