Civilization has not always been directed towards consumption and fulfilling the needs of capital and industry. A calmer, more natural way of living once bound together human societies. We can do it again. Not by giving up all progress and cultural advancement, but by taking seriously the habits and spiritual life of Native Americans.
While it is true that there is great diversity in the languages, customs, and traditions of Native American peoples, the one thing they hold in common is the view that human beings are part of nature and must therefore strive to live in harmony with other animal species and all other parts of the biosphere. The effort to protect and preserve the environment cannot be reduced to programs and policies aimed at controlling emissions, waste, and development. It requires us to think in completely new ways about our existence on this planet and its impact. Indeed, it may better to say that it requires us to return to a mode of thinking that humankind has had for most of the time we’ve been on Earth.
Native American life is a guide to such a change. Because they have endeavored to preserve man of their ways of organizing and administering themselves and their resources, we, who have reached the limit of what can be sustained in industrial production and consumption, can learn much from their example.
It is falsely believed that the social and economic practices of the modern industrial world represent humanity at the height of its rational powers and cultural sophistication. Technology and science have given rise to industries in medicine, housing, transportation, and communication that make life the most comfortable and the least brutal and degraded than it has ever been. Though it is right to acknowledge the benefits of mass produced health care products and systems that have greatly enhanced the quality of life as well as widely available systems and devices such as central heating, running water, sewage systems, electricity that have mitigated the worst effects of cold and disease, one cannot stop there. We must, at the end of it all, have a planet that is habitable to live on; and our current habit of overrunning nature and mismanaging our resources is making that increasingly impossible.
If we were to take the appropriate lessons from Native Americans, then we might begin the process of developing new conceptions of how to rationally organize our economy and society and finding new ways of living with the rest of nature.
For years, Jay North has been writing on this very subject. His writings have included metaphysical books, environmental books, New Age books, and Native American books. His aim is to give thought and insight into the practices, customs, and habits of peoples whose spiritual life grounds their respect and attentiveness to all that is around them.
No real and lasting action can be taken on the environment without a radically new perspective of how to live in harmony with it. The spiritual books Jay North Books by One Globe Press Books is a way of starting a journey towards such a view.
Jay North: Published author, organic gardener, and social activist, naturalist. Jay is truly inspirational at appreciating the journey and the roller coaster of life! For more information please visit www.oneglobepress.com.