The Desire to Improve Ourselves
Millions of dollars are spent on cancer research and cures have been found for many killer diseases but no one has yet figured out how to eradicate collective stupidity, arrogance, and pretentiousness. These are dangerous and contagious and have been infecting the brains of humans for centuries.
Man, because basically it is a man’s world, created God in his image, wrote holy books and decided he knew who God was and what God wanted. He imagined there would be a better world after death, a more beautiful place, fields full of languid virgins, harp music and enough room for each and every one to sit on the right side of the Almighty. The planet had obviously been given to Man and mankind to use and abuse and subjugate because man is superior to Nature. I do not believe that any human, not even the best of artists, can produce anything as beautiful as a flower, a sunset or a snowflake. Music is as close as it gets to sublime sound but then Nature has her own songs…
As time went by, forests have disappeared, lakes and inland seas dried up, diverted rivers brought bilharzia and drought, wars have brought and are still bringing untold misery to millions of families.
There some fundamentalists who are looking forward to the end of the world so they can go to heaven. Perhaps we are already in Paradise but it seems Earth is not good enough for them.
I read out the following statement of Indigenous delegates to the
‘Global Forum on Environment and Development for Survival’ in Moscow in 1990.
As it is still very applicable and very wise, I am reprinting part of it:
“It has been agreed that the Earth is governed by the great laws of the Universe and that we human beings are responsible for the neglect and violation of these laws. There is now a crisis of life upon this planet because we the human beings have upset the balance of the life-giving forces of the natural world and have interfered with the structure and cycles of air, land and water.
These great powers of the universe are now turning against us, as rain, the gift of life that waters the earth, is now contaminating and killing the gardens and trees of life that sustain us.
Our eldest brother, the sun whom we celebrate and cherish as he brings the dawn of each new day, now throws rays of cancerous light, and new diseases stalk the earth.
We tremble as we realize what we have done and are doing to our Mother, the Earth. We have jeopardized the future of our coming generations with our greed and lust for power. The warnings are clear and time is now a factor. We delight in technologies, which reap harvests without regard to the life cycles of the natural world.
Earth suffers ill treatment because of lack of respect. We must return to the spiritual values that are the foundation of life. (Not dogma and man made rules…my quote). Spirituality should be our foundation. All societies, which have come to peaceful co-existence with nature, were possessed of a strong tradition.
We must love and respect all living things, have compassion for the poor, respect and understanding for the women and female life on the Earth who bear the sacred gift of life.
There can be no life without water. The waters need to be made clean again as they were before technology arrived. All rivers, lakes, streams and oceans were full of life, so fish, animals and humans lived from the life of the waters since the beginning of time.
We must return to the prayers and rituals and celebrations of thanksgiving, which link us with the spiritual powers, which sustain us, and teach our children this respect.
We are accountable and shall be held accountable if we fail. Our responsibility is to protect Mother Earth. Nature is a seamless web of life in which all forms of life are related to all others. It recognizes no national boundaries. All our relations, the birds, the fish, the trees, the rocks, we are all connected to that web. Every religious tradition has a view of the sacredness of life and of the relationship of nature to life. All traditions must be encouraged to advance and build upon that aspect by intense education, from early childhood on.
We, the indigenous peoples of the earth, have a long experience of living on agreeable terms with the Earth. Is it possible that we can share our ancient knowledge with other peoples? Yes, surely. We shall go on together, in trust, in confidence, in belief, and we shall save our souls. This is the way to our salvation.
We are the peoples of the Earth; Earth is our place. Let us believe in it; let us take care of the Earth as we take care of our children, of our parents and grandparents.
We must remember we do not inherit the Earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.”
What will it take for each of us humans to wake up with an intense desire to improve ourselves… and is there still time?
Princess Elizabeth is a daughter of Prince Paul, the Prince Regent of Yugoslavia. She is also the founder of the Serbian Foundation and was an International Advisory Council member of the Global Forum Oxford and Moscow conferences.