The Community of Man
We seem at a pivotal point in history – a time of moment, of decision making. This was eloquently captured by Aldo Leopold in his classic “A Sand County Almanac,” when he wrote of human paradox: “man the conqueror versus man the biotic citizen; science the sharpener of his sword versus science the search-light on his universe; land the slave and servant versus land the collective organism.”
Leopold was speaking of our vision of ourselves: egocentric users in a game of “survival of the fittest” and “every man for himself,” or responsible members of a biotic community upon whose health and wellbeing we all depend.
Like it or not, we are all citizens of the world. It is not an option – it is a fact. We are all part of the human community, members of the collective organism we named Earth. We are utterly alone on a tiny, fragile sphere, drifting through space. There is no one to save us. When we begin to grasp the enormity of this, all of our “beliefs,” all of our manmade isms and ideologies, become meaningless. All that matters are profoundly moral values; truth and integrity, a deep concern for our fellow man and for our planet.
Mankind has the option to be successful. The knowledge accumulated by millions of humans over thousands of years has given us this choice. But as stated in the OXFAM report “Working for the Few,” the world’s richest 85 people – they could fit snuggly on a large school bus – now lay claim to as much wealth as the bottom half of all humanity. The wealthiest 1 percent has a net worth ($110 trillion) greater than the combined Gross Domestic Products of the entire planet ($73 trillion). The health and prosperity of all humanity is held hostage to this unimaginable inequality.
We must soon understand that all of our liberal – conservative arguments about government debt and spending, taxes and regulations, social safety nets and healthcare, and a host of other divisive issues, are almost farcical in light of the concentrated wealth that now owns our government and that of most countries around the globe. Continuing to allow ourselves to be manipulated into these divisive squabbles keeps us from recognizing the true forces attacking our nations and communities.
Man the conqueror, survival of the fittest, and every man for himself may have served an ancient purpose, but they now are recipes for human heartbreak and planetary failure. Even the victors lose in the end.