& THE SIX MIRACLES OF NATURE
Each afternoon at 4 o'clock I offer a free walk around the Hacienda's grounds, usually
taking between 1½ to 2 hours. For some reason mostly folks from the United Kingdom show
up but also there are North Americans, Germans and other nationalities. While we walk and
talk I get to know the guests, and all of them are astonished by events in their home
countries. Germans have their immigration debate, the English are at odds about the UK
leaving the European Union, and people from the US generally arrive in stunned amazement
over their presidential campaign.
All this agitation is perfectly natural, in the Naturalist's sense of the word. When a
species' population increases rapidly even as resources diminish -- as when humans
overpopulate the Earthly biosphere -- competition for resources increases tension and
often causes conflict. It's interesting to think about connections between the West's need
for petroleum, recent wars in the Middle East, and modern international terrorism.
In the past, wars, famine and diseases controlled human populations, and simple
violence and force ordered societies by enabling a few to dominate the less violent and
powerful. That's all very natural, exactly as happens among "wild animals." It's
still an open question as to whether humanity has evolved to the state where it can
restrain and order itself more elegantly.
Maybe we can, because of the Sixth Miracle of the Six Miracles of Nature, outlined at http://www.backyardnature.net/j/6/.
Here's the Sixth Miracle:
Instinctual behavior blossomed into consciousness,
along with the ability to be inspired, have a sense of aesthetics, to grow spiritually, to
override the dictates of our genes, and to exhibit other particularly human traits."
The Sixth Miracle offers hope that humans can "be inspired, have a sense of
aesthetics, to grow spiritually... " all of which -- in my opinion and in my
experience -- lead inexorably toward compassion for other living things, reverence for
diversity, and clear minds capable of finding and implementing appropriate, compassionate
solutions to our problems.
Only time will tell whether as a species we're capable of controlling our appetites and
disciplining ourselves so that our Earthly ecosystem can continue supporting us. However,
right now, this very instant, recognition of the Sixth Miracle offers something to each of
us wanting to rise above the disorder and disharmony around us.
That is, instead of allowing our minds to obsess on disorder and disharmony, we can
spend more time meditating on those features of reality that our inner senses tell us are
transcendentally good and beautiful. For example, there's Nature. And the Sixth Miracle of
Nature is, by definition, a part of Nature. Therefore, rising above violence and stupidity
also is natural, though at some point it requires a decision to do so.
Our BackyardNature.Net website was created
exactly to help people learn how to focus on Nature, starting with what's living in our