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How Our Machine-Based Way of Life is Not Only Destroying Nature, It Is Also Destroying Us

In a society with little time for rest, our sense of self is identified with anxiety and accomplishment instead of our true being.

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It could be that something other than being in love takes you to a state of being, wherein you are completely absorbed and fulfilled without having to go anywhere else or accomplish anything. Simple everyday rituals like having a cup of coffee and gazing out the window at a beautiful landscape can induce our appreciation for being. There are also a variety of awareness disciplines, such as meditation, that provide practical techniques for developing one‘s reflective awareness and appreciation of being. Being as a quality of experience can be cultivated in many activities, even washing the dishes.

Creative activities—like painting, dancing, playing music, or writing—induce states of being in action that, once engaged, seem to take us over, to transport us effortlessly into another state of being in which our capacity to experience and express our human identity and potential is profoundly intensified, expanded, and illuminated. Though we may end up with some kind of a finished product, such as a book, poem, song, or performance piece, the essential aspect of the activity involves a creative, or otherwise unnamable, transformation in the interior quality of our state of being, which then becomes manifest as an external accomplishment.

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The point here is not that modern technology and its advancements are implicitly wrong or bad for us—though that may ultimately prove to be true—but that becoming entranced with them to the exclusion of our true human nature, our inherent humanness, is a problem. It is both ignorant and dangerous to focus only on the outer world we have created and not the inner worlds that compose who we are. And yet how can we remain connected to the inner world of our essential selves when our very civilization is based on the domination and manipulation of human beings, as well as nature itself.

Our current thrust of technology and perpetual states of rapid social activity—in the name of progress—has a two-fold effect: the first is the internal eclipsing of our capacity for being, the second is the external eradication of nature—the native environment in which we are most truly human. Through social engineering—gradually eliminating both our internal and external reference points for who we instinctually are as human beings—society remakes us into creatures who think, feel, and behave in the ways they want us to.

How do we address such insidious problems that are so deeply embedded in the function, structure, and foundations of our society that they compose the basis and overall effect of how we live? For most of us, it is nearly impossible to conceive of another perspective or way of living that does not entail the continual subjugation of nature, alongside the never-ending build-up and harnessing of technological forms of human preoccupation that guide us away from our inner selves. How can we live simultaneously in a machine-based world and on a nature-based planet? Isn't such a way of life an inherent contradiction forecasting an imminent demise?

Currently our machines, our industry, and our technology are not only eclipsing our souls, they are killing nature. Because we are not machines, because we are of the earth, and because we are also nature, our machine-based way of life is also killing us.

If we are to find solutions other than an unconscious global suicide and apocalypse, we will find them not through a crescendo of our current maniacal mode of reactive action, but through a more reflective attuning of our human being to the being of the world. Perhaps in tending to the world—through our own conscious beings as opposed to our unconscious goings—we can effect a healing in which we will discover the reality of the anima mundi, the soul of the world that, like us, is also alive. Through this deeper connection based on spiritual recognition, we can initiate more sensitive, aware, and unifying interactions within ourselves, with one another, and with the planet whose being is also essentially part of ours.

 
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