An Excerpt from Jim Conrad's
NATURALIST NEWSLETTER
of March 14, 2010
Issued from Hacienda Chichen Resort adjoining Chichén Itzá Ruin in
YUCATÁN, MÉXICO

WEALTH

In the garbage a visitor left a pile of current-events magazines from the North. I salvaged them, for it's hard to keep up with what's happening in the rest of the world here. Somehow after I'd read them all through -- they'd dealt heavily with the world economic situation -- the theme I was left thinking about was this: What is wealth?

We think of wealth in terms of money and property. What's interesting about that is that money's value is strictly what people agree that it is. Similarly, property is recognized as property only as long as people agree on the rules of property ownership and respect them, or else the owner has the means to defend his or her possession. The means to defend property, such as guns and fences, cost money, and, as said, money's value is only what people say it is.

Wealth certainly manifests itself powerfully and tangibly in human society, but it exists only as long as people mentally agree on the concepts involved. This means that human wealth is an abstract notion. Some would go further and say that it's an illusion.

Does wealth exist in Nature? It seems to me that it does, and that there are at least three kinds of it. Furthermore, much in contrast to humanity's wealth, Nature's forms   depend on no outside concepts or circumstances.

One of Nature's wealths is energy. All movement and all change is powered by energy, whether it's energy stored in an animal's fat, energy available in unstable radioactive isotopes, or the potential energy of an apple falling to the ground.

Nature's second form of wealth is information. As soon as Earth cooled enough to support life, life appeared and immediately began evolving. The thrust of that evolution, as witnessed in Life on Earth, is toward ever greater sophistication and ever greater mutual cooperation. Nature crafts living things and the course of evolution by perpetually tinkering with and enhancing each species' genetic code -- which is coded information detailing how each organism is put together. The greater the diversity of living things, the more highly evolved the organisms, and the more interrelated all species are within the planetary biosphere, the greater is Nature's wealth of genetically encoded information. Evolution struggles toward more and more information.

The third kind of wealth Nature recognizes is the spiritual impulse causing everything in Nature to exist and evolve in the first place. The Creator is the artist and the Universe confirms the Impulse by being the Creation. The Creative Impulse, then, is the most profound and most prolific of Nature's forms of wealth.  Facebook Icon.