Rather than compartmentalising our knowledge and perception, to fully experience reality and build a sustainable society we should open ourselves to the interconnectedness of all of the web of life, argues author Giles Hutchins
From as early as I can remember, I have been in love with nature. Beyond the facts or figures we hear about the environment, I live in awe of her creativity, her unfathomable richness.
There is an intrinsic wisdom and beauty to nature, and only our perception prevents us from fully experiencing this. Nature is the space from which the creative energy emerges that drives the evolution of life. Psychologist Carl Jung called this space the collective unconscious. It is far beyond what our rationalising minds can comprehend, yet it is always with us and pervades our consciousness through dreams, meditations, mantras, soulful reflection and creative undertakings.
Da Vinci, Pythagoras and Confucius all acknowledged this wisdom within nature, as have scientists such as Haisch, Bohm, Whitehead and Einstein, and poets such as Keats, Coleridge, Wordsworth and Blake have described feeling immersed in its flow.
I have always sensed that ‘ground of being’, from which everything in life is rooted. This sacred ground from which creativity spawns, permeates everything and flows through every atom.
“We do not need to impose another ideology or set of beliefs onto reality. Instead, we need to hold space for opening and heightening our awareness, individually and collectively”
Western scientists now comprehend ‘dark energy’ and the ‘quantum vacuum’ as a real presence flowing throughout the cosmos. And more recently, the frontiers of psychology and holistic science speak of our deeper nature – the ‘ecological-self’ beyond the ‘ego-self’ – immersed within the interconnected web of life. These echo the ancient concepts of Akasha, Shekinah, Motherly Space, Indra’s Net and the Tao, which refer to our being as an all-pervasive presence permeating throughout reality. Nothing is separate from this presence, everything is immersed within it; it is the primordial ground of our awareness.
Yet, over time our collective mindset has tended towards an alienating sense of separation from this ground of being, creating an illusion of separation. It is what Einstein referred to as an optical illusion of consciousness, which distorts our experience of reality and ends up imprisoning us, restricting the way we perceive and relate to others and the world around us. It has also resulted in science becoming divorced from spirituality.
This illusion of separation is sown deep into the very fabric of our socio-economic and political model of capitalism and the scientific-philosophy of rationalism that underpins it. It stems from a flawed logic of how the world works. Our rational minds abstract reality in to neatly definable fragments in order to objectify them. This separates the things we objectify them from the fluidity of how they are experienced as part of a living whole.
This is fine as a scientific endeavour – and an important part of what makes us human – yet when these divisions in knowledge are then believed as true reality, then these artificial abstractions distort our understanding. Our perspective becomes increasingly narrowed down and fragmented. In our desire to understand the world we create an artificial separation of spirit from matter and self from nature. We consciously extract ourselves from the very ground of our being and then fall into the trap of believing our own abstraction. Soon, life is viewed as nothing more than a purposeless random affair of dog-eat-dog competition. This is the disenchanting story we teach our children today. It is a story based on a logic that is dreadfully inadequate and deeply divisive.
Giles Hutchins will speak at Natural Leaders Now, in London on 22-23 November. Positive News readers can get 10% off tickets by using the code PneWsNNL. Natural Leaders Now is a conference and interactive event led by inspiring international speakers and teachers including Mac Macartney, Scilla Elworthy and Jamie Catto.
Capitalism draws on neo-Darwinian logic, defining relationships as self-maximising power plays, where one benefits only at the expense of the other. It is what the anthropologist Gregory Bateson understood as the “original corruption”, which pits us against nature, setting us up for an evolutionary cul-de-sac of selfish ascendance. This flawed logic is at the root of the inequality, the wars, the poverty, the pollution and ecological devastation in our midst. Yet, in our rush to find solutions to these ever widening and deepening problems, we often apply the same logic that created them in the first place. The Golden Rule, ‘love thy neighbour as thy self’ becomes little more than a desirable ethic to be dispensed with as nice-to-have. The deeper wisdom this affords us – love as the ground of wisdom permeating self and other – is lost amid consumerism.
As former president of Czechoslovakia, Vaclav Havel said in an address to the US Congress: “Without a global revolution in the sphere of human consciousness, nothing will change for the better in the sphere of our being as humans, and the catastrophe toward which this world is headed – be it ecological, social, demographic, or a general breakdown of civilization – will be unavoidable.”
We do not need to impose another ideology or set of beliefs onto reality. Instead, we need to hold space for opening and heightening our awareness, individually and collectively. This way we can allow the truth, wisdom and love to co-creatively emerge free from dogma and delusion. Nature, within and all around us, is the participating aliveness of this co-creativity, we just fail to tune-in due to the optical illusion of separation we ourselves impose on the world. As Bob Marley said: “Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery, none but ourselves can free our minds.”
There is no better time and place than the situation we find ourselves in now, for us to open our hearts and minds to nature. This is the beginning of a truly sustainable logic: inspired by and in harmony with nature. This is not a sacrifice but rather a rebirth, which spawns from the marriage of our rational and intuitive mind, our head and our heart, our science and our soul. To found any new society on anything less would be unsustainable and ultimately fruitless. It’s time to wake up to the inherent grammar running through life and begin to live up to our name as Homo sapiens: wise humans.
Giles Hutchins is the author of The Illusion of Separation, published by Floris Books. Giles will speak at Natural Leaders Now, on 22-23 November in London. Positive News readers can get 10% off tickets for the event by using this code during checkout: PneWsNNL