Tuesday, August 9, 2016

The politic of nature

   With Facebook memes, smartphone cameras, blogs and 24/7 instant news, we are now fully witness to the folly, the craziness and the cruelty that underlies our economics and our politics. We are all the more aware of the problems facing us. Our world seems to be at a critical stage, some of us are disillusioned and some feel an urgency to move in a new direction.  

   I have seen a lot of political posts regarding what’s best for society, be it capitalism, socialism, or some combination thereof.  For some, it is about salvation and God’s mercy, while others place their faith in new technologies.  

   All of these human models have been tried before, in multiple means and ways, and yet we are left wondering if we have reached a precipice, an ending. Many simply want change, to throw out the old and corrupt without much thought about what comes next.  Yet, there are some who believe we should shape our politics and economies in a way that syncronizes with the organizing principles found in the natural world. After all, over the long-haul, the really long-haul it is nature that has created and sustained us.

   Compare modern society with the workings of nature and you will find fundamental dissonance. Our human systems are linear, wasteful and disparate, while nature is cyclical, self-sustaining and interconnected. Nature self-regulates through chaos and harmony -- a marvel as orderly and nurturing as it is chaotic and destructive. Nature is holistic, interdependent, composed of timeless cycles. Whereas in human models decline and chaos are the enemy. The focus is on the components of society like security, economy, education, health care and so on. Management is forward-looking and teological, purposed to create order and engineer discrete solutions. 

   Thus to use nature as a model is a solution that requires a radical rethinking of our selves, our communities and our place in the cosmos. Natural systems appear balanced and harmonious, but cycles of creation and destruction underlie it all.  Nature works because of the chaos, not in spite of it. Decay, turmoil and death are fundamental to the creative impulse of life. On the bright side, ecosystems arise and thrive for thousands, even millions of years. Our civilization could do as well.

   I'm not sure if we can make this shift or how such a society would function.  It will take courage and imagination. In the end it may be our only choice. Our home is a finite sphere in a vast, cold universe. Humanity continues to grow, expand and consume the natural base that sustains us.  Once you truly ponder this predicament it becomes very clear that the only lasting solutions will arise through an alignment with natural systems. 

   Environmental stewardship, considered a side-issue by most, is really at the core, and where we must begin. Keep than in mind this election cycle.