Where do 'I' begin and end?
You are invited to explore the boundaries of "self" and gain
a new perspective on how all of life needs to be included in
your definition of "I".
Today, I am inviting you to explore the boundaries of
"self." I ask you to ponder where "I" begin and end. What is
part of "me" and what is outside of "me"? What is "you" and
what is "me"? What is "us" and what is "them"? If I was to
show you a picture of "me" standing in a crowded room of
friends and family, and ask you to draw a line around "me"
how would you do so? Would you simply draw an oval
encompassing my frame from head to foot? What if I showed
you a picture of me out in nature. Would you draw a line
around "me" taking in as little sky as possible?
When you think of "your self" does your definition of self
include sunlight, potable water, food, a certain range of
temperature and humidity, and air to breathe? Most likely
you don't think of your "self" in quite this manner, but why
not? If any of these all important elements are not present,
"you" will soon cease to exist. You can't live without
sunlight and water, but sunlight and water can live without
you! Man needs nature. Man's very life depends on nature.
But nature does not need or depend on man for life. Unless
we say in this modern day and age, that nature depends on
man to not destroy it, and man so often seems like he could
When we say that an action/corporation/product is ecological
we refer to how it supports the interdependence of all
living organisms within an environment, which is itself a
living organism. When we destroy any part of our natural
environment we destroy a part of ourselves, because our
personal ecology is fully dependent on the ecology of the
natural elements that surrounds us.
I ask you again, "Can you live without potable water,
oxygen, food, and sunlight? Can you live if the temperature
and humidity of the earth's atmosphere was to change by more
than about 15% on average? Can you live without depending on
the natural elements for your life? Why is it that people in
the industrialized world tend to label as "primitive" those
cultures that teach that man and nature are inseparable,
when indeed this is the case?
All of life requires an ecology, a balance, a conservative
and corrective interplay between elements and energies.
Every living system needs to be able to self correct, and
every living system depends on elements outside of "itself"
in order to maintain "itself." None of us live as separate
entities depending only on our own will and intelligence.
Lately most human beings tend to treat the natural
environment as a disposable item like a paper napkin or a
pair of shoes. We use nature as a convenience item, or we
use nature as a way to make money, and then we move on when
we deplete the natural resources in a given area. Some
people even treat their relationships with other people in a
similar manner, and it is not all that surprising, if you
really think that "me" is fully contained inside the
boundaries of your own body.
When we disrespect nature we disrespect and misunderstand
"me." When we are confused about who and what "me" is, it is
that much easier to disrespect and misunderstand others.
Just like human beings, no country is separate and complete
unto itself. I hope that we will come to understand that
caring for nature means caring for "me." That caring about
"me" means caring about you. That caring about my country
means caring about your country. That caring about "us",
adds to the quality of all of life.