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Health and the inter-dependence of Humanity

Should we now begin to exercise greater self-restraint in our use of animals or their environment, even if it comes at the expense of our some of own comforts?
No, because it's too late to change anything, and what will be, will be. Choose this is you are a fatalist.
No, because it is our natural right for man to decide how to use the animals & environment. This was once the common view of many Christians due to a too-literal reading of the Bible.
Yes, even if people may take time to adjust to their luxuries being made more expensive. (Epicurianism has got us used to getting cheaply things that used to be regarded as luxuries.)

Newsletter no. 10 gives the views of a leading scientist and anthropologist on how evidence from science shows we need to revise and update our thinking about the animal kingdom.

In the past dozen and more years our relationship with the animals has generally been to use them for food and entertainment but in wholly unsustainable ways. We have depleted their numbers and natural resources to levels that are now becoming dangerously out of balance.*

She implied that the depth of these relationships and inter-relationships are not properly understood nor valued correctly; yet they are amongst the most important relationships we have.

The Theosophical view takes responsibility for the welfare of both the natural and built environment, together with its biodiversity and assigns the right value to each. And it is only through holding fair and just ideas of our civic and natural duties (which, to the occult philosopher, are inescapable karmic obligations) that we may

  1. prevent exploitation and cruelty to the world's animals, most of whom are completely defenceless, and
  2. end the terrible erosion of their habitat.

Habitat erosion and cruel exploitation is a uniquely fatal combination. It causes both psychological stress to animals (now thought to accelerate the mutation of their viruses' genes) and also promotes the conditions in which diseases flourish, partly due viruses jumping more easily between species.

Were man to resepct and live in harmony with the animals and his environment, this would never normally arise. In the book of Job, said to be derived from an old Egyptian initiation text, we read of the cure for these ills in these simple but beautiful words:

“For thou shalt be in league with the stones of the field: and the beasts of the field shall be at peace with thee.” (Job 5:23)

In old English "in league with" means to make a compact between parties "for the maintenance of common interests or for mutual assistance or service," the basis of all sustaining and beneficial relationships.

But looking into why man had now all but broken these bonds of "trust and mutual help" we see it is because he has the wrong basis for his decisions.

It has long been taught that when man learns "to know himself" and his inner nature he will gain that universal "self-knowledge" which is the only way he can come to know understand other natures. Ordinarily this wisdom comes about through life experience, but the meditator and esoteric student accelerates the process.

Technology does not - and cannot - help in this process, for the realisations are internal ones, they require the knowledge of what is life's true purpose. If we in modern developed countries mistake life's purpose as being for the maintenance of ever higher standards of living and physical luxury, that mistake ripples out and causes this society to take a whole series of mistaken, unwise actions.

And in time we come to the crisis we now find ourselves in, brought about by false ideas about life and denial of the value of - or better, the absolutely indispensable need for - a way of living that is right, harmonious and inspiring.

History shows us the values we hold are the determinants that make us a trustworthy, responsible and benign force, or not. What is our life for if not to learn to cooperate and act as an intelligent "co-worker" with nature? For how else will the task of natural perfection and evolution come about.

This is a reasonable position for both the dyed-in-the-wool physicalist Darwinist, as also the esoteric philosopher who sees the only means by which humanity can achieve the ideal of forming intelligent, long-term mutually-supportive relationships with the environment is through – a little ironically – deep introspection and self-study.

Thus the Perennial Wisdom asks us to support all such inner and altruistic efforts that may lift up mankind's general state:

Selfishness, indifference, and brutality can never be the normal state of the race―to believe so would be to despair of humanity―and that no Theosophist can do. Progress can be attained, and only attained, by the development of the nobler qualities.

Now, true evolution teaches us that by altering the surroundings of the organism we can alter and improve the organism; and in the strictest sense this is true with regard to man. Every Theosophist, therefore, is bound to do his utmost to help on, by all the means in his power, every wise and well-considered social effort which has for its object the amelioration of the condition of the poor.

Such efforts should be made with a view to their ultimate social emancipation, or the development of the sense of duty in those who now so often neglect it in nearly every relation of life.     (The Key to Theosophy, 235 by H. P. Blavatsky)

Now looking around we see much inspirational work which is an example along these lines? Jane Goodall is one among a growing number who see the right direction to more in is one which embraces every dimension of our and outer nature, for to leave one thing out is to create a weakness; the Mahatma is well formed and developed in all the dimensions of his being, physical, mental, psychic and spiritual.

From her early childhood Goodall has been following a duty which became clear was hers, she writes it was her life’s calling and natural path. Now in her 80s she continues to help people to appreciate and intelligently understand the variety, wonder and fragility of our planet and how important all its creatures are for our well-being.

It is a practical application of the principle of Universal Unity which the Perennial Wisdom teaches is primarily that which can bring humanity together in mutual progress. For hasn’t our European history convincingly shown us that neither religion nor science can do that alone and uninformed? We have witnessed it in the strife cause by uninformed and narrow religions and the equally terrible damage that a facile but over powerful and irresponsible materialism has caused.

It becomes clear that we need the elegant simple combination of religion – to provide the basis of brotherhood – and philosophy, for ethics and sound rationale - and science, the means of achieving this harmoniously. Were these three to work in concert with each other there would be a general reduction in unnecessarily suffering that would make the world breathe such a deep sigh of relief that it would be heard on the moon!

That sort of relief would be the type of bliss obtained when ceasing an eternity of banging one’s head against an unyielding brick wall!

This appears to be exactly the experience many are going through today; some are turning around to see the wall; some deny the wall has any reality, and others pin the blame for their headaches on its immovability, wanting to knock it down with the brute force of technology.

 

(also see "The Testimony of a Scientist on the Perennial Wisdom" in Newsletter 10, page 12 https://www.theosophy-ult.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/Theosophical-Notes-10-Winter-February-2020.pdf )

 

 

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