“I do not particularly like the word 'work.' Human beings are the only animals who have to work, and I think that is the most ridiculous thing in the world. Other animals make their livings by living, but people work like crazy, thinking that they have to in order to stay alive. The bigger the job, the greater the challenge, the more wonderful they think it is. It would be good to give up that way of thinking and live an easy, comfortable life with plenty of free time. I think that the way animals live in the tropics, stepping outside in the morning and evening to see if there is something to eat, and taking a long nap in the afternoon, must be a wonderful life. For human beings, a life of such simplicity would be possible if one worked to produce directly his daily necessities. In such a life, work is not work as people generally think of it, but simply doing what needs to be done.”
Masanobu Fukuoka, The One-Straw Revolution
At the dawn of time, Man was not a complex creature, he was by nature, a basic and simple being, he needed little to survive the harsh reality that he faced. Through the cold, and the heat, and the most trying of times, Man survived, braving then what most of us now would tremble from. The essentials that were needed to survive consisted of food, water, shelter and a crucial, tactical acumen, nothing more was needed, it was both a simpler time, but also a more unforgiving time, mistakes might carry dire consequences, theses mistakes were to be learned from quickly, never to be repeated.
It is a testament to Man’s fortitude as a species that he survived to form and grow into what we are today, complex, thinking and feeling individuals. Just as a child is brought forth from the womb with nothing, Man in his simplest form does not need much to survive; only the basic needs are truly necessary. Think for a moment and pause from reading this book and ask yourself this question, what do I need to survive and to be happy, to live a full and complete life, with safety, security and comfort? After a few minutes of pondering this question, what did you come up with?
This beginning time could best be described as being both “rough and pure”, rougher because it was a time when life spans were shorter, a cold or flu-deadly, and a broken bone possibly meant death. This was the harshness of our early civilization, the part which was unsafe and at times dangerous. But what about that notion of purity that I mentioned? If we think of life before when it was a simpler time; we migrated with the food, moved with the seasons, and slept with the sun and moon, what could be more difficult or purer than that. It is now known that hunter-gatherer societies spent around 3-4 hours per day working to survive; they did not work as nearly as we do in our present situation.
Living simply implies that we survive on only what is vitally needed, nothing more than that is required. When we live simply, we live connected, connected to the Earth, the animals, the stars that guided us, the seasons that helped us to migrate. We would call it being connected with the numinous around us; the ancient Romans called it Numina or Numen, before they were influenced by the Greeks. There was a power that resided in nature and it was to be appreciated and respected and we were connected to it, we were its children and it was our parent. This is perhaps where the Gaia Hypothesis came from, the idea that there is a power or life in the Earth itself, that everything is alive.
I remember one summer being in Joshua Tree National Park hiking along a trail, on one of the bends I stopped because I saw something moving in the cliffs up ahead. I realized it must have been a Big Horn Sheep standing up there on the cliff face, climbing with relative ease what a man would have needed a rope to ascend. With each jump this sheep made there was a loud resounding crack that went through the valley floor, it sounded like thunder, and it had power. I wonder now if this was in some small way that connection to the primal force or the Numina that is all around us. Just as fish swims around in the ocean and lives in the water, it might not know that it is surrounded with water, I believe our ancient ancestors did, I believe they knew what was around us, they knew they were connected because they lived simply.
This loss of connection can also be examined in another way that most of us should understand; it will help us to understand the magic that we have lost in the connection to life around us. How many of our children or adults have seen the magnificence of the Milky Way, that band of white that crosses the sky each cloudless night? Maybe some people have seen it once while on vacation or a few times in their life, but, I would guess that most people have never truly seen the Milky Way in its entire splendor.
Now when we look at the night sky most of us just see an inky blackness, a darkness that is synonymous with our current situation. Where did that power go, the light that humbled us each day and bore down on our heads to tell us where we were and who was in charge. It is gone in our daily lives, almost entirely forgotten and forever covered and shielded from our eyes by our progress. The loss of our Milky Way, another example in how we have become less connected, we have had the light ripped right out from our eyes. What have humans lost in all this civilized life that it so proudly loves?
We have lost the idea of living simply, within our means, taking only what we need to survive, having a respect for our planet, and with that loss of respect, we are losing that connection, that divine part of ourselves that says I live here, I will respect her and take care of her. We have abandoned our mother earth and our father sky; we are lost children, wandering, with no one worthy left to guide us in our life. We suffer from what the modern psychologist would call “parent-child relational issue or V61.20”. This current distorted relationship that we have with our symbolic parents has long term detrimental effects, with it we lose our connection to the divine and our life becomes radically more complex and difficult. We are without a roadmap, our guide has been lost and we are stranded on the side of the road without the tools needed to get us out of our dilemma.
In trying to bend those natural laws of “simplicity and connection” we have created a complex and fabricated a shadow in which we are now under, held prisoner in a cell that has been built with our own hands.
Where did it all start to go wrong? Possibly the formation of the city-state or centralized living is the origin of our problems. Along with centralized living, the formation of the social structure, distinction between “this and I”, the evolution of money, or what I term the “green disease, and religious thinking. Finding out the cause in this case is not as important as looking at what we lost and how to fix it. Imagine if you were out walking in the jungle one day and someone hit you with one of those blow guns, they got you with a dart in your leg and you know there is lethal poison on it. In this situation you have two options run around the jungle to find out who shot you and die in the process or find the antidote and lose the shooter, which would you choose? That’s the way I feel about finding the cause, let the scholars sort that mess out and for us continue to look at our problem.
When the white man started to explore the New World the American Indians observed a sickness that the white man displayed for gold, the white man craved it, it drove him crazy, and it twisted him into an aberrant remnant of himself. Gold and the value of things had an alchemical process on the human psyche; Robert Louis Stevenson described it very well in his book “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde”, the only thing needed was “a secret ingredient” to change a Man to a Monster. Here was something that was transforming man into a vile creature and this was not the first time this had happened, it had been happening all throughout history. This transformation occurred in central Mexico, South America, Europe, Asia, the Middle East, it had been happening everywhere, it had a long history and was repeating itself in a new land.
So with all this said and written, it is without delay that I lapse into my informal writing style and lay it on the line, give it to you straight, what we see as the truth. The thesis of this book lies in the fact that money has twisted man into something perverse that is incongruent with his true nature. It has turned him into a Mr. Hyde, a shadow form of himself, a twisted and perverse monster. The rules of life have been changed, no longer do we live simply and live connected to the numinous life around us, we no longer reside in harmonious balance with the earth and our surroundings. We now can be described as a “cancer”; man is a fast-growing tumor that lives solely to invade other areas and to lay waste to those areas for his own desires. How does it feel when I compare the human race to a cancer or even a virus? Do you feel good about that statement? You are part of the problem, I am part of the problem, and we all are part of the problem. We now lives in the rules set forth by corporations and big business, the rules do not concern us, they concern profits, and it is a “green disease”, a disease of the acquisition of wealth.
Since the rules have been re-written we now live in a mal-adaptive feedback loop that is ruining both the human species and the planet that we live on. We have nowhere else to go after we are done killing this place, where shall we go, Mars, the Moon, the survivability is nil in those places. Besides each other, the earth is all we have. Terra-Psychology is a recent new development of the study of man in conjunction with the Planet, it examines the relationship between the two, and I wonder if the planet could speak what would it say to us?
“Live simply, simplify your life and you will enjoy it and it will become wonderful”