Photo by Sharka Todd
The idea that life forms are just “complicated machines” and that consciousness is no more that an illusion created by the purely physical process of neurons firing in the brain is possibly the most destructive and life-denying philosophy ever invented by man.
Could we allow the wholesale destruction of the natural world if we believed that each life form, including the plants, were sentient and truly alive, rather than just a meaningless, mechanical collection of molecules without any true awareness or sense of self?
I think the reason the human race has found itself in such a position of horror is because of an overemphasis placed on the analytical abilities rather than using the whole being when experiencing the natural world. We foolishly think the scientists are the ones with all the answers when they are more lost than most. The one's with a truer, deeper understanding of life are those that use all their senses and their feeling nature when experiencing the natural world. In this way we see that everything is truly alive and that to concern ourselves with the component parts of each life form, such as its molecules and atoms, is madness. We don't focus on these things when we speak to a friend and nor should we when communing with a forest!
The analytical mind divides everything into parts and is unable to truly sense the life that flows through all things. Luckily, the people living closest to the natural world- the tribal people- have retained their deeper understanding of the world they inhabit and have attempted to pass their knowledge onto western man, who has, in the main, ignored it, preferring the partial, lifeless view of the scientists. This has enabled him to go on destroying the beautiful ecosystems of the world carelessly, as if they truly didn't matter!
See also: Does measuring something mean we understand it?