There are too many people, a self-correcting problem

In 1854, Chief Seattle of the Suquamish Indians, allegedly said this of the teeming white race and its impact on the earth:

“What will happen when the secret corners of the forest are heavy with the scent of many men and the view of the ripe hills is blotted with talking wires? Where will the thicket be? Gone! Where will the eagle be? Gone! (…) The end of living and the beginning of survival.”

Historians debate whether he actually spoke those words. I don’t care – my point is bigger than one rapacious conqueror. I’ll assume he said them. Now that we’re at the tipping point of planet survival his words are not only profound, they’re prophetic.

“What befalls the earth befalls all the sons of the earth. This we know: the earth does not belong to man, man belongs to the earth. All things are connected like the blood that unites us all.”

All things are connected: that’s the third universal truth.

Surely science will find a way to decrease pollution and sustain more people? Of course. But ultimately that well-meant action worsens the real problem – make a highway wider to cope with all the traffic and even more traffic comes, more people pressing into the far reaches of the earth. More pollution problems to solve.

“Whatever he (man) does to the web (of life), he does to himself.”

Your life is a mirror. That’s the second universal truth.

Surely the United Nations will call for global birth control?

Yes, but all nations will have to be united and political homo sapiens is nowhere near ready. The crisis is upon us: climate change, the rise of terrorism, the rise of antibiotic-resistant pathogens. And the vanishing animal species – colours are starting to disappear from life’s rainbow.

“Every part of the earth is sacred to my people. Every shining pine needle, every sandy shore, every mist in the dark woods, every meadow, every humming insect (…) We know the sap which courses through the trees as we know the blood that courses through our veins. (…) The earth is our mother.”

It’s that mother who will fix the problem, the human population problem. Think of mother earth as our powerful, collective unconscious – the web which connects all things. It/We will create planet-wide wars, diseases and natural disasters on an unprecedented scale.

Pessimistic? Alarmist? Take a happy pill? In the short term, yes, it’s pessimistic, and suffering on that scale is hard to contemplate. But to deny its imminent arrival is to bury our heads in the sand.

How can I predict planet-wide catastrophe when we are surrounded by stunningly beautiful manifestations of life? It doesn’t seem possible for it to end.

That’s because it won’t. I believe that all life is one life, and life cannot die – that’s the fifth universal truth. Instead, it will change its form, its make-up, its balance: Humans will survive, but we will see things differently. We will look back on the suffering as the saving of this jewel, this precious web of life spinning in space.

Chief Seattle knew that the Great Spirit is in all things and all things are in the Great Spirit.

“We are part of the earth and it is part of us. The perfumed flowers are our sisters. The bear, the deer, the great eagle, these are our brothers (…) The shining water that moves in the streams and rivers is not just water, but the blood of our ancestors.”

We are in our spiritual home. We are the Creator and Created: that’s the fourth universal truth  and  the first universal truth.