Try to Look at Us This Way

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Twilight Siren
Reply Tue 30 Mar, 2010 12:16 pm
Jebediah;120008 wrote:
I don't think I understand. An amoeba, if it could have ideals, would have something similar to human ideals? Is that what the "if it could" part means?

good point, I don't think amoebas would debate abortion (for example)!!! how can they?!

Three_dog;120035 wrote:
Nature could still be self-aware, but unable to act.

This is true, unless by gaining the intelligence, they somehow created the ability to act . .to animate themselves . .hmmmm *rubs chin*. Unless the trees became like the ones in The Lord of the Rings, 3dog's right.

Zetherin;120153 wrote:
I don't think it's unsettling at all. It's enlightening, at least to me. It's so very easy for us humans to place ourselves on that grand pedestal, proclaiming mastery of the universe. But, really, we're just creatures, creatures here on Earth, albeit with the very unique abilities aforementioned.
Not a bad thing at all. It's a stepping stone to humbleness, I think. A humbleness we often misplace during our climb up that pedestal.

I'd rather avoid climbing the pedestal. I like it better down here, sometimes I get curious about the view though!!

Jebediah;120156 wrote:
I agree that we are a product of nature and reliant upon it. With the way you've defined nature you are saying that we are part natural and part unnatural (the conscious part). I'm not sure the conscious is unnatural, but I don't think that's important in this context.[1]. . .

Well, in a hypothetical where it was best for the world, nature, our community and the other lifeforms if we as a species went extinct, would you take that option? [2]

I don't really see an argument for a non anthropocentric take on the issue. We use nature for our own gain and we don't have it's best interests at heart--because it doesn't have any interests, only we do.[3] So pollution etc is only bad if it comes back to hurt us out of proportion to the benefit it provides.

1. Technically, everything comes from something natural, even the most processed chemical started as and was processed with only the materials that are provided for us . . .Our consciousness is natural. It was either given to us or evolved, either way . . .all roots reach back to the earth.
2. If you believe in the whole 2012 thing (which, to a degree, I do) then nature will take care of our damage, without our say in the matter.
3. I think that nature (Earth, in this case) does has an interest, not for gain like humans, but for balance. No matter how powerful or intelligent people get, or how much they overpopulate . . nature always finds a way to "clean house" and bring things closer to equilibrium, when a change is needed. No matter how tall our buildings, how big our ships . . . .nature can take them out, and will . . . . if the need for an "uncluttering" arrives. I see the Earth as a living thing that has an interest in it's own continuance.

Three_dog;120160 wrote:
I think it is unsettling. Humans are generally not accustomed to thinking of themselves as part of everything (outside of those who believe in a divine plan). If most people stop and think of how we are infinitesimally small compared to everything and, more importantly, a part of it. An analogy would be voting in an election. We are all apart of the decision, but we are all a very small part and each of us individually has no real bearing, we must be taken as a whole. :detective:

It's true that we are a very small part of the world, and that the time in which man has existed is barely a blip on the timeline of Earth (as far as we know), but I also see everything as all connected and that we should realize this as well. . . .This is how you hurt yourself by hurting the planet: by "sh!tt!ng where you sleep" so-to-speak, people pollute in the water, forgetting that we all drink that water!!! . . stuff like that. . . All the damage we do, will affect our family, friends and future generations.

Aemun;120996 wrote:
Does anyone else feel our place within the ecosphere or Gaia as it is commonly known, is as a cancer?

We reproduce out of control and consume everything we can, destroying the ecosphere and most of the things in it.

Even given our huge potential for knowledge we still choose capitalism as our political system. A Darwinian ideology which says everyone for themselves - a rat race.

Potentially we will wipe ourselves out in the next century and I can't help but think 'no great loss'.

I find myself thinking this way, at times, as well. It's unavoidable thought when you witness certain travesties of man.

Khethil;121006 wrote:
I've felt this way and can definitely identify with your sentiments. Yes, I often think Agent Smith had a point there euphemistically. But we are a product of nature, how we act and what we do could be viewed as cancerous (and indeed it often is), but that doesn't change what we are.

I'm deeply ashamed of the damage we do to ourselves, our surroundings and other creatures; all in the name of consumption (as if this is a good thing). Yea, I think there's a good chance we'll wipe ourselves out too, and I too feel that if this ends up being the case, it's no-big-loss; not in the larger scheme of things.[INDENT] I look upon our species' desire to mass produce and mass consume kind of like a long, heavy train running down a hill; yes, it can be stopped before we destroy ourselves, it's just not every likely. 1) There's not much desire to do so -and- 2) Even if everyone did want to change, there's a large chance we couldn't stop it in time. [1]
[/INDENT]The point of this thread is: Given our intelligence and ability to evaluate conditions, we have the potential to be the 'only voice' for life; rather than spend our time looking for more efficient ways to consume and destroy it. This being the case, do we have a moral obligation (as part of a community) as well as motivated-self interest to be that "Advocate"? The more we look at ourselves as being a part of this community, the more one is likely to see value in conserving and renewing. [2] . . .

1. This incites a big " oh, cr@p" thought when I think about how right you seem to be
2. i think that we do have that obligation, especially because we are the ones causing most of the damage in the first place, I feel like we have an obligation not to allow other lives (flora,fauna, and yes, even mineral) to suffer because of our actions. They're all caught in the crossfire.
Reply Thu 1 Apr, 2010 08:52 pm
Khethil;120001 wrote:
Subject: Humanity and it's "place"

I know we like to ping-pong between the extremes of naturalism and the often-false dichotomy drawn between our nature and the natural world. But what do you all think of this: [INDENT]On this planet, there is one species that brings self-aware consciousness to the table, in the community of life. It is the one thing humans have that all the others don't. What they express (how they live, their problems, ideals, needs, productive and destructive behaviors alike, etc.) are but an indicator of what any life form, in this setting, might manifest - if only it could.
[/INDENT]Nothing earth shattering, I don't think, but I thought it post-worthy.


well that is basic to my whole outlook on life. Compare this quote from Alan Watts:
"We do not "come into" this world; we come out of it, as leaves from a tree. As the ocean "waves," the universe "peoples." Every individual is an expression of the whole realm of nature, a unique action of the total universe."

And another from Einstein
A human being is a part of the whole, called by us "Universe", a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest - a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty. Nobody is able to achieve this completely, but the striving for such achievement is in itself a part of the liberation and a foundation for inner security.

I don't know about 'not being able to achieve this completely', though. I think that is what makes a Buddha.:bigsmile:

---------- Post added 04-02-2010 at 01:57 PM ----------

I think understanding yourself as a part of, and an expression of, the universe, is what has been called self-realization, God realization or cosmic consciousness. And as Alan Watts commented, there is a taboo on this idea. That book from which the quote is taken is (I think) The Book: on the Taboo against Knowing Who You Are.

---------- Post added 04-02-2010 at 02:07 PM ----------

Khethil;121006 wrote:

I'm deeply ashamed of the damage we do to ourselves, our surroundings and other creatures; all in the name of consumption (as if this is a good thing). Yea, I think there's a good chance we'll wipe ourselves out too, and I too feel that if this ends up being the case, it's no-big-loss; not in the larger scheme of things.

It may not be up to you though, and how you feel about it. Not Your Call. It might be that, even in the larger scheme of things, H Sapiens is somebody's major project.

But realising that we both ARE the universe and are also responsible for the fate of the Earth would, I think, provide sufficient energy, perspective, discipline, and incentive to live a completely different type of existence, wouldn't it? I mean, it requires both a practical-environmental understanding, and a way of seeing yourself as not-other to the Earth and everyone on it.

So maybe your casual 'so what' is just a handy out for you, eh? If you think through what you are saying, you have the grounds for a revolution right there.

---------- Post added 04-02-2010 at 02:23 PM ----------

Jebediah;120008 wrote:
I don't think I understand. An amoeba, if it could have ideals, would have something similar to human ideals?

Is this what you would call 'the germ of an idea'?

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