The theme of this short piece: The Sanctity of Nature’s Wonders – Violated more than Enough – No More – It’s Time for three Rs – Rewind, Reflect and Restore. It is a tribute to the wonders of Life System – a very colorful and fascinating world indeed. The appreciation of this wonderful world is made possible by the enlightening and dedicated works of Naturalists or Natural Scientists – and all the activists. Their investigative efforts on the Systems of Earth’s processes – and advocacy have garnered the growing global awareness of the value of interactive Systems of Fluid, Solid and Life (see Warming Climate and Entropy). We now know more of these systems – of their symbiotic relationships - the interdependence of things – allowing us to appreciate their belonging to our own well-being (see Enlightenment, Emptiness and Nirvana). We feel like saying with Leo Tolstoy (1828 – 1910): One of the first conditions of happiness is that the link between Man and Nature shall not be broken.
The air we breathe – the water we drink – the seasons bringing the right temperature and pressure, rain and sunshine – the beauty of Nature’s harmony that let us feel relaxed, happy and peaceful – the food we eat by harvesting plants and others belonging to the Life System – are all precious gifts of Nature - the Mottainai. There cannot be anything stupider and dumber than destroying what sustains us – what let us live and thrive. No actions whatever the arguments are in favor of such actions – can be justified.
The awareness and appreciation of Nature's beauty let us think and sing like Louis Armstrong (1901 – 1971): . . . and I think to myself what a wonderful world . . . We think of matters that define The Nature We Live in and The Society We Live in – presented in articles posted in some titles: Natural Order; Natural Equilibrium; Nature’s Action; The Fluidity of Nature; Duality and Multiplicity in Nature; The Wheel of Life; Social Order; Social Fluidity; Duality and Multiplicity in a Society. These matters are the multiplicity of plants and animals of the Life System that have evolved and are evolving along with us – in the kaleidoscope of Transience and Interdependence.
This tribute is a belated commemoration of the Earth Day (April 22) and the World Wildlife Day (3 March). Among the Naturalists who have been and are at the forefront spearheading things – include the names of: David Attenborough (1926 - ), Jane Goodall (1934 - ), Sylvia Earle (1935 - ), and David Suzuki (1936 - ) of the English speaking world – and many more outstanding dedicated individuals of the non-English speaking worlds (of whom the English speaking world knows very little). Also important are the contributions of many others – who work behind the scenes to make things happen. It all began with the painstaking and meticulous works of Charles Darwin (1809 - 1882) and his contemporaries – who opened a particular vista of the Life System that are not like us – but do complement our own livelihood.
The contributions of these Natural Scientists stand upon the foundation of knowledge, insights and theories – developed and established in Matters and Energy – describing their transformation dynamics (in the gravitational, thermodynamic, mechanical, electromagnetic, electrochemical, and biochemical Force-Field Systems) – that encompass the nourishment and sustenance afforded by the Environment and Climate. As well important is the evolving canvas of enlightening forward-looking social attitude. Without such foundations and nourishments – things would not have progressed to the extent we see today.
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Thanks to all these works and the beneficial elements of the Cyberworld (see Artificial Intelligence – the Tool of No Limit), the accumulated knowledge is now accessible – by and large – by peoples around the world. In Creativity and Due Diligence, we have discussed Beavers in intelligent action, building something extraordinary – the Beaver Dam in forest streams. It is an example of highly skilled craftsmanship – that challenges our own skills and diligence. We now know more how intelligent many wild life systems are - how they care for their offspring – how their social relationships and partnership faithfulness are. How they manage to move body limbs independent of each other, or shed and grow limbs when needed – or how they change colors instantly to camouflage with the surrounding. As we know more and more of their intelligence, we become respectful with the awareness of our own limitations. The spectacular metamorphoses of dragon flies, moths and butterflies from larvae to adulthood – is perhaps something indicative of one of the most intriguing puzzles (see more on Entropy and Everything Else). This puzzle is about the after-life reincarnation of humans into a new life. Is there a connection? The crossing of the transformative beings of dragon flies, moths and butterflies – from one body to another by shedding the old body to embark into a new one – perhaps tantamounts to something no less than a connection to the human puzzle.
We are now aware of their rights – as much as ours – because without them our common well-being remains threatened. It is impossible not to feel shame of our past abhorrent attitudes toward them. One should look back to the wisdom of ancient thoughts and teachings - which says to be in the shoes of others – to invoke the virtues of compassion, fellow-feeling and respect for all lives. In the 130th verse of the DHAMMAPDA, Buddha - The Tathagata said: All tremble at violence; life is dear to all. Putting oneself in the place of another, one should not kill nor cause another to kill.
Each passing day propels us to learn from them – so much so that biomimicry is now a thriving discipline in the growing frontiers of science and technology. The biomimicry discipline has also a historical root. The mimicry as a way of learning from the fast movements of different forms of the Life System – to develop defensive techniques in order to deter predators without use of any weapon – gave birth to Kung-fu Martial Arts in the Fabled Shaolin Buddhist Monastery in around 527 CE. Different life forms – like the big bird Crane, Dolphins, Mantis insect, Mantis shrimp and others – inspired developments of this technique – in Chan Meditation spirit of the synchronicity of mind and body.
A very informative atlas: GAIA – An Atlas of Planet Management (Anchor Books 1984; N Myers, Ed) illustrated very thoroughly how humans mismanaged Earth’s resources – with total disregard to the welfare of other living beings and the environment – ushering in the adverse consequences and the aftermaths – we are all in now. GAIA refers to a self-sustaining-Earth theory proposed by JE Lovelock (1919 – 2022).
I am always fascinated by some beautiful-sounding non-scientific names of some creatures – like Platypus, Hippopotamus, and Pangolin. The list can easily expand to many more in the worlds of – the birds, the water fowls, the wonderful aquatic lives – the butterflies. From the fastest Cheetah to the slowest Sloth – from the majestic Elephant and Giraffe – to the kingly roars of the Lions – they all fascinate us. And think about our closest cousins – all different varieties of monkey species – from the smallest Squirrel, Pygmy and Golden Lion Tamarin monkeys to the Snub-nose and Long-nose (Proboscis) monkeys – to the largest Mandrills and the Apes like Gorillas. One can go on and on highlighting such wonders . . .
One bird captured human imagination more than any other – the myths and legends associated with this tall, large and elegant Crane are very fascinating. And, no other culture has devoted their attention to the beauty and the sound of this big bird – the Cranes – than the Egyptian, Chinese, Japanese, Bhutanese (The Song of White Crane says how this tall bird shaped Bhutanese thinking . . . Let the right wing drift – And gold and feather fuse – Let the left wing drift – And silver and feather fuse – Let both the wings drift – And travel all over the world) and Tibetan arts and literature. The beautiful cracking loud sounds of flocking cranes – bring life and wake up the whole village and neighborhoods. It all happens when they land to take rest, to feed or to live there for a time – enough to breed and raise their young. The silence engulfs everything when they fly away all of a sudden. Again some beautiful-sounding names like Pantanal, Everglades, Patagonia and Altiplano define their habitats or resting places.
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I want to reincarnate as a goose – so was the reply from one of my Dutch colleagues when we were in pep-talks during one of the project field trips in rural Bangladesh. This happened while discussing, why Einstein (1879 – 1955) wished to be reincarnated as a plumber. He continued, see how miserable we are, we cannot float, we cannot fly, we can only walk, but then become quickly exhausted. Indeed we are. Large birds like Geese (a flying pair; image credit anon) and Cranes, and many tiny migratory birds fly thousands of miles back and forth to accommodate the seasonal rise and fall of temperatures.
We always hear how humans think of these wonderful creatures, but do not know how they think of themselves, or of us. Unfortunately Dr. Dolittle (The Story of Doctor Dolittle; Hugh Lofting 1920) does not exist in the real world to enlighten us.
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Let us attempt to see things from their perspective through a nice little story – of a talk between a gosling (Chota) and mother goose (Hansh).
Chota: “Ma ma, see how these Jantus are looking at us.”
Hansh: “Ush! Chota, don’t say they are Jantu. They are Manushya. They get easily offended. They think they are superior and use the word to describe us.”
Chota: “Superior! Are they really, ma?”
Hansh: “Well, once upon a time, they were one of us, but then they started developing weapons, of all different kinds, from hard metallic ones to the tricky words. Now they are killing us and are constantly fighting among themselves, killing one another.”
Chota: “That’s so horrible! Why would they kill us, we are no harm to them.”
Hansh: “They see us as protein and meat and have developed the habit of eating a minimum of three large meals a day. Their appetite never stops. Sometimes, they kill us for fun.”
Chota: “Killing someone for fun! How atrocious.”
Hansh: “Perhaps they feel heroic and joyous for killing the defenseless ones.”
Chota: “It is weird and cowardice, ma – killing the weak and defenseless ones.”
Hansh: “Well said, Chota. Grandpa must have taught you wise things.”
Chota: “I miss my grandpa. Ma, why must they fight among themselves? I am afraid, I do not understand.”
Hansh: “Well, when they realized the power of their weapons, their desire to dominate unleashed. Terrible mistrusts began to develop among themselves. It’s a real pity. Don’t you think?”
Chota: “How shameful. We must be careful of them. Ma, can they fly in air and float in water like us?”
Hansh: “Those, poor things! Oh no. As they are developing more and more weapons, they are getting physically weaker, even dumber. When they walk, they become tired very soon. So, they developed autos.”
Chota: “Why don’t we develop weapons and autos, ma?”
Hansh: “Don’t even think of that. We are happy the way we are. And don’t forget, we have wings and as we fly over, we have a broad and distant eye-view of things. That changes our perspective of seeing things. By easily floating, swimming and diving in water we also see our friends living in water. Isn’t that great?”
Chota: “Sure is ma.”
As Chota and Ma swam to the other side of the lake, they saw many Manushya gathering in front of a big house. Chota asked, “Ma, why they are gathering there.”
Hansh: “It’s a gathering of worshippers. They imagine that someone or some ones are in charge of things, of their fate. So they pray to please.”
Chota: “Ma, do we have some ones like them?”
Hansh: “No. It is part of Manushya imagination. It’s a pity that they even cannot agree who are those some ones. And fight on this issue.”
Chota: “I feel very sorry for them.”
Hansh: “Chota, you have grown up now. You have displayed your ability to fly long distances. It’s time we fly to the warmer climate, it is getting colder here. We will see the wonderful world when flying. Have a look how our friends are flapping wings and getting ready. We must join the flock. Are you ready?”
Chota: “I am ma. I can’t wait to see for the first time the wonderful stories you and grandpa told me. Uh-hoo! I can walk, I can float, I can fly.”
So, the mother goose and her grown-up gosling started the flight joining the flock, enjoying the view of the Earth down below. As they did, their canvas of thinking and doing things became wider, and they began to sing . . . what a wonderful world down below . . .
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The Koan of this piece:
Don’t waste Time and Energy to find Heaven somewhere up in the Sky. Heaven comes down to Earth Soon Enough – when Harmony Reigns in the Mutuality of Happiness.
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- by Dr. Dilip K. Barua, 9 July 2021