The Earth is sick, because of humanity. Humanity is sick, because of itself, its choices, its functioning, its unconsciousness. The ecological crisis and growing social inequalities are symptoms of this fundamental disease that is increasingly difficult to ignore. This now widely shared observation calls for an urgent cure, by important and effective means. But a successful treatment cannot be applied without a prior and clear diagnosis of the causes. Otherwise, the care provided at great expense will certainly miss its target and even aggravate the disease.
In order for a clear diagnosis to emerge from our conscience, we must accept to look at things face to face as well as in depth, far from the deceptive appearances on the surface, without pusillanimity or complacency, without dodging or denial, without accusations or excuses. In short, we must look objectively, in the manner of a scientific investigation.
If you are reading this article, it is most likely that your stomach has not been asking for food in vain for several days, that you are not in danger of receiving a bullet or a shell at any moment, that you have not been deported in an emergency to a gigantic humanitarian aid camp, etc. Just like the author of these lines, you have the leisure to read, to think quietly, to ask yourself essential questions and to find answers yourself. You are not stuck at the throat by vital needs that are under threat; you belong to a society that is structured enough to be able to deliver this issue of LOGON magazine to you, digitally or logistically.
Humanity, we are sick. Let us, therefore, auscultate ourselves.
Developed countries are making and selling more weapons than ever before. Yet no war has broken out on their territories during the last 75 years. They have delegated to others (their clients) this large-scale institutionalized, organized, legitimized murder that is called “war”. Likewise, these countries produce more waste than ever before, and then export it massively to less well-off countries that accept it for a ridiculous price, without knowing precisely what to do with it. Modern barbarism is no longer military, it has become economic and financial. The consequences are identical: misery, destruction, deportations, pollution, disrespect for fundamental human rights.
Contrary to our claims, we have not eradicated poverty, famine, war, pollution, dictatorship, or destruction of ecosystems. We have only exported them, we have pushed them thousands of miles away from our eyes, taking great care to invisibilize them. In Africa and elsewhere, thousands of children and adults die every year for having worked barefoot and barehanded to extract highly toxic raw materials. For what do they do it? For a miserable wage that just allows them not to starve, only to survive from day to day, without social security of any kind. For them, there is no health or unemployment insurance, no pension ahead. And for whom do they do it? For us! So that we can enjoy a plethoric range, renewed every year, of elegant and high-performance smartphones, of ever heavier and better-equipped SUVs; so that we can download and watch on sumptuous screens our favorite films and TV shows, diligently digitized by Netflix or others; and for many other objects, of equally questionable essentiality.
In order for us to be able to choose between thirty different shampoos (really different?), between forty different soaps or shower gels (really very different?), between hundreds of different T-shirts (…), etc., entire populations are exploited, uprooted, tyrannized, humiliated, bruised. Vast ecosystems, vital for our planet, are irreparably ransacked, all this of course as far away as possible from the exotic tourism destinations where we like to go to bask regularly.
Isn’t the price to be paid (by others) for these superfluous elements of material comfort a price that each year is heavier in terms of suffering and indignity, disproportionate? We have become accustomed to calling this avalanche of ever more numerous and sophisticated material goods “progress” or “growth”. But how would these oppressed peoples call it, if they had the time to think about it? And how would these ravaged ecosystems call it, if they were gifted with words? Could these excesses and injustices that benefit us so much last indefinitely? Do we not sense the rapid approach of a global crisis, of an irreversible global shift? Isn’t it simply logical, obvious, necessary for a healthy re-balancing?
So-called “diseases of civilization” such as obesity are developing exponentially, along with malnutrition and famine. Does a “civilization” that generates such ills deserve this name? Are we aware of the colossal collective debt that we accumulate day after day to our anonymous human slaves – those who manufacture our beloved trinkets in unhealthy, dangerous and degrading working conditions, to the billions of animals exterminated each year – those we raise in the most total malaise as well as those who perish in the natural disasters that our carelessness causes, to the whole of Life? Do we still know how to do anything other than produce, sell, buy and consume? Do we only spread distress and death to assure ourselves a surface happiness? Each unconscious act is a stab at the sensitive tissue of the Living, of which we ourselves are fibers.
Above all, let us not turn our eyes away from this (non-exhaustive) list of symptoms of a deep systemic disease. This is not an accusation (who should be accused in particular?) but an observation, a permanent objective reality underlying our daily occupations, our joys and worries. The fact is that the disease is severe, worrisome, global, and has multiple ramifications. Moreover, its development is well advanced because it has not been seriously taken into account to date.
But if its symptoms are physical, material, and societal, our common disease itself is spiritual. For it is at the heart of our way of understanding life, our place in the universe and our interrelationships that lies at the root cause of all the deviances described above. And at this stage, a soft treatment would not be enough; we have gone too far, for too long, into the imbalance. Sessions of yoga, sophrology or Pilate, hours of meditation on a silk-covered zafu, or in immaculate temples with impeccably aligned chairs, will not be enough to cure us of our unconsciousness, our inconsequence, our ego-centrism. These gentle methods will not be enough to alleviate our immense debt to the Living, a debt that continues to grow by the hour. They can only make us forget it for a while.
Our individual and collective healing will be at the price of a radical treatment, as severe as our common illness itself. The first “clinical” phase of this treatment is called “renunciation”. Renunciation of everything that harms the Living in all its manifestations, including our own bodies; renunciation of supremacy, exploitation, domination, competition, intoxicating feelings of power and invulnerability; renunciation of petty selfishness, greed, withdrawal, irresponsibility, of the illusion of being separated from the rest of Creation, and the fatal actions that result from it; renunciation of any form of power over others, over events and situations, of any manipulation, of any organized opacity; renunciation of the sweet sleep of ease, of moral and material comfort lived as goal in itself, of this lethargy of the soul. Renunciation is the royal path to inner healing, just as self-centered monopolization was the primary cause of the disease. Letting go, liberating, accepting, sharing, collaborating, adapting, awakening, compassion, will be the key words of the “treatment”.
As we have become far too soft and apathetic to be able to inflict this vital remedy on ourselves, Nature, which does not hold grudges, comes to our aid. Because our internal imbalance, projected everywhere around us by our diligent care, has become its own. And this great body of the Earth, much wiser and more alive than we are, works tirelessly to its own reparation, which will also become ours. Its first “therapeutic” action was a general and generous distribution of coronavirus. Think of the billions of personal, family, professional, cultural, industrial, political, financial and cult renunciations that this viral wave has already provoked, not to mention the increasingly frequent and extreme climatic episodes that have accompanied it. And this is only the beginning. We can observe a certain slowing down of our mad rush, a partial restoration of planetary health, but recovery is still a long way off; the deadly mechanism is certainly thwarted, but its ideological and practical cogs remain intact; productivist/consumerist reflexes are still solidly anchored, ready to redeploy at the slightest lull.
The only remedy for attachment is renunciation. If renunciation does not come spontaneously from within ourselves, then it must come from outside. Nature repairs itself, rebalances itself: it is “in its nature”. Everything is in balance; any imbalance is automatically compensated, corrected. The earthly laws that govern it are the same ones that govern the great universe. These laws are universal constants: gravitation, speed of light, etc. As their name indicates, these constants are immutable, invariable, unalterable. In case of imbalance, of ponctual tension, they will not adapt. On the contrary, it is the cause of the tension that will be corrected or eliminated. This is why respect for the laws of the universe forms the basis of knowledge. Anything that does not conform to it is condemned to undergo strong corrections, or even to disappear.
The set of renunciations evoked above, although imposed, constitutes, in fact, a grace, a blessing, an outstretched hand, not for the routine and possessive ego but for what, in each one of us, belongs to the great universe, to Life, and still resonates with its incessant call. The current uncertainty is a powerful aid to change, to the decrystallization of deviant mentalities and affects. It is a kind of thaw allowing to re-fluidify what had excessively contracted on oneself. And the change, the rupture, is today indispensable, vital for us; the continuation would mean for all of us destruction and death in the short term. Let us welcome every renunciation, every opportunity for renunciation, as a regenerator of life, as a relief of our cosmic debt, as a long-awaited healing. Let us go to meet it with deep consciousness, an open heart and free hands.