We must be very grateful for Science. It trains human souls to be objective. We have learnt to be factual, accurate, to reduce things to measurements and quantities and to remove emotion from our observations and conclusions. Then, we could bless too that in us which managed to survive our several hundred years of dedication to the Sciences that has led to our understanding of the material world, the mineral world. What is it that I refer to that has survived? Is it really discernible with our modern everyday faculties? Of course I believe that it is and wish to take you on a little path, that you have most likely trodden previously, that will remind you of your surviving seed of humanity that is in addition to your cognitive competence.
Let’s define nature and keep it very basic so that the distinction is easier to grasp. We will need to keep our thoughts of nature and our humanity a little separated before we try to bring them closer together. Nature is all that continues, even rules, when men and women (together humankind) are not present. Run through this with your active thinking. Imagine a world where mankind is absent, or even a piece of this world where humankind has not intervened. Then, having thought this through, move on by taking a deserted town into your thinking, like the one near Luderitz (Kolmanskop) in Namibia, and see the effects of nature on it once mankind has left the area. Nature takes over again. (Having said this, it draws us, however, to the realisation that something happened to nature when mankind first approached the area.) Moving on and leaving this for the moment, let’s ask the question ‘what part of mankind is nature and what part of us is possibly more than nature?’ Well, humankind is nature to the extent that we cannot avoid what we are physically. We are a species. We have a body that needs to feed, procreate and survive physically. We need to digest, breathe and operate at a certain temperature. We are warm blooded like other mammals. We have physical senses like other animals. We can hear, smell, touch, taste and see. In all these we are part of nature.
Our humanity shows itself to us just in being able to write this piece. But, let’s start from the beginning. I can decide what I want to eat, when I want to procreate, whether I want to prioritise one sense impression over another. An animal cannot do any of these out of its own. It may appear to be ‘thinking’ or ‘deciding’ when it has been taught not to eat, but really it is obeying a stronger sympathy or antipathy than the desire to eat when it is not eating, but desires to eat. It cannot decide on its own not to eat. In these very observations that I have made, I am using the basic disciplines that humankind has learnt in his discovering of the Physical Sciences. I am just adding to these learnt capacities a quality of being very open, not only to the material realities of existence, but to the softer more delicate and hidden realities of our humanity. I see that when humankind inhabits a physical space within nature, nature retreats or withdraws. Darkness also withdraws when I light a candle in the dark. The moment the candle strengthens or weakens, the darkness can do nothing but respond. The same applies to ourselves. We can be totally nature when we withdraw our consciousness, our will, our thinking, our desire to understand who we in fact are. We can, on the humanity side, bring the free acts and qualities of love, patience, clarity, courage, and more. These lead to us filling the space we occupy in nature with different external consequences, even if viewed only from a social sense.
Within the cosmos, and the majestic power of nature that holds it mysteriously together, we find the Earth made up of the mineral, the plant, the animal, the ‘animal man’ together with the drop of humanity within us that is something more than nature. The animal man and the drop of extra is what we are. This drop is nowhere present in animals. It is what we have as a freedom. It is new to us. We need to test it and see whence it comes and what it can achieve. Whether I am a Jew, a Christian, a Muslim, a Buddhist or other, the sciences remain the same but different things weave their way into earthly nature around these various inner approaches taken by the different religions. This is a clear indication of our humanity working into the world because of an intangible that we hold within ourselves that is not possible with animals. All these religions recognise nature as something that is separate from mankind’s humanity. All are recognising that there is a seed of something Godly in us.
Perhaps the future is to try to be conscious of our humanity and the space that we choose that it fills that would otherwise be filled by nature – or – the light that we allow to shine in the darkness. Where there is light there is the possibility of orientation. Our individual human light can shine for others as we become conscious of our own humanity and work with it. Only understanding the mineral world with Science leaves us short of this possibility.