Unity and oneness: unending search

“The health of soil, plants, animals, people and the environment is one and indivisible.” “We need a unified nation.” We search for that sense of oneness. And we sometimes find it.

But if we are honest we know it doesn’t last. Ecological resilience research tells us “oneness” is necessarily fleeting.

The oneness of soil, plants, animals, people and environment exists only until a new species or technology or culture comes in which can establish a new oneness. 

An acidic soil is a healthy soil for pines, azaleas, and blueberries, but would kill other plants.  Is it a healthy soil?  The pines think so as they drop acidic needles and make the soil even more acidic. You might call it “White Pine Privilege.” 

The Inuit survived and thrived as Greenland became cooler in the 1100s; early Viking settlers died out. The environment and animals and people were healthy when they were fish, seals and Inuit, not when they were Norse and cattle and medieval catholicism.

After horses were released by early Spanish explorers and found an environment they liked in North America, the Lakota developed a horse based culture which thrived.  This new culture wasn’t so healthy for the sedentary agricultural societies the Lakota raided and destroyed.  In 1776, the Lakota took the Black Hills from the Cheyenne who had taken it from the Kiowa. This enabled the Lakota to declare the Black Hills sacred and today call for the faces on Mt. Rushmore to be obliterated. The combination of the horse and the Great Plains was healthy for the Lakota, not so much for the Cheyenne and the Kiowa and, today, the WASP.

The megafauna present in North America (mastodon, mammoth, horse, tapir, ground sloth, giant bison, giant beaver, giant tortoise, American lion, short-faced bear, and saber-toothed tiger) were healthy and one with their environment and soils and plants until what are now called indigenous people came from Asia.  Then the megafauna provided lots of good meals for the “indigenous” until they were wiped out.

Chaparral requires fire to release the chaparral seeds from their pods. Regular fires are part of the oneness of soils, plants, animals and environment in chaparral country, like Southern California. Some wouldn’t see the healthy oneness in the fires in California today.

During the Second World War in the USA, there was an overwhelming sense of oneness as the country battled two totalitarian, aggressive enemies. Today, America is disunited and breaking into anarchy.

Paradoxically, searching and finding oneness requires us to abandon any attachment to particular animals, cultures, plants or environments. The only lasting “oneness” is more basic than any of these transient epiphenomena. They will pass away while the resilient remain.

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