Thursday, December 20, 2007

The world without us

I've mentioned this book before, and hope everyone reads it: The World without Us by Alan Weisman. It was so thought-provoking to me on many levels, and has given me a new passion—this planet Earth.

The book posits how long it would take Earth to reclaim itself if humans no longer existed. I found much of the research troubling, because apparently we've been altering the planet since we could stand on two feet. However, there is much to hope for as well, for nature is strong, and many people of good will are working assiduously to rectify the damage we've done.

One thing that surprised me is the author's discussion of how various religions look on the Earth in their theologies. Basically, most teach that the Earth is here to serve humanity, so if humanity is gone, it doesn't matter what happens to Earth. This caught in my throat. Is this really the case? Do I believe that?

So I've been thinking about it deeply. We talk so much about making the world better for our children. What about irrespective of our species? Do we have an obligation to the rest of life and formation? Or is it just for our own benefit that we should make adjustments?

What I've come to believe in reading this book in combination with my study of Christian Science is that this Earth as we're experiencing it now is our collective demonstration of our sense of reality. While this is what we've got to work with, it's our task to uplift and preserve it, as well as use it wisely. It's the same as our caring for our bodies. If our individual body is our individual temple, as the Bible defines it, then our collective body, this Earth and the universe, are our collective temple, and we need to respect it accordingly.

This Earth is the medium in which we are expressing our divine natures. We owe it the expression of our highest selfhood. It is paramount, then, that we tend and care for it effectively, even as we tend and care for our own bodies. It is a duty we perform out of love for all life.

I can't shake this conviction and am letting it shape me. I'm in the chapter on Physiology now in Science and Health, and every time Mary Baker Eddy talks about the body (very frequent in this chapter), I'm letting that sentence apply to the planet. I'll write about some of that research with you next week.

I also just wanted to share the final intriguing few paragraphs of Weisman's book, which come after a discussion of humanity's possible flight from this damaged planet to the stars:

[R]adio waves don't die—like light, they travel on. The human brain also emanates electric impulses at very low frequencies: similar to, but far weaker than, the radio waves used to communicate with submarines. Paranormalists, however, insist that our minds are transmitters that, with special effort, can focus like lasers to communicate across great distances, and even make things happen.

That may seem far-fetched, but it's also a definition of prayer.

The emanations from our brains, like radio waves, must also keep going—where? Space is not described as an expanding bubble, but that architecture is still a theory. Along its great mysterious interstellar curvatures, perhaps it's not unreasonable to think that our thought waves might eventually find their way back here.

Or even that one day—long after we're gong, unbearably lonely for the beautiful world from which we so foolishly banished ourselves—we, or our memories, might surf back home aboard a cosmic electromagnetic wave to haunt our beloved Earth.

Our thought holds the key to all this. We can think of thoughts as cleansers or pollutants. What are we thinking about our planet and ourselves?

Your ideas and inspiration are welcome! Please comment below or Contact Laura.
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At 12/20/2007 03:02:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's interesting to note that Mrs. Eddy refers both to "the universe including man" and (less frequently)to "man including the universe." I've been told (by a Christian Science teacher) that the latter rendering - "man including the universe" - is the higher or more absolute statement. How might this concept - that we include our universe - inform our discussion of environmental stewardship?

At 12/20/2007 09:05:00 PM, Blogger Kate said...

very very very very cool!!!

love these thought...thanks you, Kate

At 12/22/2007 09:21:00 PM, Anonymous kim said...

Neat idea: reading the chapter on physiology and applying it to earth.

Another neat idea: anon's comment about universe including man and vice versa. hmmmm more to think about

my addition to the neat ideas: check out and ompare MBEddy's definition of man and of earth. They are both onsidered ompound ideas. It jives with your comment: If our individual body is our individual temple, as the Bible defines it, then our collective body, this Earth and the universe, are our collective temple, and we need to respect it accordingly.

good stuff here!

At 12/22/2007 09:23:00 PM, Anonymous kim said...

Note on how to read my comments above:
if any word doesn't make sense, please add the letter "c" in the appropriate space. My "c" key is sporadically sticky!


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