Plants and people – let them be

Don’t let the pretty blue sky fool you. These plants don’t want to be kept in line, and neither do people.

I’ve been thinking about the similarity between plants and people lately, and I don’t think we’re as different as I thought. Just look at the human respiratory system…does that remind you of something?

I’m following a certain political blog and commented on an article and drew this parallel. The author, John Pennington, basically says that dysfunctional governments such as communism don’t work because people devote the fruits of their labour to the system but are not rewarded with ‘a better life’ in return. They are therefore a cog in a machine, leaving them demotivated and ultimately breaking the entire system down. I responded to his post with the following comment:

“…My instinct is to bring out the point of a ‘demotivated’ population. That’s the problem, no matter what government you have. We are a complex species and cannot be ‘lived’ at a macro scale. We aren’t synchronized robots. Until we realise what drives the human spirit at its core level and develop micro systems that empower instead of enslave, government is lost and so are we as individuals. The rest of the natural world works the same way: look at the rampant diseases of mono-cropping vs. (the vitality) of a wild ecosystem. The former is controlled and treated as means to an end and where plants’ (existence) are simplified and generalized; the latter is allowed to constantly evolve and respond to new events that no one can predict. People have been put into straight rows to benefit the whole. Doesn’t work that way, never will.”

Now, I think macro governments of any kind aren’t sustainable long-term. The sheer effort it takes to get an entire population on board will eventually fail simply because it has that many free-thinking minds on board.  Those free minds are changing everyday (and will no matter what you tell them to think). The world is changing at an incredible rate, especially since our leap into intellectual globalism.* A rigid government, no matter how ideal, cannot possibly keep up with this change. I’m not saying we can’t function at all within government, but that our current systems have still not learned to evolve with the quickly-evolving human spirit because they get too big for their britches. What experts refer to as primitive societies have survived for thousands of years, on the other hand, as the government is built on a micro-scale and is more flexible to the needs of that individual group. That is, until ‘little brother’ comes and destroys them.

Filled with words of wisdom

I’m reading about natural farming/permaculture, and author Masanobu Fukuoka says something very similar about plants. He says, “Agriculture must change from large mechanical operations to small farms attached only to life itself. Material life and diet should be given a simple place. If this is done, work becomes pleasant, and spiritual breathing becomes plentiful.”

While scientist are working diligently to come up with the right ‘system’ to grow larger, more attractive crops, we forget how complex natural ecosystems are, and I believe how demotivated plants are to live within them. We forget how much they respond to one another and external elements when left alone in a wild environment.

Fukuoka goes onto say that a life of small-scale farming may be more ‘primitive’, but it ultimately brings us closer to what he refers to as the Great Way, or “the path of spiritual awareness which involves attentiveness to and care for the ordinary activities of daily life”. Ordinary activities of life, and the ordinary activities of plants when they can just grow. We forget where they come from, how we are connected to them. On a macro-scale, they are depleted of any meaning other than an piece of food in a plastic container or on a plate.

We should allow plants to be free to do what they do most naturally. We should allow them to be free spirits within an area of land that we lightly manage, just as we should allow human beings to be free spirits in a government that is lightly managed. Ah, but fear gets in the way, doesn’t it? We need to CONTROL things, otherwise they get wild and out of hand! We can’t have that.

“Simply serve nature and all is well.” -Fukuoka

*I made up this term up, and I don’t know if it exists already. I just mean that we now share ideas at a global scale through technology like social media, and it’s changing us as a species by the second. 


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