The world has changed. There is no precedent. As far as I can reason, there is only one constant. Balance. Much 'information' becomes meaningless when I consider our population. If I turn on my television, I am told that my dollars will help to send powdered milk to the starving infant on my screen and buy some seeds and a hoe for his father, who has AIDS. I am told that I need a new car, a trip to Mexico, a new mattress and whiter teeth. I am told that I need to shrink my prostate gland and I also need to use Viagra. I hear Stephen Hawking giving a speech in which he advises the world science community to build a permanent habitation in outer space or to colonize another planet within 20 years. The news channels show me people killing each other everywhere. I learn about new diseases and of outbreaks of diseases that were previously 'conquered'. I see the balance. I hear the discussions of politicians about each conflict and analyses of global markets. I see human nature. It is a lot of information. I must judge what is true, what is false and what is pertinent. In my view, our current predicament was born when we began agriculture. In other words, when we became 'civilized'. A surplus of anything is a magnet for troubles of many kinds. Greed, laziness and robbery are encouraged. This system demanded a manager to oversee the surplus and an army to defend it. Various political systems developed. People adopted symbols, such as money to represent food and other commodities. People began to crowd into towns near the storehouses. A new degree of separation developed between humans and the true source of their nourishment. If we examine the human cultures that did not choose this way of doing things, we see a different reality. Aboriginals had an intimate connection to the planet and everything on it. It is significant that the false idea, that humans are the overlords of all other things, did not germinate. The idea that one could own the land did not exist. The populations of these types of societies were held in an appropriate balance by nature. This is not to say that I think we are not in balance now. Balance is constant. The balance we are racing toward is an empty dying planet with only one species of animal. Civilization, as I defined it earlier, magnifies our effect on the planet, which must magnify its counter-balance. Because of technology, one person has the effect of thousands of people on the environment. The European immigrants and the aboriginals of North America collided and absorbed the influences of each other. When the student is ready, the teacher will appear. Who, pray is the student and who is the teacher? It is imperative that world leaders heed aboriginal wisdom and indigenous knowledge. Aboriginals are also an endangered species. World leaders are subject to the fate of the whole population. We are all in the same boat. It is time to choose to avoid extinction. I can also think of a fate worse than extinction. It is now a common practice to put people on mechanical life support systems, who would otherwise be dead. Shall we attempt this with our entire biosphere?
Michael Hawes was born in Texas, raised in Louisiana and lives in British Columbia.