To solve problems,

understand how they started.

The purpose of this series is to address the question of Why.

Why is all of this happening?

 

Humanity has problems.  Everyone knows that.  Humans are messed up.

 

We can see it in the ecological crisis:  We're behaving like an invasive species, at total odds with the planet that hosts us.

 

Even those among us who don't understand ecology still notice that something is "off" about Man.  Maybe they refer to it as "the Fall."  At one point, we're living in a Garden, in harmonious coexistence with the rest of the Living World - all the other plants and animals.  And then something happened... and here we are.

So everybody knows something is going on. 

The purpose of this series of dialogues is to figure out why.

 

Why is humanity like this?

How did we get this way?

Have we always been this way?

Was there ever a time when we weren't this way?

If so, when did we change?

How did we change?

Why did we change?

If we can learn the answers to these questions, then we'll be able to know how to go forward.  If we can identify the source of the illness, then perhaps we can find a cure.

 


"So.   Where should we begin our inquiry?"

Here's an idea:

We know that there are some people - some cultures - that don't have the sickness.  

Perhaps if we learn from them, they can provide some clues?


"What cultures?"

You know.  Indigenous peoples.  Aboriginals.  Tribes living in remotes parts of the jungles.  Those kinds of cultures.


"Oh, I know what you're doing!

 

You're ROMANTICIZING indigenous peoples!

 

You're portraying them as if they're all super-spiritual, nature-loving, enlightened ones.

 

That's a classic Leftist ploy!  It's a mischaracterization!  It's designed to make Western Civilization look bad!  And it's not true!  The indigenous people that the West conquered were just as horrible towards Nature as anyone else!"

It's no ploy.  It's the truth.  

"And how do you know that?"

We can verify it with our own eyes.

"How?"

In places where aboriginal peoples live (or lived until very recently), there are old-growth forests.  Virgin forests.  Forests that have never been cut down.  

 

"OK, maybe those forests are nice and mature NOW... but how do you know they were always like that?

I mean, I read a theory that the Native American tribes were cutting and burning their forests all the time, and the only reason the European settlers found mature forests when they pushed into the interiors of the continents, was because the natives had all died from plagues (like smallpox) that the Europeans introduced.  So by the time they went westwards, the natives had been gone for a century, and the forests had regrown."

Nope.  It takes far longer than a century to produce a mature, old-growth forest.  It takes many hundreds of years.  Thousands, even.  Far longer than the time-frame in which colonization has been going on.

 

And how do you explain trees being 1000+ years old?


In order for a tree to be 1000+ years old, humans must never have cut or burned it.

And in order for a forest to be filled with such trees, humans must have never cut or burned the forest.

 

There's our proof, staring us right in the face.

3000 years old - South Africa

800 year old oak tree

3000 years old - Mexico

2000 years old - California

3000 years old - Botswana

1000 year-old Yew trees - Wales

This proves that aboriginal peoples had a fundamentally different relationship with Nature, compared to the cultures that conquered and replaced them.

​The conquering cultures even documented the spectacular abundance of Life that they found in the places inhabited by the aboriginal peoples.

Columbus wrote:  [quote needed]

[Author's note:  I remember reading quotes from the explorers about abundant life in the Americas... but I can't find the quotes now.  If you know where to find them, please email me at arbordragon@yahoo.com  Thanks!]

Varazzano wrote:  [quote needed]

Cartier wrote:  [quote needed]

Cabot wrote:  [quote needed]

Lewis and Clarke wrote:  [quote needed]

This is the kind of abundance the aboriginals were living with. 

 

"Well, sure, because they had such small populations!"

 

No they didn't. North America had a native population of over 100 million people!

They managed to preserve all this Life, even with fairly large populations.

It wasn't their population numbers - it was their methods. 

 

"How do we know those quotes weren't made up?  Maybe those explorers were embellishing - perhaps even lying - because they wanted to drum up interest in their patron countries, to validate their expeditions, and continue receiving funding!"

All of them?  They were all lying?

"Hmm... Well, it's a possibility, isn't it?"

We know they weren't lying, because these abundances were clearly visible to us (or to our ancestors).

We know, for instance, that they didn't drive species to extinction - because those species existed when "modern civilization" showed up!

For instance, they obviously didn't hunt the dodo bird to extinction, because dodo birds existed in the 1800's, when "modern civilization" arrived on the scene.


15,000 (perhaps as much as 30,000) years, with the dodo bird, when the aboriginals were in charge.


Then, 100 years of "modern civilization" in charge, and no more dodo bird. 

 

Same for the passenger pigeon.

Flocks of this bird used to be so large they darkened the sky for days at a time, as they passed.  Observers mistook the sound for thunder.

Passenger Pigeon Migration, 1800's

The passenger pigeon went from such abundance, to zero, in less than 100 years.

Same with so many other species, who once walked roamed, swam, and flew all across the continents, only to be winked out in an instant, relative to the total time-span of human history.

And those that remain, do so in drastically reduced numbers.

From the author Derrick Jensen:

The Tolowa Indians lived [in the Pacific Northwest]

for at least 12,500 years, and when the

dominant culture arrived, salmon still ran so

thick they turned entire rivers “black and roiling”

with their bodies.

Can you imagine so many whales

that the air looks foggy, just from their breath?

 

Can you imagine fish in such abundance

that they slow the passage of ships?

 

Can you imagine entire islands so full of

great auks that one European explorer said

they could load every ship in France and it

would not make a dent?  Well, they did, and it did,

and the last great auk was killed in the 19th century.

How did the world get to be so full of life in the first place?

 

Source:  Derrick Jensen:  "As the Amazon Burns, It's Time to Roll Up Our Sleeves"

All across the world, the original cultures preserved their environments.  They preserved such an abundance of Life, that people from the "modern world" marveled at it.

This proves that aboriginal peoples had a fundamentally different relationship with Nature, compared to the cultures that conquered and replaced them.


"But... They still did SOME damage, right?  They still cut down SOME trees, didn't they?  Perhaps there are 1000 year old trees in some parts, but not in every place.  They still practice agriculture (some of them at least), and agriculture means replacing the original ecosystems, doesn't it?  They weren''t 100% perfect non-harmers of Nature.  They caused some damage, sometimes, in some places."

We can't prove that every aboriginal culture took perfect care of their ecosystem, and none of them ever cut down any trees.  We can't prove that.  In fact, it's true that some of them did practice farming.

And some even had urban centers:

But here's what we do know:  They never, ever destroyed the land itself. 

 

Even in the few cases where they may have caused significant damage to the ecosystem, they didn't destroy the land.  They didn't remove the land's ability to regenerate.

 

They didn't strip mine.  They never did this:

They didn't do mountaintop removal.  

The entire top of this mountain has been chopped off, and the land scoured down to the bedrock.  Nothing will grow back, because all of the soil is gone.  It will take tens of thousands of years for trees to break the rock down into soil and recolonize this area.

They didn't do this:

Or this:

The didn't create garbage landscapes.

Or toxic waste dumps.  

They never made land so poisonous that a person could never set foot in it.

This proves that aboriginal peoples had a fundamentally different relationship with Nature, compared to the cultures that conquered and replaced them.

 

"OK, maybe they had a healthier society, in lots and lots of ways.  OK, all this is well and good, and good for them!  But there were also negatives, no?  They had no modern medicine.  Imagine what that musta been like!  Everyone getting sick all the time, with no medicine at all!  It makes me shudder to think of!"

Contagious diseases were not as widespread as you're assuming.  They are nowadays - but you're assuming nowadays = always.  And that's not true.

For instance:

 

When Europeans arrived in the Americas, the native population caught the Europeans diseases, and were decimated by them.  But it didn't work in reverse.  The European colonists didn't catch native American germs and drop by the millions.  Ever notice that?

"Hmm... Why was that?"

Because there weren't any to catch.

"Sure there were!  There must have been!"

Like what?  Give an example.

"Smallp- uh... no, that was the other way.  Hmm... So then why was it in only in one direction?  Was it because the Europeans lived in cities, and cities are breeding grounds of disease - whereas, the aboriginals didn't have cities, so the diseases never had a chance to breed and evolve and become epidemics?"

That's a good theory, but it can't account for the phenomenon, because there were cities in other continents too.  Mesoamerica and the Andes had some of the largest cities in the world.  North America had some too, in the Mississippian civilization, for instance.  Africa had the civilization of Great Zimbabwe and others.  The Amazon rain-forest is estimated to have been home to over 50-100 million people, before colonization.  And if any place is hot, wet, and fecund enough to have diseases, it ought to have been there. 

But it wasn't.  We know it wasn't, because the transfer of epidemic diseases only went in one direction.


It's not just population density that creates diseases - it's the way in which the population is living. 

And somehow, the way in which aboriginal peoples were living did not result in the breeding of contagious disease epidemics.

​​"OK, but what about other diseases?"

Those too did not exist with the same frequencies that they do nowadays.  It's well-documented that aboriginal peoples have no cancer, no heart disease, no neurodegenerative diseases, no back pain, and no dental problems, and they only start getting these things when they adopt "western" diets, work patterns, stressors, and lifestyles.

 

This provides even more evidence that aboriginal peoples had a fundamentally different relationship with Nature, compared to the cultures that conquered and replaced them.

"I have an objection!  I found a flaw in your reasoning!

 

The "aboriginal peoples" didn't destroy their environment, NOT because they were more enlightened, or more spiritual - but rather, simply because they didn't have the TECHNOLOGY to do so!  They didn't have the machines and chemicals that we have!  It's not that they "wouldn't" - it's that they just couldn't!"


But why didn't they develop the technology to do so?

"Because they were slower at developing.  Maybe they didn't have the optimum conditions. Maybe they just weren't as smart."

But why is it "smart" to develop technology to destroy the world?

If a culture doesn't develop such technology, wouldn't that mean they're more smart than the ones who do?

 

The indigenous cultures never developed the power to destroy the world.  That's a good thing.  It doesn't make them "primitive" or "stupid" - it makes them smart.  The fact that anyone could take pride in having developed the ability to put all life on the planet at risk, proves just how sick the malignant civilization has trained us to be.  

"The ability to destroy the world is just a byproduct of technological advancement itself.  Any culture that advances is going to develop these capabilities."

Then why advance?  If advancement inevitably leads to ecological degradation, mass mental-illness, alienation, torment, and the possibility of planetary self-destruction, then why do it?

 

"Umm... because even though it's bad now... and it's been bad so far...EVENTUALLY there will come a point in time when it starts becoming good.  And all the pain will have been worth it."

Supposing we don't destroy our entire planet first.

"Right.  Supposing that."

And when will this point in time be?

"Hmm...  I don't know.  But hey, it's not like we can "do" anything about this.  This is just how it goes.  This is the march of technology.  It always advances.  You can't stop it."

 

So you're saying that self-destruction (or at least the ability to self-destruct) is a natural and automatic feature built in to the process of evolution itself?


"Well clearly it is, because that's where technology leads."

That's where YOUR technology leads.

"What do you mean "my" technology?  Are you saying there's other kinds of technology?"

Yes.

 

This whole question frames technology as if it were a random occurrence - something that just "happens."

 

Technology doesn't just "happen."  People invent it.  And they do so according to their desires, values, and priorities.

 

Our belief system - our cosmology - determines what kinds of technology we invent.


Who says there's only one direction that technology can develop in?  Who says there's only one type of progression?

Just because our culture has a particular type (dominionist, self-destructive), doesn't mean ALL cultures are "bound" to have that type.  Technology could have more than one direction of progression.

It could be a 360 degree panorama of directions to choose from.

The idea that there's "only one" direction, and that this direction is "inevitable", is part of a larger philosophy called technocracy, which we will explore in
Chapter...

The lack of destructive technologies among aboriginal cultures provides even more evidence that they had a fundamentally different relationship with Nature, compared to the cultures that conquered and replaced them.

Some how, they were able to coexist with Nature - and do it healthily - even with quite a large population.

Clearly, they must have been doing something right.

They must know something... something most of us don't.

 

"Come on.  It's not like they were enlightened saints.  They still had problems, didn't they?"

Sure, all humans have the potential for good and evil, and indigenous people aren't/weren't exceptions.  But here's the difference:  When they did evil, it was normal evil - it fell within the normal range of evil behavior.  Yes, there was jealousy.  There was covetousness.  And sometimes, it led to violence and bloodshed.

But they did not do the things shown in the pictures above.  They did not make water undrinkable or air un-breathable.  They did not destroy entire ecosystems or threaten the continuity of life on Earth. They did not create any crises even close to being on par with this one. 

"Well I guess you're right about that."

 

So the problem is not our species.  We have the potential to be sane and healthy.  We have the ability to heal our hearts, reconnect with our innate awareness of the unity of all Life and shift our society's paradigm.  We can become a benign civilization.

So, considering that they know...

 

...perhaps they can provide clues to help us understand.

 

Maybe they can show us where we went wrong - how we got sick - and how to get better.

"Ok.  Great!  So... how do we obtain this vital knowledge from them?"


Well, what do you normally do, when you want to gather information from someone?

 

"Ask them?"

 

Good idea!  That would be the logical thing to do!

 

"Well I don't really know any jungle tribesmen... it's not like they hang out in my neighborhood, ya know?"

 

That's OK.  Plenty of other people have asked the questions and gathered the knoweldge.  And even today, many aboriginal people are coming forth and sharing the konwledge.
 

And whenever they're asked, they all say the same thing.  No matter what tribe, no matter what skin color, no matter what continent, they invariably give the same reply:

 

"You've lost your connection with Nature."

"You've forgotten who you are."

"You forget that Nature is a community,

and you're a member - not a master."

They point to the belief structure of our civilization.  To how we don't consider ourselves part of Nature, but rather "masters" or "owners" of Nature.  They point to the arrogance of thinking we could do whatever we wanted to our ecosystems, without having to face any consequences.

 

But why does our civilization behave so arrogantly?

Well, we built it on the wrong beliefs.

Beliefs are the foundations of society.  Any society.  No matter where, or when.  Every society is constructed from beliefs.  Specifically the big beliefs.  The beliefs that answer (or attempt to answer) the Big Questions, like:

"Who are we?"

"Where did we come from?"

"What is this universe?  Who made it?  What's it made of?"

"What is our place in this universe?"

"What is our relation to the other inhabitants?"

"Do we have a purpose?  If so, what is it?"

However a culture answers these questions, determines what kind of society they will build.

The sum total of these beliefs is what's known as a "cosmology."  And, according to the aboriginal peoples, modern society has a false cosmology.

From the Greek:

cosmo:  world

logy:  the study of

Every man-made structure you see around you - all buildings, layouts, devices, all social and economic systems - all reflect the cosmological belief system of the people who made it.

When one's cosmology aligns with the truth, one will act in ways that harmonize with the natural world.

When one's cosmology contradicts the truth, one will design systems that are incompatible with the natural world at a fundamental level.  And that's what our "modern civilization" has done.

And all the aboriginal peoples point to our cosmology as being the source of our sickness.

Originally, we all shared the same cosmology.  But at some point, some of us changed, onto a different path.

Continue to the next page:

Chapter 2:  The Two Cosmologies

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