No Lone Wolf Ecosystems Tells Us Separation is Unsustainable

There is no such thing as an ecosystem of one. More to the point, there’s no known example of a life form existing outside an ecosystem. How could there be? Any living entity needs, at a minimum, food to sustain its growth or to maintain its state. All living things are in a constant process of growth and life or decline and death.

many_paths_to_onenessI doubt there is a single human being who believes he or she is separate from the world. The degree and extent of our interconnectedness — what Buddhists sometimes call interbeingness — is really staggering. As a thought experiment, I invite you to pick out any material object in your life and think deeply about the dazzlingly intricate chain of materials, events and people went into bringing it into your material reality. Hundreds, perhaps thousands of things had to come together in the right ratios, conditions and places to make that tomato soup a reality for you.

In the face of such clear evidence of our interdependence, how, then, can we maintain a belief that we are separate from our fellow beings? How can we really believe that what we do doesn’t affect many untold beings or that we are constantly being influenced by countless other beings and “things” in our environment?

And yet we behave exactly as if we did believe that we are all isolated individuals, responsible for ourselves and perhaps our families but certainly not for anyone else. We treat each other in ways that can at times become horrific, believing — or appearing to — that we suffer no harm regardless of that which we inflict on others.

This is a fundamentally unsustainable belief system. The story we tell ourselves — about our origins, our destiny, our purpose — doesn’t hold water on even cursory examination. Belief in separation is absolutely unsustainable.

 

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