Posts tagged “Environmental Ethics

A Time to Kill



These short essays to follow are written from the standpoint of trying to distinguish between violent behaviors for a means of survival, and violent behaviors that stem from an appetite to commit violent acts.  After approximately 5000 years of civilization, humans have erected themselves out of the natural world and have constructed their own.  The civilization system, so to speak, depended on infinite amount of resources, of all forms, to fuel the process.  Resources that from our early ancestors perspective, were only there for the taking.  At that time the population was significantly smaller, which meant the impact on the environment could be absorbed without recourse. Throughout time our mythology even reflected this perspective by placing the Earth at the center of the universe.   As a result, the civilization system was highly successful in growth, and accepted violent acts as common place.

Acts of violence have built and will continue to build this world in the form of one species consuming the energy of another for its own survival.  The modern world follows the same way.  However, through civilization humans must question what is necessary for survival if they intend on surviving. Our modern society has packaged resources in cute little boxes made from almost any material. But for most, the thoughts on the origins of these materials, the true necessity of the items, and the impact on the environment are never questioned.  Simply put, I believe the majority of the population has lost connection with the impact of how much violence we tolerate.

My hopes are to extract a truth that I can hold up to my self and decide are my acts just.  It is important from my perspective that this kind of questioning begin to tingle in the cortex’s of the  public’s consciousness.  The human race has been very successful at taking control over a large amount of the planet.  We have put a man on the moon, dabbled in the nuclear forces of the atom and now we can build a human with digital implants.  Our power is only strengthened by our technology which has taken us now to the brink of a new age of human beings.

My thoughts lead me to conclude the following:  if humans are to survive the coming times an awareness of the interconnectedness of life and matter must increase in the majority of the world population.  Each one of us is made from living and non-living matter.  Before you were you, your atoms were somewhere else,  being something else.  We are made from the Earth, as much as we are the Earth.

Man is not the center of the universe.  Not only are we analogous to a proton in the vastness of the universe, but contemporary cosmology suggests (allowable through Quantum Mechanics) that the universe itself may be one of many.  The point here is that a shift in perspective is in great need. We are part of something so immense and delicate, as opposed to something being just for us.  With a perspective of ownership towards the world comes unregulated consumption, and with todays population size this translates into huge violence across the globe.  In order for humans to survive in the future, their place in the universe must be clear.

Of course this will change many beliefs. Think of this: how can 2000 – 5000 years of ancient beliefs handle modern moral dilemmas such as stem cell research, cloning, human organ printing, gene manipulation, and the other issues that will surely arise as a result of twenty first century technology?  I feel that the further we probe the more we will realize all creatures and even matter are at different levels of consciousness.  Our actions are a result of our beliefs, which are a function of our perspective.  The species is too powerful to run an old program at this scale of population.  The violence is too great for the planet to absorb anymore.  More importantly, for what purpose is this conscious engine intending to do and for whom?  How many entities must be sacrificed for survival or for the sake of a tiny minority?  What does the planet gain in dividends for being on the receiving end of such violent acts?  Lastly, how does violent behavior affect our humanity, are we evolving or are we dis-evolving?

This leads me to the first basic question, when is it just to kill and when is it not?  

More to come….

Written by Erik Niel


The Divine Directive

The prime directive from the early 1960’s Star Trek series stated that the Federation of planets could not interfere with the natural course of a planets evolution.  The divine directive would state that actions a people may undertake can not steer away the universe’s natural evolutionary direction.  The question is presented then, what is the natural direction of the universe?

In order to answer this question I present a principle that I have found to be true.  The universe is moving from random  less conscious actions towards conscious deliberate actions.  The consequences of this statement are very profound.  It implies that consciousness can steer the direction of the universe just by becoming aware of its workings.  This may sound crazy, but each of us uses knowledge everyday like gods, side stepping around less conscious actions.  Here is a simple example to prove this point.  Only a few centuries ago women would die very often during child birth.  Over the course of time knowledge has been acquired to better understand  the female birthing process, which has led people to intervene and correct any problems that may arise during birth.  Now in the 21st century modern medicine can intervene during the fetus state itself, and make necessary corrections before birth.  Most of our modern day lifestyles demonstrate this principle clearly by the continual increase in our world population.  Through knowledge we have been able to do accomplish things that our ancestors would have thought only possible by the gods.  Most of our modern day devices, cell phones, computers, etc, may seem trivial now, but not long ago these ideas only lived in science fiction books and TV shows.  The point is clear, through knowledge we have been able to step around natures laws in tiny amounts, which over time our vision has become our world.

It took 4.5 billion years of evolution on Earth, through many multitudes of creatures to form a being capable enough to question the environment and attempt to understand it.  Each organism on the planet has become aware enough of their portion of the world to create a lifestyle of survival.  Darwin stated that Natural Selection is the device for which each organism is shaped for optimal survival in any given environment.  Therefore, it seems logical that the more an organism is aware of the less conscious actions that may destroy it, the better the chances of its survival.  It seems logical that this may explain the late stages of Man’s arrival on the planet, and the obvious power he carries.  From this perspective the entire chain of life is but one continual climb to higher and higher states of consciousness.

Regardless of ones beliefs the facts are clear. At one point our solar system was a ball of hydrogen gas, the sun and the solar system and the earth cooled and eventually life began.  Very soon after that beings formed complex nervous systems that allowed them to question the environment of their existence.  It was these questions that have allowed man to learn and create our modern world.  The divine directive takes into account this conscious direction that the universe appears to follow.  This principle is a guiding point to measure the consequences of any given action by a group of people. If a group were engaged in acts that destroy this evolutionary cycle of consciousness, the divine directive would show that such acts produce lower levels of consciousness in the natural collective.  Therefore these acts would be halted and rethought.  For example: cutting down the Earth’s trees to feed the worlds demand for wood destroys many other life forms and depletes a precious resource man needs for survival.  More importantly, this act could send man’s and other entities existence to a more primitive state in history, because with out trees ecosystems fall.  Regardless how much man is removed from the Earth he can not exist without it…for now.

The divine directive reminds us that we are part of a bigger picture.  It maintains the natural course of consciousness to grow by preserving the conscious chain that has birthed humans.  The divine directive is not of profit or power.  It is a principle that upholds the integrity of the entire evolutionary chain of consciousness processes.  With huge ethical dilemmas on our horizon such as, stem cell research, cloning, genetics, and artificial intelligence a new measuring stick is needed to deal with our new capabilities as a species.  If we continue to use thousand year old beliefs on 21st century issues the only outcome is destruction, as currently witnessed in our world.  A bigger understanding is needed to step forward into  our next great awakening; a guiding directive based on knowledge, which gives some boundaries to our actions.  The universe is a mysterious place and our knowledge is still very limited of it.  But one thing is true though, we have the power to shape it into are own vision, given enough time.  The question is what do we want to make of it?

Written by Erik Niel

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