The trouble is that humanity prides itself in being something apart from nature, something superior to nature, the conquerer of the natural world. Humanity strives to be “civilized” by suppressing what it considers to be its basic, animalistic instincts, fearing that these instincts will lead to the chaotic downfall of civilization. The irony is that the very attribute humanity prides itself in, the attribute of being “civilized”, is leading to great pain, both its own pain and the pain of the other inhabitants it shares its world with. It is also leading to the possible cessation of humanity itself, through its ongoing exploitation of the natural world.
I argue that it is when humanity is not concerned with being “civilized” and acts instinctually that we see its greatest beauty. It is the instincts of a by-stander that lead her to help a person who has injured themselves, whereas in the most “civilized” country in the world, the United States, sick people cannot get treatment without first paying for it. It is the instincts of a child that lead him to kiss a chicken rather than slaughter it, which he may end up doing when he reaches adulthood and becomes “civilized”. It is the instincts of a person to return to nature when things are too hectic in life, perhaps by relaxing on one of the few beaches or parks relatively untouched by civilization. It is the instincts of a person to come together with another person in an expression of love, even though many “civilized” religions proclaim that expressing love without signing a marriage contract is sinful. It is the instincts of a person that makes her shout in anger when there is an injustice against her or another she loves. It is the instincts of a person that allows him to feel empathy for all others, which he demonstrates even when he is an infant. As an infant he feels what others feel and this is how he connects to everyone, even if he can’t speak their language yet.
You can probably see where I’m going with this. Saving humanity from itself can be relatively simple. All it takes is the understanding that its basic instincts are not destructive when understood properly. All it takes is for humanity to understand that it is neither superior to nature nor inferior to nature, but nature’s equivalent. Humanity is natural; it was given birth by this world, just as trees were. This world is humanity’s home. Once humanity perceives itself as natural and belonging to this world and not as something superior to it, it can take a refreshed look at the ways of its home. It can see how nature acts, how all of its actions are based on connection, unity and yet uniqueness at the same time. It can see that to act naturally is to also behave with connection, unity and uniqueness in mind always. In fact, this refreshed look at nature will be nothing new. It will be a reminder to humanity of how it perceived its world when it lived in various native tribes, before it became “civilized”.
— Sohail Desai