Sunday, August 22, 2010
Water from near and far - poured into a bowl. From oceans, lakes, rivers, fountains and memorials, water faucets and rain. From adults and children, young and old. With memories - good, bad and in between. That's the Unitarian Universalist water ritual.
Water flowing clear, oxygen and hydrogen - molecules mingling like people in a crowd. It's about connections, community, experiences and life.
In a bowl of water, the idea that some of the molecules are better, or have been "chosen" is absurd. While we are all a bit more complicated than that with our DNA with it's genes and proteins, the same concept applies. We are app. 60% water, 16% protein, 15% fat.
Thinking of all of humanity, and life on earth, and the water that circulates through all of our systems, and the air we breathe as being one system is a positive thing. Is life a shared experience or a competition? Are you more like a bonobo (flexible about sharing) or a chimpanzee ("where status is paramount and aggression can be severe")? We are more closely related to chimpanzees. Testosterone is king in chimp land. Among bonobos, the female is dominant and cooperation and food sharing is practiced. Bonobos developed communication and stress reduction techniques. Chimps developed tools and weapons, murder and war.
Historically, people have presumed that money could serve some amount of protection. Wealth passed down through generations could help one's surviving genes. Genes apparently have their own selfish mechanisms for survival. Genes on the female side are more interested in ensuring communication, while the genes on the male side are more interested in sex and emotion.
Ridley's 'Genome' book suggests we get our striatum, cortex, and hippocampus (sensory processing, thinking, consciousness) cells from our mothers and that most of our cells in our hypothalamus & amygdala (emotions, stress, hormones) come from our fathers. "In the opinion of one scientist, Robert Trivers, this difference reflects the fact that the cortex has the job of co-operating with maternal relatives while the hypothalamus is an egotistical organ."
The premise of the book "The Chalice and the Blade" is that women and the women's perspective needs to be more influential than it has been the past few centuries - for the good of humanity and the planet. Women have evolved to be more interdependent-minded in order to raise children. An attitude of cooperation is required.
We all need the planet - and a poisoned planet will be a difficult place for all to live, not just those with less means and fewer stored assets. Huffingpost has an article of "9 Surprising Diseases You Can Catch In The Nation's Oceans." Those include: Hepatitis (from red (hospital) waste & ill disposed bodies), Enteric Bacteria (from storm water and sewage), Legionnaire's disease, a form of pneumonia, Gastrointestinal illnesses from cryptosporidium, giardia, shigella, e.coli and norovirus, MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus), and oil spill related illness including skin infections and respiratory problems, headaches, etc., Some (MRSA) are spread more in warm waters such as the Mediterranean, California, Florida. Others diseases are more prevalent near large cities with the resultant pollution such as Miami, San Diego, San Francisco and Los Angeles. Lakes and rivers have their pollution problems as well.
While one might think distance from civilization would make for cleaner water, that cannot be assumed, either. People living on the far outskirts of civilization have had problems with mercury and other pollution related substances getting into the water and the food chain.
Hoarding money will not save us - but more regulations would help regarding pollution and pesticides, of food, air and water. One blogger put it like this: "Anti-government sentiment is grounded in the idea that the government will take stuff from you and give it to someone outside your tribe...." Not only is our country our tribe, the world is our tribe. Bonobos are the better model than chimpanzees (and unregulated capitalism).
Encouraging selfishness is not the way to go in this. The more selfish people are, the worse we all are. The more large corporations are allowed to put profit before our health and our lives, the worse we all are. We don't want to ourselves to be polluted (it's not good for our health). We need to be smart about our shared home, food, air and water. We are all connected. The world is smaller than it appears.