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The Good Human
While human beings are commonly portrayed as being inherently "bad," I believe we can do better than just be less bad. I believe not only that we can be "good humans" but that it is actually our inherent human nature to be good.
We humans are Life as much as trees and butterflies are—we are a species among other species. As beings of Life it is possible to be constructive participants in the processes of Life, rather than destroy Life. We can be fully 100% "good" participants by understanding and applying the laws of Life--which is an expansive, fertile, creative, abundant, prosperous thing--rather than having to curb and limit our existing "bad" activities.
Being human is different from being a consumer. As human beings, we are made up of spirit, mind, and body, so there is more to us than simply the physical. From my own observation, some of the characteristics of being human are:
- being primarily concerned with spiritual satisfaction and ethical living. This doesn't mean no interest or value of the material, but it means having some perspective that there is more to life than mass accumulation of stuff. Values -- including beauty and social and environmental effects -- play an important part in material choices.
- self-worth defined by self instead of others
- using resources with an awareness of their source and a respect for their continued regeneration
- being self-determined, observing and thinking for oneself, making one's own decisions
- awareness that one is an individual, but that one lives within community and the world at large (both human and other-than-human), and that one's well-being includes the well-being of all
- relying on yourself as able and skilled, wanting to do for yourself and others, irrepressible joy of creativity, wanting to both serve and be served
- respect for all life, including sustaining both ecosystems and humans
As human beings, we naturally have virtues that are uncommon in our society: self-restraint, thrift, frugality, nurturing, prudence, wisdom, responsibility, an appreciation of quality over quantity, cooperative relationships, creativity, commitment, and love. These are abilities of the spirit that are available to everyone.
As I have becoming more aware of myself as a being of spirit, it has become easier and easier to live outside of consumer culture. It's just no longer important to me to have more things than I need for my work, or to wear the latest fashion. I can make decisions about my life based on my own values. Pursuing spirituality instead of shopping has been the path out of consumerism for me.
I experience my everyday life from the viewpoint of a spirit being living in the world of physical, biological Earth. Our nature as spiritual beings is to create. It is our joy to bring life into being. In times past, we humans spent our time creating the stuff of our daily lives—growing food, baking bread, weaving clothes. All life was supported by local ecosystems. Natural resources were made into useful life-enhancing products by the people who lived in those ecosystems just as a bird builds its nest from materials at hand.
The saddest part about industrialism to me is that after just over a hundred years of industrialism, today we have lost our role as creators, our skills of creation, and our connection to the source in nature of the materials of our daily lives. As a species, we have largely forfeited our self-determinism to survive and are now dependent on multinational corporations to create our world and sustain our bodies.
The overconsumption of consumerism arises from the need to fill an internal emptiness with something. The only antidote I know is spirit. My experience is that when one becomes aware they are a spiritual being, that emptiness is filled, and one can then act in the world as a creative healing force instead of a voracious vacuum.
One morning I was out in my garden picking tangerines. The tree was covered with an abundance of ripe, sweet, juicy fruits. I had such a joyful feeling that I had so many more than I could possibly need or even use. I began to think about how I could give them away to people who would appreciate them. This is one aspect of life as an aware spirit—to experience so much abundance that we can give to others without any lack for ourselves. Wouldn't that be a wonderful world? Everybody experiencing so much fullness of love and life that we were all looking to give to each other?
I've learned that our own intention is stronger than any condition in life. We can create our own lives and the world in any way we choose. We don't have to be consumers—we have the power in our own hands and hearts to make our lives and our world as we choose.
Living As Good Humans
To me, discovering ourselves as good humans breaks down into four major areas of action. Though all are necessary facets to the whole of our humanity, separating them out in this way makes them easier to understand and apply.
1 – Choosing green products and lifestyle activities
This includes everything about the material goods we buy or make for our daily sustenance, and all the actions we take in our daily lives. It considers the effect our consumer choices have on our health and the environment--for better or worse--as well as the whole idea of consumerism as a lifestyle. Some steps to take include:
- learning about and reconsidering consumerism
- curbing the most destructive actions, such as not using toxic chemicals and eliminating waste
- choosing the most life-supporting products currently available and supporting those businesses producing and selling such products
- creating a home environment using materials you know to be healthy, safe, and eco-friendly to use.
2 – Becoming aware of and reorienting one's life to Life
This is about doing things such as learning about and integrating our lives into local ecosystems, celebrating the seasons, telling time by celestial lights, locating directions, and other things I will be writing about on my Living As Nature blog.
3 – Living according to natural laws
All Life is governed by natural laws. Applying these laws in our lives leads to success, health, and the sustaining of life. For the most part, we are completely unaware of these laws in our modern culture. But they are known, can be learned, and easily applied in our own lives. I will be writing about these natural laws on my Living As Nature blog.
4 – Discovering our essential nature as spiritual beings
Spirit is the source of caring, creativity, and conscience—all qualities that are necessary to be good humans. By becoming more aware of our own innate spiritual characteristics and abilities, we have an unlimited resource of life to draw upon.
I have been studying how we can make the shift from living as consumers in an industrial world to living as beings of nature in the natural world for more than twenty-five years now. I gathered a lot of information and then decided it couldn't be done. But since learning the basic assumptions of industry, I've changed my mind. I don't have to accept those assumptions for my life. I've realized that the key is to understand the basic principles of nature and apply them to every aspect of my life.
It's more than a matter of choosing something that already exists. We have something new here to create! So let's get to it...