Working Together (Cool Your Green Mind Monday)
We are all one.
I know, we are each unique individuals, especially in the US. But, on another level, we are also all connected, and we can even say, on some level, all one.
Even on a simple, physical level, look at how we can’t help but affect each other — if you’re in a small room with a lot of people, the room is going to heat up and you are likely to get hot; if you smoke inside your home, people who live with you for a long time have a better chance of getting cancer.
On a more “complex,” societal level, the economic behavior of some affects the options and decisions of others; public figures and celebrities affect the socialization and morals of a new generation; and so on.
And, there is plenty of faith and plenty of claims, and perhaps even proof, that we are connected on a much deeper level. Here are two great quotes on this matter:
A human being is part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. We experience ourselves, our thoughts and feelings as something separate from the rest. A kind of optical delusion of consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from the prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty. The true value of a human being is determined by the measure and the sense in which they have obtained liberation from the self. We shall require a substantially new manner of thinking if humanity is to survive. (Albert Einstein, 1954)
A careful analysis of the process of observation in atomic physics has shown that the subatomic particles have no meaning as isolated entities, but can only be understood as interconnections between the preparation of an experiment and the subsequent measurement. Quantum theory thus reveals a basic oneness of the universe. It shows that we cannot decompose the world into independently existing smallest units. As we penetrate into matter, nature does not show us any isolated ‘basic building blocks’, but rather appears as a complicated web of relations between the various parts of the whole. (Fritjof Capra, The Tao of Physics, On Quantum Theory)
And one from a great Native American Chief, Chief Seattle:
This we know: All things are connected
like the blood that unites us. We did not weave the web of life,
We are merely a strand in it.
Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves.
Why get into this issue on Planetsave?
Where’s the connection between all this and environmentalism or going green?
Of course, on the physical level, this is a basic issue, this is how our “environmental problems” are created. But, the reason I decided to write about this for Cool Your Green Mind Monday is because when we are focused on solving environmental problems we often get caught up in “battles” with those causing those problems, or even with those not so interested in solving them.
But battle is again a destructive thing.
While we often can’t just solve problems with education (or, we can’t effectively educate everyone), finding new ways to educate people might be a better option than just giving up on those who oppose environmental solutions and “battling” with them.
Also, I think very few people cause environmental harm out of pure evil — more often, there is something good they are trying for (i.e. financial security, comfort, fun). Identifying what people are trying for and finding a way to supply them with that in a way that does not harm the environment is often better than just saying they are evil or bad for harming the environment.
I think, in the end, if we ever want to find solutions to the numerous environmental problems we face, we need to realize we are not in a battle but we are in this life together and need to find better ways of working together, working with others who we may not seem to have a ton in common with.
“We Are All One” is the title I initially thought of for this post, and the line I started this post out with. And while that may seem too idealistic or spiritual for some, the underlying point is that we need to learn to work with others more than against them. We are connected and it is better to cooperate than to battle, even if battling may seem easier on the surface.