This world is a teeming, vibrant world. A world full of the bitter struggles of life in all beings and forms, wrenching their existence out of the elements before them. The fish move throughout the ocean, but they also are the ocean, as their molecules constantly shift between those of the water, and other sea life. The land animals dig and scrape the earth for food, sometimes even taking the lives of their Earthly cousins for survival. They too are mingled in form with their elements. We, humanity, are no different, for even in our cities of concrete and glass, we feed upon the structures of our environment.
Ours is a society nourished by many sources. We are of course sustained by the Earth, though in a way that seems almost secondary to the human construct of fame, and its behavioral partner, ostentatiousness.
The desire for a place in the world is one which nearly all people have. We want to belong, and we want to be valued within the particular social structures we navigate. We are an animal which needs its own place in the world, both collectively and individually. Hence, we have occupied many niches, and in so doing, have attempted to elevate ourselves through our achievements. In celebrating our advancements within the animal kingdom, we have become lost in our potential as a species, forsaking the now, and our Earthly brethren, and also one another. Such is our way, reflected, for example, in humanity’s conquest, use, and sometimes misuse of fire.
We think of fire as a mere tool too often, and we as its masters, when instead we should see fire as our honored ally. It has its own life and will, and as long as we respect it, treating and feeding it with the proper care, we can prevent fire from suddenly taking everything we value, including our lives. But if we do not respect it and its responsible care, we need only indulge in one moment of neglect, and all is lost. In the loss of our once reverent coexistence with the non-human, we have also lost much of our ability to empathize and identify with each other.
We must prevent the loss of these crucial perspectives. The surest way to do so, is to dismantle the construct of human superiority, and indeed superiority over other humans. There are no lives which are inherently of more or lesser value. Each of us, and each individual of each other species, even the tiniest protozoa, has the right to life and respect. We must protect ourselves in certain circumstances, yes, but self-defense is a far cry from the wholesale destruction of species’. Because life feeds on life, we must respect life at all costs.
How may we begin to assist in this shift of human consciousness? How can each of us, as mere individuals, help to end the perpetuation of false ideas of mastery and lordship over the whole Earth? We need first confront any illusions of superiority lying inside us, dormant or otherwise. And we must be willing to see and accept the inherent equality of all life.
Know also that this is not the dismantling of pride. Healthy pride is a virtue that all should cultivate within themselves, for one must first know their strengths if they wish to utilize them. Pride is not boastful, which is a common vice among those seeking an elevated place in society. Pride is not loud, nor is it domineering. Pride is the opposite of ostentatiousness, just as quiet humility is the opposite of boastfulness.
One may, and rightly should if circumstance warrants it, visibly champion their right and just causes, and even their personal goals, to those who would listen and contribute. But we must not let our pride be swept away in this fervor, for to do so may invite hubris to poison our minds. Sometimes, the easiest and best way to prevent such an occurrence, is simply to choose to move quietly through the world.
In this context, moving quietly means doing right and doing good in small, unassuming ways along with more overt gestures, but also to do so without any expectation of reward or accolades. When the focus is on the deed and the rightness of it, rather than the audience of the deed, our egos gain the peace of the shadow. That is to say, we learn that by occupying the background, we may observe the foreground, quietly remaining within the scene while holding our place subtly. In this position we become more capable of responding to the actual needs of those or what we champion, instead of the opinions of spectators and future contributors, alike.
Imagine what might be accomplished once the ego has stepped aside, what goals might be met quietly, and without controversy. Imagine how much good can be done when one is focused on the doing, and not the telling. The gratification of revealing our deeds can be a potent lure, but we have to look past those urges to see what is truly best, and what we truly care about.
By moving quietly, we can attain the perspective needed to see our world in all of its terrible beauty. In the quiet, truth is found, and once we have attained even a kernel of that truth, we must continue to cultivate it for our own sake, as well as our causes’. People unknown to us and the world, in circumstances unfathomable, do right every single day, expecting nothing in return. We can join them if we choose. Then we can accomplish our great deeds, and our vast projects, by moving quietly, like shadows revealed in the burning light of truth.
Perhaps and hopefully, in the quest to better ourselves, collectively and individually, we will begin to reopen the lines of empathic communication between ours and other species. Moving quietly also facilitates listening, and that is something that we could certainly do more of when it comes to the animal kingdom, and our species, too.
Hail to the Lord Apollon, who provided the images and emotions channeled through me for translation of this article. May He continue to illuminate our world, while steering us through the chaos which permeates it.
Hail to the Bright One! Hail to our Prince!