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Saturday, April 18, 2015

What Does It Mean To Be Human?

Repositioning Humanity In The Greater Scheme Of Things

By Rob Plastow
Adbusters.org
April 18, 2015

Like goldfish in a bowl totally ignorant of “water,” we often fail to
notice how colonized our consciousness has become by capitalism
and how the resulting ideology permeates our life.

We find we revert to the same flawed thoughts that caused
our problems to fix them.

The recession of 2007 was followed with the expansion of a litany
of environmental harms caused by previous development.

Western Governments have doubled-down on neoliberalism:
greater austerity, widened gaps of inequality, less regulation,
greater global CO2 emissions — all in the quest for economic
growth.

We’ve hit the accelerator instead of the brakes as we mercilessly
try to do things better — when we should open our eyes to the
“water” all around us.

Our problems are those of ideology, belief, perception, values
and identity — so, we need a shift in all these phenomena if we
are to overcome our current problems.

This task is complex and overwhelming without a singular correct
route to success.

We must look to science and learn what it can tell us about our
relationship to the natural world , to which we are fundamentally
tied.

Contrary to the claims of anthropocentrism (human centeredness)
maintained solely by cultural inertia, man is not separate from
nature.

The relationship is in fact interdependent and interconnected.

All things share one origin.

This information has yet to be culturally assimilated.

This understanding provides a shift in pre-analytic vision
engendering alternatives to our current, flawed cultural
information.

It allows us to see the water of Western ideology and encourages us
to think anew from an eco-centric point of view with the potential
to reframe our identity, our values and therefore our culture, so we
and future generations may be better placed to solve the problems
essential to survival.

An important discovery was made in the 1920s.

Lemaitre and Hubble observed galaxies moving away from us in all
directions, and it became clear the furthest away were moving the
fastest, proving that the universe is expanding.

The principle of this discovery also infers that, were we to rewind
time to before the expansion, everything in the universe would be
in one place — it originated as a singularity — a small, almost
infinitely dense point expanding to form the universe as we know it.

Charles Darwin’s research exposed additional existentially
important discoveries.

The facts of which have permeated our culture, but without an
understanding when combined with Lemaitre and Hubble’s work.

Their synthesis of knowledge brings a natural conclusion to the
theory of evolution: all life on Earth descends from a single
common ancestor.

A single celled organism often called the Last Universal Ancestor
(LUA) that lived 3.7 billion years ago, yet shares many common
traits with bacteria alive today.

From both discoveries we can see that every living thing shares
a common origin, as do all things in the universe.

With this knowledge, the story of how we came to be here
emerges under a new light.

This story begins when a single point of near-infinite quantum
density saw an inflammatory kick in pressure that released the
energy of the BIG BANG!

As it cooled, it gave rise to hydrogen and helium atoms, the
gravitational fields of these atoms drew them together into
clouds that amassed over millions of years.

The growing friction and compaction saw the birth of the
first stars illuminating the universe.

Inside these stars hydrogen atoms (1 proton) were fused to
form helium (2 protons).

Helium atoms fused together to form heavier atoms.

Through a cosmic cycle of birth and explosive death, bigger stars were formed that could fuse even more protons into atoms up until iron, which has 26.

Heavier elements, such as gold, could not be fused even in the hearts of the biggest stars.

Instead they needed a supernova, a stellar explosion large enough
to outshine a galaxy and produce more energy in a few weeks than
our sun will produce in its entire lifetime.

The next time you look at the gold in your jewelery, you can
remind yourself you are wearing debris of a supernova exploded
in the depths of space.

You can remind yourself such stellar fusions and explosions
produced all the elements in the universe, including the carbon,
oxygen, nitrogen, hydrogen, calcium, phosphorus and other atoms
our bodies are constructed of.

We ourselves are made of Big Bang debris … we are made
of the same dust as the stars.

It’s filtered through iterations of cosmic evolution that saw
the emergence of our galaxy, solar system and planet from
which the LUA and all the species came and went.

This almost magical sounding story of what happens when
hydrogen is left alone to be governed only by the laws
of nature for 13.8 billion years is much like its contents in
the story itself — CONSTANTLY EVOLVING.

We are part of an ongoing cosmic evolutionary process.

Every atom in our bodies was forged in the death throes of stars.

We share DNA with all life on Earth: from trees in a rainforest
to fungi in the Cornish soil.

The woman across the road or a dog you crossed in the park.

Despite the cultural inertia of anthropocentrism-based science,
we are not separate.

WE ARE ONE.

When we reposition our perspective it sheds new light on what
it means to be human.

It is not all about us.

It is about something much larger — something we are a part of.

We can at all times be guided by two well-established pieces of
advice that, from an eco-centric perspective, take on greater
significance: “know thyself” and “to thine own self be true.”

To take our first steps then, let us look at ourselves, our planet and
the life upon it as well as the cosmos of all we have discovered and
ask: what is it to be human and how do we live as a result?



Rob Plastow lives by the sea in Cornwall with his Wife. Central
to his writing is a critical, ecocentric perspective that has been
developed from a deep love of art and science and years of working
in music, education and muddy fields.

https://www.adbusters.org/magazine/118/anthropocentrism.html

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