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Monday, February 4, 2013

Have We Lost Our Humanity?

Have We Lost Our Humanity?

By Robert Wolff
Op Ed News Op Eds
February 04, 2013

Our scientists are renowned. We know so much. But we know more
about the universe and about bacteria and viruses than we know
about ourselves.

Certainly, we know more than ever about the functioning of our
physical selves.

We have multiple imaginations about who we are and where we fit
into the biosphere, for instance. But somewhere we have lost
ourselves as humans.

We, meaning the western, "we" assume and accept that we are
totally apart from the earth and all other creators. We believe we
own the planet.

Most of humankind still knows that we are Mother Earth's children,
as the President of Bolivia, Evo Morales, said. We are not the boss;
we do not own the world. If anything, the planet owns us.

Humans everywhere have rituals and beliefs that strengthen their
cohesion as a cooperative community.

We westerners, modern humans, have grandiose and unreal beliefs
about our unlimited power to do what we want. What we do with all
our power endangers our own survival and that of many other species.

I think that is because we know so much about matter, and so little
about the spirit that is the essence of life.

We have come to think that, "spirit" is unmeasurable and therefore
not scientific, not worth thinking about.

Perhaps because we think spirit is religion, and so outside the realm
of science that deals only with matter, another form of energy as
Einstein formulated.

The only rational something to pay attention to.

But to me the word, "spirit" does not mean religion. Religion is the
package, what we create around spirit. Religion is a form we give
spirit and we can make hundreds, thousands of forms.

It is hard to talk about, or define, "spirit" in a culture that accepts
only matter as real.

To me spirit is more real than matter. It is the awe that is at the
core of life.

Spirit is in what we call love, compassion.

Spirit is the indomitable something of the people who struggled to
reach the poles despite inhuman odds, climbed the highest mountains
of the Himalayas.

Spirit is what makes children surviving a cyclone in Burma take care
of each other, when in the confusion no adults are around.

Spirit is what makes people all over the world make sometimes great
efforts to raise baby animals orphaned by hunters or poachers who
killed the nursing mother tiger, or elephant.

Spirit is the mysterious something we feel on a lonely beach when
happening upon an unusual, almost unreal, sunrise on a far horizon.

Spirit, I imagine, is what the first space traveler felt when he saw
the earth, the whole earth and understood the miracle of this ball of
matter that is alive, held in a trajectory around the sun by invisible
forces.

I'm not sure that only humans have spirit.

I wonder what animals feel at sunset: usually no wind, fading light,
birds who chatter loudly in a tree suddenly silent. Even the roosters
here stop crowing.

I remember a time when a friend and I were at a rocky beach. Her
dog could not stop bounding from one rock to another sniffing and
playing with the waves. Until it began to get dark. When a blood-
red sun lit up the sky at the far horizon the dog sat frozen at our
feet, as enraptured as we were.

Hiding, ignoring, or denying spirit makes a cruel culture. It leaves
us searching for ideals. Something greater, more important, than
the fear which drives us today.

A majority of, "We the People" chose the ideals so eloquently
spoken, but some politicians did not hear and perhaps had
more power through worshipping money.

The irony, of course, is that money is an illusion.

A piece of paper printed with the words, "ten dollars" is not worth
anything but the price of a printed piece of paper.

But seller and buyer accept the belief that it can buy ten dollars
worth of stuff.

History is full of occasions when suddenly people woke up and no
longer believed the worth of a piece of paper.

The wealth of the super rich is as illusional, it consists of numbers
in a computer that we let it intimidate us.

Maybe you think spirit is as illusionary as money because it does
not buy anything. Oh, but it does!

It does not buy material things, but spirit makes us human.

Spirit is what gives compassion.

Com-passion: with-feeling. Not doing to others what we do not
want others to do to us.

Isn't that the exact opposite of what our current culture does?

We do to others what we don't want them to do to us.

It is a law of nature, a law of the universe perhaps, that the
more we kill others the more the others will kill us.

But what do I know? I'm a 20th Century man, I don't understand
this century.

But I do know that a culture based on fear is not healthy. If
everyone and anyone is suspected of being a possible danger,
we make ourselves the danger.

A healthy culture is based on trust. It seems to me that is what
this Republic was meant to be by the Fathers.

Trusting that, "We the People" were honorable human beings,
trusted to want the best for all of us.

Yes, flawed because at the time slaves were not considered quite
human (although human enough to bear half white children). But
we corrected that.

Now we are plagued with the disease of mistrusting people of
another religion, another color, other thoughts. Distrust does
not a healthy society make.

We have lost the human.

Humans are not all alike, humans have unique qualities and talents;
that make ours a unique and talented society.

We cannot forget or ignore that humans have spirit even when it is
hidden behind one or more masks.

Anyone remember Dune, by Frank Herbert? Famous science fiction
of the second half of the last century. This is from that book the
first, the original:

"I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death
that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it
to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will
turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there
will be nothing. Only I will remain."

(The Litany of Fear, Bene Geserit rite, from DUNE, by Frank Herbert,
c. 1965)

http://www.opednews.com/articles/Have-We-Lost-Our-Humanity-
by-robert-wolff-130201-608.html

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