Recently I have been looking into alternative reality and by this I don’t mean alternatives to reality, whatever that might mean, but alternatives to our, Western idea of reality. Not only have I learned a lot, I’ve also realised that the key to all the problems we are experiencing as humanity is not in anything else but in the huge chasm between the materialistic worldview and the native one. This is perhaps the most important issue facing humanity in the 21st century.
Another thing I realised is that while I was too busy buying my sofas and my latest pair of shoes some really amazing people thousands of miles away, were working tirelessly to wake me up from my ‘must have’ nightmare. I just wasn’t listening. And perhaps, you are one of those, one of me, oblivious to the nightmare unfolding in our world with every swipe of your card. Well perhaps it is time for you to wake up too.
It all started quite innocently, with a book or two in my hand, a soft warm blanket , our roaring fire, a cup of black coffee and some gluten free, nut free, dairy free, egg free, life free chocolate biscuits and an armchair, while reading, as I do.
This time I was reading Jeremy Narby’s book ‘The Cosmic Serpent’. Now, this is not unlike some other books I read, however this one is very special in its own way. It really is trying to find evidence for scientists (as you of course must!) of the existence of all the weird and wonderful things native peoples know about nature and have known for longer than we statistically orientated nations care to record. The book is heavy on microbiology, science and anthropology. Actually, really interesting to read.
Then it all hit me. I mean, really hit me. My thoughts stood still for a moment. For a very long moment. And in that never ending moment I understood. All of it. The shopping, the competition, the bigger house, the bigger car, the latest bargain, the two for three, half price and next -fifty -per-cent-off nightmare. The whole thing just lit up in my head like a stereotypical light bulb.The wars, the social injustice, the fears, the lack of home for so many people. I just saw it all as if in some silent, old-fashioned movie. Was this the blue pill or the red pill? I don’t know. Jeremy Narby said he was hoping to change the World, but it never happened. Well he just changed my world that’s for sure. I suddenly feel awake.
I realised it was all made up and fake, the whole world. Not in the conspiracy sort of way, but more of an Indian Maya sort of way. The illusion, the fooling yourself type of fake. I had to check it. I proceeded to find evidence this was indeed true. My own mind was not enough to me. I went to read the news and there was nothing but bad news. How have we come to accept that this is the news? When did this become our truth, this awful narrative in which we live in a world where everything is bad? I refuse to believe that the only news stories worth reporting are the terrible ones. There is so much out there. All of this is making us feel our world is not worth fighting for. People are not good and everything is doomed anyway. Just save yourself. If you still can. I refuse to believe in that.
And then there is the planet in pain. Global Warming and the dirt we created while shopping out of control. I read that someone bought a river in Eastern Europe. I wonder in my mind who can own a river? Wild water? With fish and all? How absurd. Nobody owns that. Then I read about women not wanting to have children because of the global warming. They are angry. They are scared. They believe in the bad world. They are deciding not to have family. I feel their fear and their pain. But I have an emotion of my own to deal with here. I am really bothered, I notice.
What really bothers me about Global Warming, climate change and all the other bad things we have done to the planet is the fact we were so blindly following this expert and that expert, blindly seesawing from one piece of bad advice to another, that we were doing nothing about it for such a long time. We trusted they knew what they were doing. We had the Climate Change sceptics and the Climate change non sceptic, and shockingly we still do!
They have been arguing about it for so long while we, common humans sat there watching, waiting, fretting and… doing nothing. Mute, blind, stupid, mere mortals with no opinion of our own. Having no faith that we could think for ourselves any more, we just watched our world crumble. We have been waiting for this or that to be proven when even the most blind can see the earth is suffering and the climate is going mad. Nevertheless, we have been waiting for them to tell us what to do. And we still do. What bothers me the most is that we have lost all our common sense. We no longer trust our basic instincts. We are completely dependent on experts to tell us what we should eat, what we should think, how we should have our children. And now we are waiting for them to tell us when is enough of killing the planet. Seriously?
I must say, often my thoughts feel oppressed. I feel limited by a materialistic worldview in which I am not allowed to feel unless it has been proven I indeed can have that feeling. Harlow had to snatch baby monkeys from their mothers and abuse them endlessly for days to measure, to observe to dare to suggest there perhaps might be such thing as love and emotional pain? ‘You cannot measure love therefore it does not exist’. How absurd. I refuse to join this crowd of ‘tell me what to do’ humanity. We no longer trust ourselves about anything. Everything seems prescribed. This is why our world is falling apart.
How bad is it, even if we are wrong about the climate change? Cleaning rivers, oceans, landfills and our terribly polluted air is surely a good thing in any case. Or have we lost our minds completely while waiting for experts to tell us whether it is proven that we actually need to do this at all? How mad is this? Can we no longer believe our own eyes? Have we become so insanely unsure of our natural ability to decide what is right and what is wrong or are we so scared of ridicule, that we no longer say anything in the face of a world made for proof or else?
Nobody in the modern world wants to be seen as unscientific. That, is seems, translates as surely stupid, ignorant, uneducated. Emperor’s new clothes are so amazing! Crowd cheers to it. Lets clap! This is potentially very limiting as there are parts of our lives that just cannot be studied in this way.
This has made us feel inadequate for so long now that we have stopped trusting in being human. The precious balance has tipped at one end and we have lost our ability to use all of ourselves. We have accepted our fate as sad creatures who need to follow blindly what is ‘real’. I don’t like a world in which nothing is real until some guy in a lab coat says so. I would like to politely ask the guy in the lab coat to get out of my kitchen, my living room, my heart and my dreams. I dream what I want. I don’t like a world in which someone else evaluates my experiences. If I want to dream about Unicorns I need no permission from anyone.
We have forgotten all this. We handed our lives to the totalitarian, materialistic laws and they invaded our homes, our families, our dinner parties and our schools, our headspace and have now almost destroyed our planet. The scepticism is so high and knowledge so fragmented there will be no end to this short sighted match. In all this I- know- more- than- you- game nobody had time to look out of the window. To look out and notice people freezing in Chicago, or people drowning in India or polar bears invading Russian towns because they have no food.
Eventually, we’ll stand there looking out of our windows, seeing the world crumbling, bees dying, storms raging, species disappearing. The last rhinoceros, the last Tasmanian tiger…
Meanwhile, no natives signed up for this, we didn’t even ask them. And they are the guardians of the most diverse places on the planet that keep the rest of us alive. They never signed up for this destruction. No Maori, Hopi , Quero, Maya, Aymanas, Aborigines, Amazonian, Inuit, Kung San, Eskimo, Hadzabe, Mbuti, Ugyur, Matsigenka, Shan or any of many, many more peoples with names which might sound so strange to you. None of them were consulted about this.
These are all peoples of the world just like us, even thought you might think them insignificant as you have never heard of them. But they have heard of you and me and we are their biggest nightmare. We are the monsters under their beds. The dark shadows amongst their trees. We are the stuff of darkness in their children’s stories. We are the invaders, the robbers, the murderers and destroyers. Us. Modern materialistic humans. They see us as mad, mentally ill and crazed for stuff. They see no cure for this sick part of humanity. They see us for what we really are. For the stuff we have done and they cannot imagine why. They fear what we are doing to the world still, of which a chunk belongs to them too. We think of ourselves as sophisticated beings but we are anything but that. We kill and poison everything in our environment and wage wars against each other, then write poetry about it.
We are asleep and there is no more time left to dream this nightmare. Dead people, burned homes, eroded coasts, floods, whole nations in jeopardy, all that exists, whether we agree or not. In this argument we should consult the views of natives and we should aim to hear what they have got to say, and learn from them, fast. They are the last people who still have their humanity intact, people who can still walk into the forest without everything in it freezing in silence.
I am with people who can sit by the river and hear it hum. I now only believe people who can still look at the sky and read rainbows.
Don’t get me wrong. There is a place for experts in as much as there is a place for flowers, or birds or baking bread. Science has given us an invaluable number of useful things but I am afraid anything that believes that there is only one way to anywhere is too dogmatic and potentially short sighted. The materialistic worldview has penetrated our lives to the point that we are no longer allowed to do things as humans should. By this I mean, there are humans in places on this planet where this materialistic perception as we know it does not exist. Just simple life. Their ‘scientists’ work with nature and not against it. Their ways account for nature and don’t exclude it from existence. Their experts are part of nature. They don’t see themselves as evaluators of knowledge, but guardians of life. For all of us.
We need to show respect here. Us, people of the Western materialistic world. We should get our head out of the sand and join the ones who know how to get us out of this mess. We should stop asking for permission from experts devoid of any consideration or understanding of our real life links to nature and start seeking instruction from people who have been keeping the life on this planet going since time began. Proof is here. We have screwed up. People need to wake up, shake off the complex of inferiority and whatever dose of intellectual snobbery and start acting as humans. Now.
The real issue here lies in our materialistic view of our environment and not in our carbon footprint, which is just the side effect of our attitude towards the planet we live on. A materialistic worldview does not allow a personal relationship with our environment, our only true home. This is where things have gone wrong for the Western people. There is no personal relationship as the living nature is seen as only alive in principle but mostly unintelligent, impersonal and incapable of a reciprocal relationship with us humans. This is the root of all our ills as a society.
Despite James Lovelock’s famous Gaia Theory and brilliant ideas relating to humans and Earth’s relationship, the western world has failed to build this close relationship therefore all the abuse of the environment is excused and never thought about. The planet and the Nature is de-minded, de-personalised and de-animated. In our minds it is disconnected from anything that lives on it.This is the reason we have all the issues we struggle with now, from potentially disastrous climate change to disastrous mental health.
I am tired of being exiled from nature, of being a supreme human, a top of the range being. I did not ask for it and I now plain refuse it. I want to be part of nature. I want to be included in the list of its parts so that nature can share with me. I want to understand it and be with it. I do not need anyone’s permission to do it. Who dares to say I was expelled from natural Paradise? I like being an animal like all the others. I want to sit on the grass and listen for the voice of flowers. For the voice of rivers. For the voice of this planet. I want to hear it. I care not if I am going to be told I am mad, or stupid or anything else. Western human mental health is crumbling at the same pace as this planet’s health and people still worry about being called stupid?
I just want to live and be part of my living world. The living world. From today I am going to listen for life in everything. Trees, grass, water, fish, rocks, cats, butterflies. I care not if this is not proven to exist. I will do it anyway. I do not need proof to live. Nobody can tell me any longer what to think. I think what I want. I dream what I want.
Ask me not for proof when I say the butterfly kissed me. I don’t need permission to listen to buttercups or sing to the ants. I’ll do it anyway. I do not need permission to worry about the killing of species. I am worried and I am sad. The dead bee on my floor is my proof. I just refuse to allow anyone to do it ever again. I don’t need anyone’s permission to talk to plants and talk to trees. I will eat lemon sorbet with bees and feed nuts to squirrels. From today I declare I will never again look for proof for anything. I will listen for it inside of myself instead. From today I will just simply trust. I will trust in imaginary friends, talking dolls and super heroes and super heroines. I will no longer look for a monster under the bed as I now know who it is. I will no longer look for some definition of nature devoid of humans, from now on I will go and ask the Nature herself.
From today I start my inner rebellion, my mental revolution. For personal freedom. For nature. For plants. For animals. For whispers in the wind. For humanity, whatever is still left in us.
By Billie Krstovic