Nature and spirituality

Perhaps aboriginal people were far far FAR more advanced than our European ancestors gave them credit for.  I’m thinking North American aboriginals because I have a slightly better sense of their beliefs than others, but I imagine it is the case for most aboriginals around the world.  I’m not arguing that they were more technologically advanced, or even necessarily more socially advanced (that’s more of a grey, subjective area anyway) — I think they were more spiritually/philosophically advanced.

It seems that so many religions took a wrong turn with spiritual beliefs when they became separated from nature and centered around a mythical being modelled in our image — or vice versa, as most religions would say.  This isn’t to say that the personification of natural forces (sun, moon, stars, weather, rivers, plants, animals, etc.) is accurate or true, per se, but more that if you are going to base spiritual beliefs on something, wouldn’t the power and wonder of nature make far more sense than a being that can’t even be proven to exist?  We can all directly experience the power and wonder of nature, and our inability to control it, or the inability to control the consequences when we do make attempts to control it.

Part of the impact of spiritual/religious beliefs is how we act in accordance with those beliefs, i.e. where we direct our respect, our passion, our loyalty, our efforts.  Isn’t it better to direct such things toward the natural world and its wonders than mythology or historical figures long since passed?  Even if the whole of nature isn’t necessarily conscious, thus making personification inaccurate, wasn’t aboriginal spirituality’s personification of nature a better way for us to live our lives?  Respect for nature, living within it and not outside of it, only taking as much as we need and using as much of what we took as was humanly possible — can one really argue that such a belief system and its practices isn’t better than one that sees us as above all else in nature and entitled to using it as we see fit, and discarding the “waste” out of laziness or lack of effort or supposed “inefficiency”?  At the very least, the most widespread religions of today put an additional step of separation between us and nature in that they direct our respect toward a being we believe is controlling nature rather than toward nature itself.

I’m not saying that the aboriginal way of life prior to European colonization was the best way to live our lives forever — I appreciate science and technological advances that can extend and better our lives.  I just think we may have been better off giving more regard to aboriginal beliefs (or any nature-centered spirituality) as a guideline when pursuing technological advances, a way of filtering which inventions/changes would be beneficial and which would do far more damage than they were worth.

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~ by bohemianincognito on 2013 May 20.

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