Symbiosis, in a biological definition, is a relationship between two different organisms whether through Mutual, commensal, or parasitic conditions. In The Nature of Humanity, we were looking at how we should live more symbiotically with The Higher Power and Earth. In use of utilizing symbiosis, I was referencing a more mutual and commensal relationship with The Higher Power and Earth rather than parasitic
If we look at the current state of humanity and our relationship with the world (whether it be other plants, animals, and what have you), temperatures around the world are increasing, we are still using fossil fuels as our means of transportation, Antarctica is seeing ice melt at faster rates year over year, disposal of human waste is threatening a plethora of wild live, and so on. A Parasitic Symbiotic Relationship has one organism benefits from the relationship but at the expense of the other. If we apply this relationship to the current state of humanity, we are living in a parasitic symbiotic relationship with the earth. By taking fossil fuels from the Earth, we are omitting large amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, deforesting large forests, enhancing the speed of earth’s temperature rises, and so on. We have plastics in the oceans that will take decades to decompose, large dumps outside major cities that smell worse than death, and rivers with once drinkable water that can now cause fatal sicknesses. In this relationship, Humanity is living off of the Earth. Rather, we must discover ways to live with the Earth.
Parasitic, Mutual and Commensal Symbiotic Relationships
A human and a dog may live out in the woods of Tennessee. The Human is a hunter and the dog is a a Mountain Cur. This is a Mutual Symbiotic relationship as the hunter and the Mountain cur will benefit from hunting dear. However this may be, they have a parasitical symbiotic relationship with the dear as they will harm the dear population for the benefit of their food. Be this as it may, the dear may view their relationship with the Earth as Commensal as they are eating grass and plant life from the Earth for their benefit with the earth unaffected. However this may be, the Human and Mountain Cur sees the deer population may be more parasitic in nature due to the large population deforesting more areas than loggers in Washington State; hence, the human and the Mountain cur see their relationship with the plant life to be mutual.
Was the human right to kill the dear? Yes and no. In times before Manifest Destiny, there may have been wolves in the area that kept the dear population in control. Because Humans had a parasitic symbiotic relationship with wolves and killed off the wolf population, the dear overpopulated and now are causing more issues than a wolf eating a sheep once a week. While this is an attempt to balance out the relationship between humanity and the earth, the humans may still be in the wrong because a predator that had a key parasitic relationship with dear was removed by humans for the benefit of humans. Unless humans reintroduce wolves in the area and grow a more mutual relationship with wolves, humans may still have a parasitical relationship with the earth while pretending to take the place of wolves in hunting dear.
A Mutual Symbiotic Relationship is the relationship between two or more species where both benefit from the relationship. While the human and the mountain cur may benefit with their relationship to one another, the human relationship to earth as a whole remains parasitical because we removed a species that had a mutual relationship with earth already in the environment it was living in.
A Commensal Symbiotic Relationship is the relationship between two species where one benefits and one is generally uneffected. If humans left wolves in the area and allowed the wolves to hunt the dear and helped the wolves hunt dear, then the wolves may have been diverted from eating that one sheep an instead ate the dear carcass. This would have been a commensal relationship. In turn, this could turn into a mutual relationship if the wolves took down the dear that was eating the crops humans were growing.
Instead of choosing to respect the life forms and the relationships they have to maintain life on earth, humanity has chosen to utilize fossil fuels that cause damage to the planet. In the oil spill in Louisiana, tens of thousands of birds and animals have been killed while the ecosystem has been horridly damaged. Some claim as many as 10,000 or 100,000 species go extinct each year due to the activity of humanity on the ecosystems we live off of. While this is up for debate, there are numerous reports in different news outlets (mainstream or independent) that advise many species are on the verge of exinction.
We are living in a parasitic symbiotic relationship with the earth.
Some humans may claim that they are attempting to be mutualistic with the earth and all life forms. Some may have a nice rancher in the middle of Pennsylvania’s country side, have a garden of 30 different flowers, dozens of trees, chickens, dogs, and bird running about and have their own personal farm so they don’t by chemically enhanced foods at the local food market. While this may appear to be mutualistic with the earth that provides the soil for their plants to live on, this very same household may be using bug spray to kill off pests, unknowingly killing bees that help pollinate their flowers. They may have a septic tank underneath their home and it bursts underground – contaminating the plants they are caring for. The dogs dug holes around the ground and killed some moles that were eating worms that were contaminating the carrots this house was growing. This house may also be using a large Ford F350 to drive to and from the store for farming tools, adding carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. They may have a gun and killed off a coyote that’s part of an endangered population that controls the dear population, thus allowing the dear to continually over populate.
Humanity has the free will to choose the type of relationship we have with the Earth; however, we do not have free will to chose the effects of those relationships. If we chose to have a parasitic relationship, then we will continue to see the effects on the earth that we have today until the consequences we are causing will worsen humanity as a whole. The more oil we burn and the more gas we use, the worse our carbon print will be. The less oil we burn, the less of an effect it will have; however, the damage from so many years already will take time to heal.
The longer we wait to transition from a parasitical to a mutual relationship, the longer it will take for the damage to heal on the planet. The way we transition will also have different effects on founding and maintaining our mutual symbiotic relationship with the earth. If we transition from fossil fuels to solar energy the way we still do, the way we do so may still have the same parasitical aspects as when we were still on fossil fuels. If we cut off fossil fuels directly and went directly to solar and abandon our coal mines, oil fields and what have you, we could see benefits in decreasing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere; however, if these abandoned coal mines and oil fields go unchecked and they deteriorate over time, we could see different oil spills in the future with very few people able to address the issue.
While humanity is thinking in the right direction by utilizing different forms of energy outside of fossil fuels, if we’re creating cleaner and budget friendly ways of utilizing the same fuels we are accustomed to, what difference would that make in our parasitical relationship with the earth? If we’re attempting to appease oil industry owners in the transition, we are still seeing the almighty dollar as the deity and appeasing those controlling the dollar to control humanity to maintain their own monetary goals. The cost of this false mutualism and this facade of “being green” is a world that is still being taken advantage of, finite resources being depleted, waste continues to rise, ice continues to melt, species continue to disappear, and our connection to the earth deteriorates further until we truly to come to a point of no return.
What are our choices?
Where we are at today, there are many choices for us to decide to have a more mutualistic relationship with mother earth rather than a parasitic. My concern is we are focused on the whole of humanity acting on the thoughts of a few. Renown world leaders of industry, politics, and technology would say we need more solar energy, more nuclear energy, more oil rigs, or whatever appeals to their beneficiaries. In turn, they will use their tools in the mass media to influence the people to believe their way is the right way, vote them in, and they will attempt to appeal to their beneficiaries while pretending to benefit your wants that they influence you to believe.
Humans have the free will to choose what kind of relationship they have with the earth; however, it is natural for us to be compassionate, considerate, and respectful of what is around us. With that said, we have the free will to choose a better way to connect ourselves to the earth. Why do we need political leaders telling us what to believe? Why do we need technocrats and oil executives to tell us what we should have? For the purpose of mass consumption to continue praising and worshiping swaths of money? To continue their livelihood while humanity struggles to maintain their given share of the dollar while the earth is in the state that it is in? We are all humans; therefore, we are free to our own thoughts and our own wills. We humans are free to return to our compassionate, considerate, and respectful selves that our faiths have taught us. We are free to choose our way to be mutually symbiotic with the earth that we live on.
From Islam: Quran 16:65
“And Allah has sent down rain from the sky and given life thereby to the earth after its lifelessness. Indeed in that is a sign for a people who listen.”
Christianity/Judaism: Numbers 35:33
“You shall not pollute the land in which you live, for blood pollutes the land, and no atonement can be made for the land for the blood that is shed in it, except by the blood of the one who shed it.”
Sikhism: Sri Guru Granth Sahib pg. 723
“Air, water, earth and sky – the Lord has made these His home and temple.”
Buddhism: From Dalai Lama:
“As people alive today, we must consider future generations: a clean environment is a human right like any other. It is therefore part of our responsibility toward others to ensure that the world we pass on is as healthy, if not healthier, than we found it.”
Chief Arvol Looking Horse: Lakota, Dakota, Nakota
““Each of us is put here in this time and this place to personally decide the future of humankind. Did you think the Creator would create unnecessary people in a time of such terrible danger? Know that you yourself are essential to this world. Understand both the blessing and the burden of that. You yourself are desperately needed to save the soul of this world. Did you think you were put here for something less? In a Sacred Hoop of Life, there is no beginning and no ending.”
The Choice Starts with You
No matter if you are a scientist working in a water purification lab, or the ranch owner in Pennsylvania, a tribesman of a Native American or what have you. We have leaders in this world who are making decisions for people to continue on a path that pollutes the world, destroys environments, and even teach people a false way of mutual symbiosis where they think they are doing the right thing for their environment but continue on their ways using oil and gas in their car. The choice starts with you on how you can live more mutually symbiotic with planet earth.
While science has provided key insight on the different relationships we can have with different species, the many faiths of the world have provided proverbs and seeds of wisdom on our environment and how we should live. Recent leaders such as the Dalai Lama and Chief Arvol Looking Horse have provided a refresh into the true nature of humanity. The quotes from Islam, Christianity, Judaism, and Sikhism, while older than any one human, provide a mindset that the Higher Power allows us to live on this planet. At the core of human virtue, we must be compassionate, considerate, and respectful of the world around us – this goes beyond our compassion for our fellow humans. This goes beyond our compassion and respect for other life forms on earth. This goes directly to our relationship with the Higher Power and the Earth. Find that mutually symbiotic relationship with the higher power and the Earth, and the respect shall grow like seeds for all other life forms and make the choices necessary to ensure we no longer harm the land that we share with – the wolf, the coyote, the dear, the bear, the birds, and so on.
We are more than just ourselves – we are a part of this life on earth. It is time we start behaving in a way that is mutually beneficial to all life outside our own. What makes us more than who we are is our compassion and respect to all life. Use your Human Freewill to choose what is right for the world we live with – choose not to be the parasite those who praise money like God want you to be. Choose to be a true human and our relationship with the Higher Power and the Earth will improve for the greater whole. No matter what corner of the world we come from, all humans have learned the value of respecting and living with earth. It is time we relearn this fully and not falsely.
More to Come on this.
Be safe and be healthy,