Sunday, April 10, 2005

Human Ecosystem: What are we killing?

The Human Ecosystem
Very few people are so heartless that they would destroy a beautiful religious place, even if the religion is not their own. If they see the beauty, they will want to avoid harming it.

How, then, would people want to harm another human being, if they understood the beauty and complexity of the human body? It is easier to bomb a faceless enemy than it is to destroy a human who stands in front of you. The beauty and complexity of the human body is such that it makes the most elaborate cathedral or mosque look plain by comparison.

Our body is made up of trillions of cells. Each cell, when it came to life, contained the pattern (DNA) that makes each of us the bionic organism we are. In other words, each cell could recognize each other cell of our body by its identifying feature, its DNA.

Each cell knows exactly what its purpose in life is. It knows what it is supposed to do and how it is supposed to go about doing it. It also knows exactly how it is to go about working in conjunction with others of its kind, such as to provide the functions of a liver or of skin. These groups of cells, known as organs, also have a collective knowledge of how to work together with other organs for the benefit of the entire organism, us.

When we need nutrition, the cells that make us feel hungry activate. When we get full, proteins are made to tell us that we are no longer hungry. When we have too much sugar in us, the pancreas secretes insulin to prevent the liver from overreacting and our other cells from oxidizing too much energy.

When we are cool, we shiver to create heat by burning more energy. When we are hot, we sweat so that our perspiration will evaporate, a cooling process.

Our spleen regulates our immune system, which prevents us from succumbing to diseases. When it senses a new disease organism, it creates antibodies to kill the invader. Our heart speeds up the pumping of blood when we need more oxygen in our cells, then slows to a minimum when we sleep peacefully. Our lungs take in as much air as we need, then our diaphragm expands faster to allow our lungs to take in more air as we need it when exercising.
Every part of our body is finely tuned to do its respective functions perfectly, in coordination with each other function of our bodies.

Then we have other micro-organisms that inhabit within us. Some experts claim that there are more of them than of cells in our bodies. They act in symbiosis with our cells, that is, they provide things that our bodies need that we can’t get elsewhere and our cells in turn provide a good living environment and food and waste disposal services for these independent organisms that dwell within us.

We can’t survive without them and they can’t survive without us. The interdependence is so complex that we humans with our superior minds are unable to comprehend how it all works, how it all fits together. We are certainly unable to understand and appreciate an ecosystem that is beyond our imaginations in sophistication.

I maintain that if we teach some of this to children, they would not seriously consider harming another person out of respect for something that is beyond their understanding.

Every person in prison has this same ecosystem within them. Every resident of a mental institution, every doctor, every starving peasant, every military general and every drug addict has this same ecosystem within them. Every person who belongs to a different religion than you has it. Every person of a culture your people despise has it. Every person of black, pink, yellow, brown or red skin has it.

We all have the same astoundingly complex ecosystem.

Yet this does not account for who we are. Our personalities, our skills, our strengths, our talents, our brilliance, our thoughts, even our stupidity in some things are not accounted for by this ecosystem. Most people cannot begin to comprehend the differences between the cellular ecosystem that is the human body and the energy system that is our personality, our spirituality, our soul.

We believe others who claim to know "the truth," who claim to have received divine inspiration or divine insight because we have no way of understanding it ourselves. Every person who belongs to every religion on Earth believes that his or hers is the only true religion, that others are mistaken in their beliefs. Each one gives respect to their founder for his or her guidance in a subject that is too complex for their understanding.

We endlessly praise those who give us answers because we lack the answers ourselves. And yet, we do not know if their answers are correct. We accept their answers for how life works instead of seeking our own answers.

I have sought my own answers for half a century. I have found what I need to begin to understand. What I understand more than anything is that most people have not looked far enough to make sense of their world. The more you study, without being sidetracked onto one way of thinking, the clearer the subject of life becomes.

We cannot comprehend the complexities of the details of life. But we can understand it in general terms, which is good enough for most of us.

But beware: the more you understand about life, the more you will realize how much some people are misleading others. They are telling how it is, not teaching how to learn. This is wrong. It accounts for most of the strife in our world today.

War, street gangs, video games and movies objectify killing, treating the lives of "the enemy" as if they were ducks in a shooting gallery or tin cans to be kicked along a street gutter. There is more to life, whether a Nobel Prize winner or a thug waiting on Death Row, than ducks and tin cans. Yet many children grow up thinking of others who are not among their circles of loved ones as shooting gallery ducks or tin cans to be kicked.

Ignorance is not a pretty thing. Learning is beautiful. Knowing is exquisite beyond explanation.

Bill Allin
'Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today's Epidemic Social Problems'

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