Not everything natural has been made for us to eat – as a matter of fact, none of it has… -Joshan
Cultivation and domestication are the stripping of the unwanted survival strategies from plants and animals so that we can better use them… –Joshan
Until recently, I have taken my humanness, with all that comes with it – its culture, its civilization, its history and diversity, its entitlement – for granted. Like the water fish swim in, it was a given, unnoticed, unremarked upon, taken-for-granted.
I felt I was part of something unique – an exception – the human exception. But I wasn’t looking at it, I was looking from it; and from that viewpoint, I, and to a lesser degree, my fellow humans, had priority over everything else that existed.
I felt – and I’m groping for words here – that this is important, this is the thing, this is the way things are, how they ought to be, how they always were. This is the universal standard.
And, then, I had an epiphany. I realized that the essence of what I was experiencing is nothing less than buying into the viewpoint of humanity as a whole. And the viewpoint of humanity is also a perceptual illusion – a collective one, and also one to be escaped from.
Just as every individual perceives from themselves as the center, and, thus, creates an individual perceptual illusion, we, as parts of the body of humanity, perceive from its center, and, thus, participate in the collective perceptual illusion of human exceptionalism.
An essential part of this illusion is the idea that earth has been given to us as an exclusive human habitat and meant to be that. The very ideas of “given” and “meant to be” imply intention and beg to be attributed to someone – and that someone, however you think of it and by any name you choose to call it, has to be a ‘God.’ And God means us to use the earth as we see fit. It, then, follows that all other living creatures are also given to us – also to be used as we see fit – to be cultivated as a source of food and/or domesticated as pets. Failing that, they are intruders, either inoffensive and to be tolerated, or dangerous, either to be avoided or exterminated.
These are all invisible and almost inescapable aspects of the viewpoint of humanity – a viewpoint which, until recently, I bought into. And by the way, they are found – or at least implicit in every God myth.
But now, in my 78th year, I have come to see that it is all an illusion, the illusion beneath which is an unsettling reality. What is that reality? It is that my humanness, with all that comes with it, is just one more stage in evolution – both biological and social – and that stage, that process, even as I write about it, is still evolving. In fact, that which we experience as the present is just a collection of snapshots, of stills soon to be memories – sort of like those memorabilia we sometimes look at depicting times past – like the Civil War or the sixties.
Do all people feel like this – take for granted and normal their existence and their environment – and from their viewpoint at the center of their world, perceive the rest of the world as ‘mine?’
P.S. I am still envisioning a team effort around my new website-in-development. My invitation: if you’re a big picture thinker with a sense of humor and a sense of fun – looking for ways to make a difference in this crazy world; if you have any skills in editing, website development, Internet marketing, research, etc. – or even just time to spare and would like to volunteer – let me hear from you. (Thank you!)
You can email me at – firstname.lastname@example.org
My current website is – www.drjeffeisen.com
My new website (in development) is – www.in-sane.net