By Lee Van Ham
When so much of what we’ve depended on for stability is breaking down, which of the great powers are allies? Which ones remain committed to the MultiEarth ways that are causing climate and societal breakdown? Which are allies in our goal of OneEarth living? Let’s begin with the sequence of how Nature, civilization, and corporations have come about.
First, there was Nature (4.5 billion years ago), which is the context for civilization and corporations. Then came civilization (~12,000 years ago), which seeks to civilize Nature, taming her wildness for predictability and profit. More recently came corporations (the 1790s in the U.S. with East India Company being established in 1600C.E.) which are designed to extract resources and make a profit for shareholders. All these powers are shaping human life—indeed, all life on our planet. Corporations rule. They are major organizers of civilization, often staying behind the scenes as governments do much of their out-front work. Nature is, nonetheless, by far the most powerful. Wherever the intrusion of corporations and civilization exceeds Nature’s requirements of interconnection and balance to nurture life, she responds. In a time of breakdown, Nature often responds with awesome power that overwhelms corporations and governments.
We humans have been Interacting with Nature for 200,000 years. We have been instrumental in creating civilization and corporations; also the governments through which we try to organize life. We humans act mostly through communities and social influences, more than individualistically. In so doing, we show that we are not outside of Nature, but one with her. We are part of Nature’s interdependent, interconnecting actions to sustain life everywhere, day and night. But if we are committed to MultiEarth living, we go to the dark side and our actions turn destructive toward Nature.
Of all these powers, Nature is the only one that is not a product of human egos. Egos have, through lots of “success” and “progress,” ushered us into this real-life movie of uneven, but ongoing, collapse. But Nature constantly exhibits OneEarth living. As humans, our deeper, greater Self is part of the OneEarth universe. But when we think and act only with our smaller consciousness, that is our egos, we invariably move outside of the OneEarth universe with a different way of thinking. We envision and arrange life that looks to us to be better than OneEarth ways. It is in pursuit of “better than” that we birth MultiEarth living. And that gradually became the dominant paradigm for us during the past 12,000 years.
During this 12,000-year experiment, OneEarth living has been displaced. But it didn’t disappear. No, consider Indigenous Peoples—displaced, but today increasing in number and willing to share how they have interacted with Nature. OneEarth living has persisted below the radar—especially among people who have been marginalized and discriminated against by MultiEarth ways.
Now in the 21st century, much of the wisdom gained through OneEarth living is shining ever more brightly as MultiEarth living is cracking and collapsing, It is our deeper Self where we can receive the wisdom we need. Our egos, ranting, lawless, and corrupted, need to be returned to where they serve the wisdom of our deeper Self instead of displacing her/him with a presumed better way.
Continually choosing Self as primary and asking ego to serve instead of lead is a spiritual process. OneEarth living is not at all impossible, but getting there is profoundly interconnecting and spiritual. Egos don’t just say, “Yeah, oh sure. I can see that Self needs to be in charge.” Egos vigorously resist such change. It is a kind of ego death. But Nature’s power is filled with the mysteries of deep change. Nature is the ally of our greater Self. Getting this solidly in mind and heart gives us great perspective for how we interact with all the Powers in the multiple crises affecting us.