I am writing a book about “being fully human”. Why? Because I believe that we all have the potential to be much more fully human, and that would make a big difference. As things stand, we have the odd situation where it seems to be human nature to be imperfect, to make mistakes, and to be less than we really are. In strong contrast, it is the nature of every other creature I can think of not to have faults, not to make mistakes, and to be fully who they are. Dolphins, wolves and eagles immediately come to mind, but there are countless other examples of creatures being fully who they are. I believe that we can trace back many, if not all, of our big problems to not being fully who we are. I will write about this later.
Underpinning all this is the idea of “being natural”. I have written about this before. Today I would like to touch upon five ways in which we and the world would get better if we were more natural. They are: healthier, more intelligent, more powerful, more ecological, and more evolutionary. I will say a few words about each of these.
Perhaps I should lay my cards on the table. I believe that our natural state is to be healthy, intelligent, powerful, ecological and constantly evolving. Indeed, I define health as “our natural state”. Illness is simply any deviation from our natural state. I hardly need add that we can deviate for many reasons – upbringing, schooling, the culture of our society, our lifestyle, our diet, and the physical environment. The more natural we are, in the way we live, work, and interact, the more likely we are to be healthy.
You may know by now that I define “intelligent” as “behaving wisely and well”. For me, intelligence has very little to do with being brainy or intellectual or having a high IQ. There is absolutely no point in being intelligent in theory. “By their deeds you shall know them.” Intelligent is as intelligent does! A moment’s reflection tells that all other creatures put us to shame by their wise behaviour. I am suggesting that the more natural we are (the more fully human), the more likely we are to be intelligent, in the sense I have just described.
Natural power is a little trickier to explain. The roots of the word are helpful. It comes from the Latin “posse”, meaning “to be able”. Thus, power is about the capacity to do things. Within the limits of who they are, all other creatures are typically more able than we are. They are able to fight or flee, according to circumstances. Put them in the wild, and they will survive and thrive. Put most of us in the wild, and we would find it difficult to survive, so dependent have we become on technology and the comforts of civilisation. Not only this, when other creatures do something, they tend to do it perfectly. This cannot be said of many of us. In keeping with the theme of this blog, I believe that the more natural we are, the more able we are, and the better we do things. This is what I mean by “natural power”.
If you are not sure whether all other creatures are ecological, then you have not been paying attention. I do not think it an exaggeration to say we human beings are the only unecological species on this planet. And it shows! That said, I believe that it is our true nature to care for the planet and leave it a better place than we found it.
Last but not least, the more natural we are, the more likely we are to evolve, to develop. In my writings on “conscious evolution” – influencing the pace and direction of our own evolution – I place a lot of emphasis on being natural. In fact, I will stick my neck out, and say that arguably the most effective way to promote one’s own evolution is to be as natural as possible. Those of you who have been following me will realise that this connects strongly with being a 21st Century Taoist. More to follow.