Monday, May 9, 2011

The Web of Life

The idea that there is an intricate web-like structure connecting all things is not new. The concept of a web that connects all life has been used by philosophers, poets and mystics throughout the millennia to describe the interconnectedness of all things. Similar concepts are found in diverse traditions, both ancient and modern, throughout the world. It makes no difference from what angle it is viewed, ancient or modern, spiritual, religious, philosophical, or even scientific, the idea remains fundamentally the same - there is something that connects us with everything else in existence. 

While each of the various different views may define or describe the web of life in differing terms it always ends up resembling a network of interwoven strands creating a universal interdependence among all things.   

One way of describing this web is to call it The Mind of Nature. All living things are connected by the life force that flows through them. If you can imagine this connection as billions and billions of tiny weblike fibers linking all things in creation, you can begin to understand how we are intertwined within the web of life. This web is made up of the life force energy that is part of everything. And every living thing is part of the web. The plants and animals of the world including humans all have a relationship to each other. At the most basic level this is obvious. It is no accident that the oxygen we breathe is a by-product of the plants as they go through the life process of photosynthesis. Just as the carbon dioxide we exhale is exactly what plants require to live. 

But the connection goes even deeper than that. In The Secret Life of Plants Peter Tompkins and Christopher Bird proved, in experiment after experiment, that plants have a much more complex interaction with the world around them, than we think they do. They react to thoughts, feelings and emotions in a manner that could be described as quite humanlike if we were to be so arrogant as to assume we are the ones that originally developed such reactions. This is the same for animals as well, yet humans often treat them as inferior beings.

The web of life links everything, but we, as individuals, seem to be blind to this linkage as we rush to cut down the forests and destroy the habitats of wild creatures. We don’t realize or care that we are damaging the web and, ultimately, ourselves. Nor do we understand that nature, with the web at its core, will respond – inevitable responds – to its mistreatment or mismanagement and will eventually take retribution in severe disruptions and major catastrophes within the human environment. 

The web is strong and resilient, but it is fragile at the same time.
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