We, of the modern, global, technological, 21st century world of science and post-colonialism and such, now are beginning to understand that humans have ALWAYS known how to organize ourselves better than we are, in most places, today. It is, in essence, the indigenous way.
(Obviously, that’s a huge generalization and you can’t just lump “indigenous cultures” into a “Way” like they are homogeneous. That’s clearly absurd. Furthermore, this is not to say that “indigenous cultures” have always been perfect and peaceful and wise and perfectly adapted to their environments, etc. Obviously, all cultures have lurched along through trial and error, and in conflict with others around them, and often in battle over resources. Humanity is messy, after all. As are all animals, over evolutionary time.)
What I mean to emphasize is that, from the perspective of “how can humans manage their societies on this planet?”, the best understanding that we now collectively have, is, in essence, the common wisdom that is shared among indigenous cultures, broadly speaking; such as:
- a community-based way of making decisions and taking care of each other,
- a soft hierarchy of respect-based-power shared amongst many members of the community, and balanced in complex ways between all genders,
- a profoundly deep “land ethic”, whereby one’s very “self” is experienced as belonging to the land, rather than the “self” being separate, and “the land” being a thing that you can use as you wish,
- honouring the Spirits and Ancestors in ways that are interwoven with daily life,
- sharing community rituals universally within the tribe (e.g., song, dance, ceremonies, etc.),
- And, through their awareness being immersed in the womb of Nature, indigenous cultures are, always, deeply knowledgeable about the complex web of life around them. There is no mystery as to why indigenous people around the world are so widely recognized as leaders and wisdom-keepers in environmental stewardship.
I often think that the real challenge of this 21st century, is for humans, globally speaking, to realize deeply our planetary indigenous status. It feels awkward to say that, but I hope you know the way in which I mean it. It’s a plea, for us to stop and listen to the wisdom of those who most deeply know the Earth. That’s it; it’s really that simple.
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Imagine, if you will, what would happen to this planet if we all stopped fighting wars, and hyper-consuming the Earth’s ‘resources’, and stopped the rivers of pollutants we spew every day, and we really reoriented to living on a LIVING planet.
Imagine Nature, healed.
Imagine the ecological paradise this planet could be. Think of how truly rich life would be, on a vibrantly alive planet. Even our cities, could be green, self-sustaining, clean, healthy, beautiful places. Filled with gardens. Flowers. Trees. Bird song. Clean air. It’s like — why haven’t we done this already? How is what we have now, in our cities around the world, better?