Firstly, how are you, and hopefully with time to go off on your bicycle into forests for quiet contemplation. The peace and harmony amongst trees is the element of life that we ought to strive for. The total emersion of the soul to the sounds of birds chattering, butterflies flitting here and there, a bee buzzing by the ear, the sun rays reaching through thick foliage, lighting dancing on leaves, the wondrous soil caught with all its different shades and colour…. To be able to become one with all around in its utter splendour, imagining the earth, sun, moon, the universe, pulsating One with each breath taken in, released… Peace, Calm, Harmony, Love reign at this moment.
I am receiving from a friend who writes papers on diverse subjects, a mind of genius level without a doubt. Each sentence he writes is full of substance, the knowledge I acquire is immense. Yet, I wonder what is so much knowledge worth if without wisdom. Not that he has no wisdom, please do not get me wrong. He has plenty of both. But there are many so called experts today who have immense knowledge at their fingertips of the subject of their expertise, discovering innovation, and the much desired success in their quests. Yet, they forget that life has other meanings. In their pursuits of success, wealth, recognition and such, they lose being in touch with nature, with family, with empathy, compassion, and more importantly, living life in a sustainable manner.
This quest of Business As Usual, forgets to take note of the damage being done to the Commons that belong to us all, that is, all life on our planet. Thus, our soil is being destroyed to make room for the monoculture farms everywhere; our rivers and waterways are heavily polluted, causing vast areas bigger than nations of dead oceans by coasts where river deltas spew all the pollution into the salt waters, killing all life. Our atmosphere is polluted with greenhouse gases that are reaching dangerous levels. We are very close to having incremented world climate temperatures by two degrees C, and if they do go up by another two degrees C by the end of the century, it would lead to an abyss of no return.
Our pursuit of knowledge to continue pursuing wealth, bigger profit margins, never enough, is the wrong way of doing business, and is destroying our planet. Those with immense wealth are not happy people, psychology has shown. People given money in a random experiment, were given the option to spend it on themselves or on others. They were happiest when sharing it with the needy rather than those spending it on themselves, who were not. Yet, we have a world of inequality of wealth with the very rich getting richer and the rest of the world poorer. More citizens are as a result, excluded from societies all over the world, and more minorities persecuted with impunity. Such destructive ways towards humanity and our planet are not at all sustainable.
That is where wisdom comes to play a very important, indeed primordial role. To apply one’s knowledge with wisdom is sadly lacking today.
Would it not be far more sensible if those who have acquired knowledge, during their studies or learning processes, were in constant contact with nature - simply a wealth of wisdom for the taking. Rather than spend hours upon hours studying, researching, in libraries, laboratories, auditoriums and such, at least 30% of their time, they were obliged to study in a forest? Perhaps, sitting under a tree that was there before one was born, and continue after one is gone, would allow good sense to prevail, All of this whilst absorbed in a book… When eating a tomato, to imagine a tomato plant, its leaves full of delightful smells, out in the sun, its beautiful shape and dusty green colours giving great pleasure to the eye, or likewise with a cucumber or beans, fruits in trees, their flowers bustling with life, cross pollinated by bees, giving us this wondrous wealth of nourishment and enjoyment - express intense gratitude for the food we eat and where it proceeds from….. Would this bring us closer to caring and thoughts of wisdom, valuing that which fills life so amazingly and miraculously full of splendour…A walk in a park, in silence, absorbing the beauty of blades of grass, ants marching on their way, earthworms under the soil, microorganisms teeming at work, roots gathering nourishment that flourishes in bushes, trees, flowers, scents, beauty everywhere….
Such thoughts if encouraged through childhood, along with studies of leading life sustainably, perhaps would lead us finally, away from warfare, destruction. Instead, it would open our eyes and souls to appreciating all that surrounds us. It would be a first step to cherish and respect our ecosystems, the biodiversity of life, and show us the path to live within our planetary boundaries.
That we could appreciate the wealth of life all around us with love and compassion, see a homeless man as one who has been wronged terribly by society at large rather than be blind to his suffering; or labourers struggling to feed a family decently… Accept all creeds and races as one with all, delighting in diverse cultures and perceptions, rather than forming in-groups that is US, and out-groups, that is THEM…We and They lead to conflicts, lead to thinking we are superior they are not, we know better and they know not, and other equally ridiculous prejudices, biases and worse. We are all one, the human species having practically the same DNA regardless of race.
Mankind must consider whether this useless pursuit of wealth and destructive way of life is worth it, or whether a sustainable manner of existence is our future. Sustainable economically, socially, and with great respect for our environment. There is time to change our ways, to stop wasting food, clothes, and all the junk we have become accustomed to as signs of success. There is time to help the poverty stricken to get dignified employment, with human rights respected as stated in the Charter of Human Rights, a great document, and the teachings of all religions. Business As Usual leads to empty lives, we are living as shells of human beings, having lost the path in a most destructive manner.
The goodness that is there in all of us must begin to reign, to lead towards a golden age, instead of the greed for more and more and yet more, never satisfied with what one has. It is the only way to a future of harmony, peace, calm and love. Perhaps, degrowth is the way of the future, appreciating and recurring to local and sustainable ways of quality life. Religions teach to share with one’s neighbours! Great philosophers through the ages have said it all, too many to write of here. It is a crucial time now for us to consider existentialism seriously, and what actions we must take globally for the betterment of our planet and humanity.
Wisdom, combined with knowledge would lead us to sustainable methods not only for survival, but to right some if not all the wrongs we have done to our planet in the pursuit of progress, wealth and growth.