THE LIFELY GROUP NEWSLETTER
Sign up to receive occasional newsletter updates.
The Meaning of Lifely
LIFELY is an old word from the Old English with an archaic meaning of "in a lifelike manner."
As an adjective, it means "of, pertaining to, or imbued with life."
We think it's the perfect word to use to describe a way of living that arises from Life itself rather from the materialistic orientation of our industrial world.
We had to find a new word because there wasn’t a word in common usage in the English language that represents the act of living in a way that is “like life.” We delved into the English language and found there was an obscure word, so we dug it up and brushed it off and are bringing it into the present.
That there had been no English word to describe this shows how very far away we as a society had been from being aware of Life or using it as a guide for human activities.
If we are to be "like life" then we need a definition of life.
Dictionaries define life as
The condition that distinguishes animals and plants from inorganic matter, including the capacity for growth, reproduction, functional activity, and continual change preceding death.
After years of observing, exploring, researching, and studying Life, we've come to this definition:
Life is the action of spirit acting upon matter to bring matter into forms and systems that behave in a manner that perpetuates the system over time.
In order to participate in Life itself, we first need to know something about it. Information about actual life on Earth is sadly missing throughout out culture, which is defined primarily with the assumptions of industrialization.
Humans and the Hierarchy of Life
As human beings, we are only one expression of Life among other expressions of Life.
There is, in fact, in the field of biology, a Hierarchy of Life, which organizes life from the least to the most inclusive systems:
organisms <<<<<<< HUMANS
biosphere <<<<<<< EARTH
As organisms, we humans are made up of atoms, molecules, macromolecules, organelles cells, tissues, organs, and systems, and dwell within populations, communities, ecosystems, biomes, and the biosphere of Earth.
The actuality is that we humans support other forms of life within our own body systems, and are supported by the systems in which we dwell.
We are part of the whole of Life, yet in our society we are almost completely unaware of this.
Taxonomy and the Classification of Life-Forms
Also in the field of biology, there is a system known as taxonomy, which is is the science of naming, defining and classifying groups of biological organisms life-forms on the basis of shared characteristics.
All names fit into a nested hierarchy that shows where the life-form ranks among other kife-forms.
Here is the taxonomy for Homo sapiens:
Species: Homo sapiens
But what is this life-form Homo sapiens?
What Does It Mean to Be Human?
According to the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, Homo sapiens are identified anatomically by
- a lighter skeleton
- very large brains
- a thin-walled, high vaulted skull
- a flat and near vertical forehead
- less developed jaw with smaller teeth.
But the behavior of Homo sapiens was different from their ancestors as well, in the ways they interacted with their surrounding environment:
- they made specialized tools
- they used their specialized tools to make other tools
- they ate a variety of animal and plant foods
- they had control over fire
- they lived in shelters.
And they interected with each other in different ways as well:
- they built broad social structures beyond their own tribes
- they exchanged resources with other Homo sapiens over wide areas
- they created art, music, body adornments, rituals, and complex systems of symbols
- they greatly expanded their population.
Perhaps our most unique and valuable characteristic as Homo sapiens is our ability to use and adapt our environment to our advantage in order to survive. For example, while other animals might kill an animal for food and leave the fur and bones behind, Homo sapiens ate the meat, used the bones to make tools, and wore the fur to keep warm. As a result of this ability, Homo sapiens have spread to every continent in the world, and are able survive even in environments that are extremely inhospitable.
Clearly this Homo deserves to be called sapiens (discerning, wise, and sensible).
But this strength may also be our downfall. Whereas for millennia our numbers and modes of living made little effect on the ecosystems of the Earth, expanding populations and industrial technologies now are damaging the very ecosystems that support our human life-forms. We cannot continue to draw upon resources and produce pollution at the rate we have been to support our modern industrial consumer lifestyle. We need to change.
We would argue that today Homo sapiens is no longer discerning, wise, and sensible. Our lesson now as a species is to learn to interact with the environment in a way that allows our supporting environment to be sustained.
Going Beyond Homo Sapiens
It’s not impossible for Homo sapiens to learn to sustain Life. The activities of all other species on Earth—every single one of them—contribute to regenerating and sustaining the life of the whole ecosystem in which they live. The end result of participating in Life's processes is more life, more abundance, and the sustaining of all life into the future. Birds do it, bees do it, flowers and trees do it. Since we Homo sapiens are a species of nature, we must have within us the same ability to do it too.
In fact, we do have the ability to sustain Life. There is just one little problem. All other species act on instructions received from the spiritual source that gives their physical forms life. Homo sapiens has those same instructions available from the same source, but we also have free will to do whatever we want. And that is what has gotten us into trouble, We’re acting on our unique ability to adapt the environment to our advantage, without the balance of information from the common spiritual source that connects us inherently to the Whole of Life.
What today’s Homo seems to be missing is access to the very thing that organizes and sustains life—spirit. As a society, we operate on the idea that human bodies must be kept alive at all costs, and we go to great lengths to do just this. But the very spirit that gives our bodies life at birth and sustains the health of our bodies throughout our lifetime is largely unknown or ignored in our society today.
Restoring spirit awareness and ability to human individuals and society could be the factor that saves our individual lives, our species, and the entire web of life on our planet.
To us, what is means to be human goes way beyond our anatomy and behavior. It's time for Homo sapiens to develop our full potential and take our place in Life,