The following piece was written by Bobbi for the Institute for the Study of Natural Systems International and is republished here to share her views on equilibrium.
Once again the earth’s orbit has reached that point of balance where the hours of the night are equal to the hours of the day. For two precious days, one in the autumn and one in the spring, the earth’s diurnal and nocturnal timetable is the same for every place on earth. No matter who we are and where we live, to what race, religion, ethnic group, political party, gender, no matter to what groups we belong, we are reminded that we, as human beings, occupy a small planet that is orbiting around a medium sized star in one arm of a galaxy of vast proportions. We look out into the deep darkness of infinite space, dazzling with fragile brightnesses of incandescently burning stars, and marvel at the miraculous fact that this all exists and that we are immersed in all this wonder and glory.
Equinox reminds us that balance is absolutely vital in all things, whether in nature or in the affairs of human beings. Balance is a dynamic state where a system, whether natural or whether created by people, functions optimally. To function optimally requires something that may seem strange at first, but when implemented leads to what at first seems like a contradiction, namely that the good of each part depends on, and is intimately related with, the good of the whole, and with the good of every other part.
We have often heard that the “game of life,” requires a ruthlessly imposed, “survival of the fittest,” behavior in which survival and winning is a zero sum game, in which in order for one to win another has to lose. A deeper look at nature reveals, however, that although there is competition, predation, parasitism, flourishing and diminishing, where individuals come into being and pass out of being, where life and death are mixed together in what often seems to be a quixotic, chaotic stew, that underlying all this seeming chaos there is a balance that asserts itself through the interrelation, evolution, adaptation, and mutual interdependence of all beings on one another, and on the earth and its cycle around the sun. When we look more deeply, we see that competition in Nature occurs a larger context of interrelationship and balance. Nature not only self organizes itself, it also self-balances itself, through vast interconnections of feedback and feedforward mechanisms that keep nature in a continual dynamic state of self correcting and self adapting.
Human beings are part of nature and have arisen as one species, among billions of species, in nature. Each of these species has adapted to make use of specific environmental niches in which each can survive, reproduce and flourish. In adapting to the various ever-changing environmental niches, species seek to avoid direct competition with other species and to benefit from interrelationships with other species. Flowering plants evolved to make use of insects that pollinate them. Insects evolve to make us of the nectar of flowers.
Our human systems all are imbedded in the natural systems that have given rise to, and continuously make possible our very existence. We breathe the air that nature provides, we walk on the earth has emerged in nature, the holy water of the earth quenches our thirst and irrigates our crops. The animals and plants we depend on for nourishment are given to us by nature. The very atoms and molecules of our being are forged in the fiery furnaces of ancient stars and supernovas. The creation of nature inspires our awe, wonder, love, respect, and acknowledgement of our utter dependence on them.
Our bodies and our brains have evolved in nature and represent the most exquisite balance of one of the most complex natural systems of which we know. Each of our brains is comprised of over 80 billion neurons and some 100 billion supporting and protective cells. Each of these cells is a tiny living unit that is comprised of trillions of atoms and molecules, each one with a particular function in the whole system. With this amazing brain of ours we have discovered many tools for creating our human environments, and we have invented many techniques for advancing our social and individual well being, as well as numerous methods of killing and damaging one another, motivated by imaginary or real threats from one another as groups and as individuals, or by greed for power and money that has caused some of the worst atrocities that people have wrecked on one another.
Balance represents a state of health in natural systems, and in human systems. Disease is a system out of balance, whether it is a diseased plant or animal, or a diseased ecosystem or a diseased economic, social or political system. Health is a system in balance, whether it is our physical, mental, emotional or spiritual health, or whether it is a flourishing ecosystem, economy, or society. So our challenge as individuals, societies and as a world is how to we create and encourage healthy human beings and balanced natural systems in which we can all flourish and lead healthy happy lives. Conversely we need to know how we can prevent, avoid and re-balance diseased human and natural systems.
Once we see that creating and maintaining the crucial balance in our human and natural systems is our global goal as a human race, we can intensify our efforts to work together to create and to affirm the universal balance, health and happiness of all beings and of our earth. This requires a quantum leap in the evolution of human consciousness towards more intelligent, balanced, aware, peaceful, empathetic, cooperative, spiritual beings. This, I believe, is necessary for the continued survival and flourishing of the earth, of the human race, and of our societies and of our own individual selves.
For more of Bobbi's philosophical journey, you can now order her latest book: 26.2 Essays available on Amazon.com.