The most obvious trait of the natural world is the eating. From atoms swapping electrons to black holes swallowing galaxies there is a constant transformation occurring throughout the known physical world. Once you’re born, you’re game to be eaten upon until you no longer exist. Being food for itself, it would seem the prime purpose of the universe is to perpetuate its life. One may extrapolate that the universe is expanding, another that it’s only inhaling in the prime cycle of respiration and yet another that what we observe is merely the growing body of one of the many beings of its size.
One thing for sure is that down here at human metabolism staying alive requires adaptation to the area in which we must eat so long as we can avoid being eaten. Being eaten can be resisted only when the entity is aware of and able to avoid or defend against other life forms, from saber-toothed tigers to cancer cells, munching on its vitality. Realizing how many eggs a woman is capable of hatching, it would seem we have a lot to learn about adapting to our habitat in order to live up to our genetic potential.
So here we are, smack in the middle of a good/bad for us world feeling like we must perpetually choose to either eat, befriend, avoid, defend against, attack, or surrender to events in our conscious life. At birth our motivation is to respond to and learn from the enormous physical growth still going on by stoking those fires with food and our consciousness with experience to better adapt to obtaining the next meal.
The genetic mini-factories pumping out replications of their Dna imbue each with what has been biologically called, epigenesis, and in my lexicon referred to as genetic memory, intuition, instinct, or the inner voice with which newborns are equipped to operate as individuals as soon as physically capable. This evolved memory is of primal truths such as eat or be eaten, fight/flight, fear of falling or caution around fire, like an organic I Ching into which the daily events of one’s life may be inserted like variables plugged into infallible, evolutionary time tested formulas. Human cultures attempting to part from nature have all been too fleeting to register in such a timeless, cyclic history of evolution.
As the infant is introduced to the culture within which is born, its adaptive behavior in obtaining food is influenced by a louder, more insistent memory in the form of tradition. Some cultures traditionally consider nature to be an evil to be conquered and begin educating their young as soon as the results of their eating makes a mess on the traditional couch. In such cultures the young quickly adapt, not to their habitat, but to the rules for conquering nature within themselves by ignoring those “Satan’s whispers” from our genetic memory and without by helping harvest and sell the entirety of our habitat to one another in a race to own the most at the inevitable finish line of planetary poisoning and starvation.
Being so buried beneath the immediate demands of one’s culture so early, individuals rarely get to experience themselves beyond their skills at eliciting favorable response from others, first for food, then for favors. Any reference to self-reliance is in terms of having money to pay others to provide all the necessities of life, which are far in excess of mere food in most cultures considering themselves civilizations. Indigenous cultures still send their youth on walkabouts and vision quests to ensure they are aware of their prime reliance on and responsibility to their habitat in a most symbiotic way. Western civilization’s version of a walkabout is joining the Marine Corps to travel to remote corners of the world and threaten to blow up that porcelain toilet (that another vision quest, the Peace Corps, convinced once indigenous peoples they couldn’t live without) if they didn’t quit fighting the leash and biting the hand that now feeds them.
With no experience of living symbiotically with nature since the presumption of totalitarian agriculture, western civilization relies on faith in authority over the inherent potential of that unbound curiosity with which we are all born:
“That’ll be five dollars.”
The instincts that could not be sublimated in the civilizing of newborns have been bent to the service of authority. Competitiveness among beings for food in the wild improves the survival abilities of both prey and predator and doesn’t include incapacitating the competition except among civilized people in search of authority. With no natural prey but their own egoistic shortsightedness, civilized humans confuse fellow competitors with the prey — still hungry after all these eons. Herding instinct, once for safety among prey and efficacy among predators, has been warped into might makes right and the inability to live alone in the wild … or the city. Which brings us to the biggest, most painful warp of all. This post was generated by a quote my dear, Lilwave, posted in Facebook the other day,
“The hunger for love is much more difficult to remove than the hunger for bread." ~Mother Teresa
I hardly know where to begin. The inarguability of such a metaphor mixed between physical reality and presumed spiritual necessity leaves me only the “hunger for love” part to address my response to the quote. Part of becoming acquainted with oneself prior to and beyond being the stylist adapting to one’s culture is discovering the being who exists when one is alone with the natural world so that one cannot be swayed by condemnation or flattery in representing one’s self honestly.
Now here’s where I make the humangoose assumption that I am not alone in experiencing the following — if I am, I’d like to hear from you. There is a term, agape, which I take to mean the feeling of love for the entire universe, including the misdirected malice of western civilization toward the womb that births it and horrible individual injustices wreaked upon one another trying to make the system work against our nature. This feeling resembles total harmony of every part of my body and it with all other entities in a dynamic generated by learning to choose to be symbiotic with nature by learning from our mistakes if we survive them. Humans are learning by trial and error what their genetic memory could tell them if they could hear it over the traditional memory’s public address speakers.
It may be evoked by solitary meditation, seeing events harmonize all the entities involved such as what just occurred in Tahrir Square, at an outdoor rock concert on a psychedelic, turning the compost and seeing microbes make plant food out of plants, in the fearless eyes of another looking from the same place, or in watching the world turn green at spring sunrise after every miserable winter of my life.
To hunger for love means to me that one has never discovered that fountain within them selves and are convinced love must be acquired from externals like food. Relationships are cannibalistic without agape, to further mismix the metaphor.
“Hey, boy! Whachu doin’ pullin’ that there chain?”
“You ever tried to push one?”