Reverence

A Sandwich Tern at Miller’s Point, Cape Town

The state of the world worries me. I spent many therapy sessions understanding that my view of the world is deeply coloured by my early experiences and so, I also try to do a reality check when I become unusually worried about the external environment. However, this time, the reality check does not really help enough. In fact, it makes me more worried. This is exacerbated by the fact that no-one really seems to know how bad things are. We know that our natural environment is buckling under the inordinate human assault on it, but we do not know exactly how our life support systems will respond to the current level of human interference.

One of the challenges seems to be the human perception of our power as a species. It seems that we have vacillated between feeling omnipotent and feeling desperately powerless. Perhaps our illusions of omnipotence are a reaction against the utter agony of our ultimate helplessness in the scheme of  things. I feel myself torn between the two states myself. I try to ease my  anxiety by imagining that we as humans will make a plan to ensure our survival.  We have so much technology at our disposal. And then I think about how, once we  have destroyed an ecosystem, how even attempts at rehabilitation tend to lead to one or more monocultures dominating. We increasingly live in a world of pigeons,  starlings, wheat, cattle, alien vegetation, battery chickens and billions of people. And then I feel completely terrified. However, something lovely occurred to me during one of these mental boxing matches. I became aware that the life process remains miraculous despite stem cell research and genetically modified foods.  For the moment, I can remain a witness to the buds in spring, and make sure I observe all the elements of the mysterious life-death-life cycle. All it requires is attention, and reverence. And somehow, that idea has helped to quiet my anxious
soul and provided guidance for action

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