1.5 The Story of Separation

Adam & Eve.jpg

This story of separation is the core story that is truly failing us. With the technological strides we have made in the last two centuries, most of us live in concrete jungles with little to no exposure to the terrestrial biodiversity on Earth. Other than our pets, we rarely meet any other animal species in our daily lives except in zoos and circuses or packaged as meat in supermarkets. Therefore, many people have concluded that we are separated from Creation in an unconscious enactment of the Adam and Eve’s Knowledge tree story from the Old Testament in the Bible, with the banishing of humans from the Garden of Eden. Said Charles Eisenstein, author of The Ascent of Humanity and Sacred Economics[33],

“In civilization, what you are is a discrete, separate individual, among other individuals, in an external universe that is separate from you. In religion, you are a soul encased in flesh. In psychology, you are a mind encased in flesh. In biology, you are the expression of DNA serving to maximize your reproductive self-interest and greed. And that conception of self has basically poisoned our planet, because we treat it as if it were an other.”

That is, not only are we separated from Creation, but we are separated from each other among our own species as well. Even the Interfaith Declaration on Climate Change signed by numerous faith dignitaries including Archbishop Desmond Tutu, reads in part[34],

“While Climate Change is a symptom, the fever that our Earth has contracted, the underlying disease is the disconnection from Creation that plagues human societies throughout the Earth.”

While this story of our separation, our atomization as a species, justifies and drives many of our daily actions, it is in fact a story of human exceptionalism, the idea that we are somehow different from and better than other species. It is based on the false notion that while other species all have to live in harmony with Nature, we are somehow exempt from that requirement since we can fashion our own environment.

This notion is patently false. The cascading environmental crises are signals from Nature that there are no such exceptions in the family of Life. We have no choice but to live in harmony with Nature because we are a part of Nature.

This story of separation is closely aligned with speciesism, which is discrimination and exploitation on the basis of species identity. It is due to speciesism that we consider the murder of humans to be wrong, but the hunting of other animals to be sport, concentration camps to be evil, but slaughterhouses to be humane, jails to be avoided, but zoos to be toured. This treatment of animals is at the heart of all our ecological crises, though most scientists studiously refuse to examine the connection for fear of treading on “values”.

But fortunately, as will be shown in the next chapter, this story of separation is based on a delusion!

[33] Charles Eisenstein made this statement in a Youtube video segment here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XSetJdaJm28

[34] This declaration was signed during COP-17 in Durban, South Africa, as reported here: http://www.climatehealers.org/blog/2015/8/9/update-on-cop-17-from-durban-south-africa