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July 2002

Healing The Earth

By Guy W. Meyer

Life may be seen as a universal process of healing and harmonizing. Evolution is a constant process of the dying off, the discontinuance, of inharmonious elements-the survival of newly mutated qualities that are more adaptable to the environment in which they live.

Our wounds tend to heal themselves. Disruptive human relations tend to self-destruct and be replaced by more peaceful relationships, some of which are temporary and others longer lasting.

The human species, fragmented and festering, has been in the process of self-healing for the past two centuries. Instead of a steady, gradual process, it heals in waves.

While pockets of slavery and similar forms of human exploitation continue, society as a whole now condemns slavery. It was the Abolitionist Movement, coinciding with a war to preserve the unity of a nation that ended the wide acceptance of chattel slavery.

Other outstanding waves of healing movements for social change included the Civil Rights Movement to end segregation in the US, the Anti-Apartheid Movement in South Africa, the Women's Movement, Gay Rights Movement, and Handicapped Rights Movement.

While none of these movements has fully achieved its objective, each has set a new standard of ethics in our human relationships. In wave after wave of protest, civil disobedience, and celebrations, doors were opened for formerly neglected or scorned humans to enter the house of acceptable society. The particular barriers of exploitation and exclusion were for the most part done away with.

The success of each movement was, in large part, due to the fact that they were largely nonviolent. The victims, the excluded, did not smash down the walls by themselves. By refraining from violence, which could have provoked powerful resistance to change, they were able to win over as allies important segments of former exploiters and neglecters.

White Americans were leading Abolitionists in the 19th century. America's Civil War was not an armed uprising of slaves, but a struggle mainly between White Americans.

Similarly, the American Civil Rights Movement was not a war of Blacks against Whites (as the Black Panthers seemed to propose), but a movement of "Black and White together," as Martin Luther King, Jr. called it. Thousands of White activists enthusiastically followed the leadership of a Black minister in ending this division.

The movement for women's rights and equality was sparked by courageous women, yet millions of husbands and other male allies helped bring about such success as has been achieved. Today we have seen women as heads of state, as appointed and elected officials on every level. Many laws have been enacted forbidding discrimination on the basis of sex. Acceptable English is being purged of masculine terms for all humans and implied expressions of male superiority. Sexism, still alive in pockets of society, is publicly condemned. Apartheid in South Africa was ended, not by a violent victory of Black Africans against Whites, but by a nonviolent movement in which Whites played an important role.

People with disabilities, once widely neglected and shunned, are now provided for in many ways, such as accessibility into public gathering places. The movement to bring homosexuals into social and political acceptability, the "Gay Movement," is bringing about greater understanding and acceptance.

In every case of successful social change the tide was turned, not from fear and coercion, but by fellow-feeling and caring on the part of a critical mass (influential minority) of the population.

These social advances, waves of healing, indicate that there is at work some instinct, process, or Power that moves people to harmonize with others. Still, Earth Life is in a critical condition. It has gaping wounds to be closed and healed, the worst of which is cancerous. It is this cancerous wound that demands our immediate attention.

I refer, of course, to the mass killings of humans by humans-the preparations for, and threat of, destruction of most life on Earth. The cancer itself is the belief that a nation-state, a religion, tradition, etc. is more sacred than human life, that it is acceptable, nay, honorable, to kill for a nation, to die for a nation.

In the human body cancer gives rise to tumors, which develop and grow unlike any of the body's healthy organs. The latter play important roles in the health of the whole body, while the tumor develops purely for its own sake, to the detriment of the whole.

The sovereign nation, concerned for its own independence and unaccountability to the rest of humanity, thus resembles a cancerous tumor. The nation's armed forces represent the vicious destructive aspect of the tumor. Healing this terminal affliction requires the unified efforts of all caring-for-the-whole individuals, organizations, teachings, and actions. Together these represent the immune system, the cancer-opposing cells of human society.

The healing of human society requires the ending of cancerous nationalism, the rejection of all national glorifying and loyalties that lead to the destruction of life, of ending faith in weaponry, the glorifying of violence, and honoring of people for being in the military.

As in the previous cases of Earth-healing, former supporters of the old way will play an important part in the fight against Humanity's cancer. Ex-soldiers, honored as "veterans" who have turned against the old, destructive ways, who are no longer impressed by the high-sounding terms of "national defense" "deterrence," "retaliation," etc. will provide leadership and impact in the healing process, in rejecting the divisions between nations.

Humanity could be secure and healthy in the framework of world community. When the time arrives for trusted representatives of all nations to meet to design the foundation of such a community, they have an unprecedented opportunity to make the needed changes.

So radical will be the transformation of a society largely dominated by greed, fear, and hate, to one dominated by mutual caring (which can be brought about by a global, nonviolent, grassroots movement) the new founding fathers and mothers will start with an almost clean slate. They will be in a position to construct a code of global ethics that shapes future social development toward a sustainable planetary eco-system. They will have the power to make further healing changes.

Three more serious conditions come to mind that require repair.

The designers of the world community will confront the problem of poverty vs. wealth. In today's Fear World those without money have no right to the basic resources needed for healthy fulfilled living. Conversely, those with much money have the power to control the lives of the poor. They provide the "jobs," the "bribes," the "rewards" for those that do their bidding, whether it be for wiping out forests or dumping pollutants into the planet's air and water. They also have great influence over political decision-makers. Most crime in human society is based on the pursuit of money for luxuries, privilege, and power.

The money-exchange economy, at one time a spur for human progress, is now one of Earth's most serious lesions, bleeding and infection-prone. A world economy that fills basic needs and motivates harmonious relationships between humans and other world life can and must replace the cancerous money-quest.

Another wound to be healed is our attitude toward those we deem to be less than human. A widely-held belief is that all on earth that is not human exists for human use and exploitation. Some people see wildlife as a meal, a fur coat, a trophy. Perhaps we see trees as board feet or obstructers of views.

When all of nature is looked upon with respect and caring, even when it seems unavoidable that it be altered, one of Earth's wounds is healed.

Another aspect of this same disrespect is our judging as of lesser worth our human brothers and sisters who have committed harmful acts. We tend to identify the perpetrator with the act rather than as a human person. We call a person a "thief," a "rapist," "murderer" and demand that he be made to suffer, to balance his misdeed. Whether or not his punishment acts as a deterrent (mostly not), we judge that he should be treated as less than human.

We could treat those who commit crimes as human beings. When we treat our confined offenders in such a way as to lead to their rehabilitation, we are healing a rift in Earth Life.

Let us now wake up and see that Earth has the terminal illness of militarism-nationalism. When we finally cleanse and sterilize our society of all traces of glorifying nations, religions, tribes, cultures, etc. and honoring militarism, killing and destruction, we will have given Earth a new lease on life and opened the way to her healing.

 

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