When it comes to nature, we’re like a child in a control room. Many buttons, switches, and knobs, but we don’t know how they are all wired on the inside. There are only so many functions we can learn by trial and error, by pressing on something and looking for a direct outcome.
So we put all our focus on mechanical actions that show us direct natural reactions. Reducing gas emissions, recycling plastic, fighting to save the forests and so forth.
However, we don’t take into account a whole other level where we need to maintain balance with nature, and that’s the inner workings of the human being: our thoughts, aspirations, intentions and relationships. All of the above are also part of nature. Again, like the child in the control room, we have no idea how these buttons play out.
“THEREFORE, OUR THOUGHTS, EMOTIONS, AND DESIRES ARE ALL PRODUCTS OF NATURAL EVOLUTION AND HAVE A FUNCTION IN THE NATURAL SYSTEM – WE JUST DON’T KNOW WHAT IT IS.”
While it usually escapes our modern thinking, human beings, and all that they do, think, and feel, is inseparable from the natural system. Unlike earlier cultures, we’ve lost our instinctive sense of connection with nature and have grown to see the natural world we inhabit as separate from us. But the reality is that no aspect of our being is detached from the natural system and we are completely subject to its laws.
Therefore, our thoughts, emotions, and desires are all products of natural evolution and have a function in the natural system – we just don’t know what it is. However, not knowing how something works doesn’t mean it has no effect. Rather, it means we haven’t yet discovered how it works.
So before you classify this article as far-fetched, let me remind you that until some 500 years ago, virtually everyone believed the earth was the center of the universe. And when someone suggested the earth was moving around the sun, it wasn’t so easy for people to digest. Copernicus’ writings were banned in some circles for almost three centuries.
In terms of our understanding of natural eco-systems, just about 20 years ago no one realized that wolves can change rivers. When a few wolves were reintroduced into Yellowstone Park after a 70 year absence, they forced deer to move to areas where they’re harder to capture, which allowed overgrazed areas to regenerate dramatically. The trees grew higher; birds started moving in; more beavers emerged and created niches for other species; and very quickly, a vast eco-system has flourished with many new species. But most interestingly, the regenerating forests stabilized the riverbanks, setting fixed courses for rivers to flow. And so, a few wolves have changed the physical geography of Yellowstone Park.