Understanding Life means: We Can All Win!

Timothy Wilken, MD writes: We humans are a form of life. This is a fact of reality paramount to understanding ourselves. And, yet this fact is so pervasive and constant that it rarely enters our consciousness. Our clear and distant superiority to all other forms of life have made it easy for us to neglect our biological basis. As we have seen ourselves different and superior to all other forms of life, we have missed the point . While we differ from plants and animals, we share their aliveness – we are still forms of life – we are still living organisms –we are still living systems . When we examine ourselves scientifically, we discover that humans are living systems, and it follows therefore that our powers and our problems will be those of life. If we are to create a safe and comfortable future for ourselves and our children, we must understand our connection to life. Our life connection is not only relevant, it is the crucial factor in determining a safe passage through the current human crisis. … Plant survival does not require any relationship with other. The plants unique ability to utilize sunlight directly to synthesize organic tissue frees them from the need for others. This fact makes plants the independent class of life – independent of other. Animal survival depends entirely on finding others to eat. The herbivores depend on finding plants to eat. The carnivores depend on finding other animals to eat. The animal’s inability to utilize sunlight to synthesize organic tissue means they must eat something. Animals survive by eating either plants or animals. Animals are completely dependent on other for survival. This fact makes animals the dependent class of life – dependent on other. We humans share the animal body, to survive we must also eat. We are omnivores. We meet our basic needs and survive by eating both plants and animals. Physiologically, we humans are also a dependent class of life. But humans need more than basic needs. Sometimes we need other and sometimes other needs us. Some scientists have used the term “the social animal” in reference to these social-psychological needs of humanity. And it is these social-psychological needs that makes humans more than dependent upon each other. This means sometimes I depend on other and sometimes other depends on me. This fact makes us humans the interdependent class of life. (11/05/02)
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