Whether it be the air we breathe, the water we drink, or the food we eat, what’s clear is that we depend on the Earth to live. But the natural world’s ability to provide the services we need to survive are beginning to break down. Humans are responsible for this breakdown.
Humans treat the Earth with complete disregard. We poison waterways — even though water is the blood of life. Forests are chopped down and burnt — even though trees clean the air we breathe. Greenhouse gases are released into the atmosphere — even though we know this is heating up the world. Oh, and our behaviour is creating the sixth mass extinction event. Life is dying due to human behaviour.
You would think we’re trying our very best to destroy the conditions we depend on to survive. If it were the intention we’re doing a very good job of it. And yet, this is the last thing we want. If we destroy the conditions that provide us life, we destroy ourselves. It’s that simple. We know what we’re doing. The alarm bells are ringing. But we continue to behave in a way that is destroying the stable conditions that are conducive to life as we know it. From a different perspective, our behaviour is comparable to a killer virus.
Why we behave like a virus
Killer viruses are merciless in their destruction. They flourish off the souls of the living.
They are genetically programmed to behave this way. A viruses programming results in destruction. Either the host is able to fight the infection, and destroy the virus, or the virus overwhelms the host, and kills it. But, by killing the host, the virus also kills itself. The death of the host results in the destruction of an environment where the virus can thrive.
The last thing a virus wants to do is kill its host. Its success ultimately brings its own downfall. A virus is hardwired to behave in this way. It knows no different. It can’t recognise that its behaviour leads to the demise of an environment that supports its own life.
A virus is destructive. If the behaviour of the virus was to change, it would no longer be a virus.
We aren’t a virus — we just behave like one
Unlike a killer virus, we aren’t genetically disposed to be destructive. So why do we behave in such a destructive way?
Our behaviour is the result of how we’re programmed. As individuals, our behaviour is influenced by the reality around us. This reality is absorbed when we’re children. We learn the rules of the society we live in and come to understand how to survive and thrive in that society. The rules of the game influence every individual to behave in a similar way.
On a societal level, our programming results in behaviour that is destructive. If we want to change our behaviour on an individual level we must change the reality around us. This requires changing the system that legitimises this way of behaving.
The fundamental issue is that a minority benefit enormously from our current way of doing things. They want us to continue behaving like a virus as their accumulation of wealth is dependent on this behaviour. The greed of the minority knows no bounds. With only their short term self-interest at heart, they are deluded if they believe we can continue on the path as business-as-usual. The elite has no interest in changing the system around us. To do so, would require them to give up their power. Throughout history, the ruling elite has never given up power for the benefit of the population. This situation will be no different.
To change our path requires an awakening of the people. People must recognise that this isn’t the reality, but a reality. Our reality can and must change if we have any hope of avoiding our own destruction.
Unlike the virus, we have the ability to recognise that our behaviour is leading to our own demise. The human consciousness must awaken to consider the relationship between our actions and the natural world. If we continue to behave in a destructive way, the natural world will break down, and with it civilisation. One cannot function without the other.