“I knew there was deforestation. I had no idea the extent of it,” she explains. “I had no idea the speed with which chimp numbers were decreasing. And I certainly had no idea about what went on in the medical research labs. So I left as an activist. I didn’t make a decision. I went as a scientist, I left as an activist. The first thing I had to do was make myself go into those labs because you’ve got to see it firsthand. And it’s been a long battle, but, finally, with others helping, we have got chimps out of medical research.” — Jane Goodall
“One Tibetan monk… who had spent more than 18 years in a Chinese prison labor camp… told me that on a few occasions he really faced some danger. So I asked him, ‘What danger? What kind of danger?’, thinking he would tell me of Chinese torture and prison. He replied,
‘Many times I was in danger of losing compassion for the Chinese.’” — The Dalai Lama
There are no ‘evil’ people in this world, only those who are absolutely certain that their vision and version of reality is singularly correct, and who are totally unwilling to open up to possibility, to meet others in vulnerable human intimacy and joyful doubt. Oh, the joy of not knowing!
‘Evil’ is simply tunnel vision, a painful constriction and rejection of the flowing wholeness of life, a forgetting of our true nature as vastness and capacity and the total absence of a separate and solid ‘person’. It is a fearful holding-on to stories and opinions rather than a expansive letting-go into the liberated ocean of consciousness that we are. — Jeff Foster
We are astounded at how quickly our world has descended into brokenness. We didn’t know how close it has been to its demise for centuries. It remained only for the web of life we call nature to reach the state of exhaustion. Now we find ourselves on the cusp of self immolation through our persistent clinging to illusions. Our stories of progress and profit are killing us along with our unborn descendants.
What we create and destroy in the world reflects who we are and how we see things. We have a giant mote in our collective eye that we somehow don’t notice. I’m not sure I agree with Jeff Foster that evil is a “nothing but” situation, but I do think we do create havoc out of a refusal to see. People with real vision keep pointing out the necessity of kindness and compassion for all life, but those who cling to a belief in life as separate entities in a constant war of survival don’t seem capable of entertaining another vision.
Details may change according to the times, but the one constant is the challenge to connect to the world through compassion. Without compassion, we will destroy nature and therefore ourselves. We can’t keep exploiting the abundance of the web of life for profit. Protecting the commons against predatory humans has become urgent. It shouldn’t even be necessary, but humans have fallen into a blindness of our relation to nature.
It’s strange that we could fail to see something so obvious, that we could fail to teach our children how to respect and preserve life in all its forms.
Now we reap the whirlwind and don’t know what to do. Clinging to our illusions, we call reality a hoax. It would be amusing if it weren’t killing so many, and yet we still refuse to consider the facts.
And yet humans are called the intelligent animal!
We hope that a deeper vision will emerge out of the present catastrophe. It must, if we are to get past this time of mass extinction. We are the souls who have signed on for this lesson. May we take it to heart before it’s too late.
- Anima Fire is my publication.