Remember that we are among the most privileged beings to ever live on this planet.

November 5, 2012 by Categorized: Natural Reflections.

We as a species have the ability to choose what we eat, where we live, with whom we mate, and how we raise our young, to unprecedented levels. From the moment we learned how to use fire, through our ability to build ever stronger shelters, and into the increasingly abstract thought processes we communicate to each other, we have altered the world more than any other animal. And we have done this at a price, a price paid not only by our fellow human beings, but every other living being that shares this place with us.

This is not a prompt to lose yourself in guilt and despair, but simply to take note of the immense comforts that you enjoy and to realize how unique they are. Also, a gentle reminder that these comforts did not come out of nowhere, but are drawn from the interwoven webwork of animals, plants, and the Earth itself. We take and we take—what do we give back? There are so many ways we can give back, starting with not taking more than we need.

And even the smallest gifts are important.

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3 Responses

  1. Such a good time for this message.

    Just read this in the COSTCO parking lot after spending the last 30 mins surrounded by people with carts piled high with X-mas decor & paraphernalia… all of whom, by their expressions & body language, must be the most unhappy creatures on Earth.

    Fascinating juxtaposition of values.

    Makes me think with some trepidation about the upcoming season of get-&-give (you will! like it or not!). I think about our efforts to live more simply & all the resistance that comes up each year. We can tell others, “Please, no gifts. Please, nothing. Please.” We say, “Books only for the children.” Everyone gets mad and thinks we are so incredibly selfish… how dare we ruin their holiday? I always wonder (aside from living more gently on this one & only planet of ours), aren’t we saving them money & hassle? After all, all those shoppers look so haggard & miserable.

    Ah, well… Here’s to a happy & hopefully simple holiday season ahead.

  2. Our holding of “comfort” as the highest good is our personal and collective downfall. What a bunch of sellouts.

  3. Thank you for this reminder. No matter what we hold as our ideal, we have a thus-far unique ability to pursue it. We owe it to ourselves to be mindful not only of this power but of its consequences.

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