Prince Charles has recently released the Terra Carta (The Earth Charter), which calls upon private business to fund a £7billion recovery program for the planet. It aims to widen the contribution being made into sustainability by getting big businesses to invest in Earth’s health. The Earth Charter’s intention is admirable, and any moves to repair and care for our home, the Earth, are to be applauded. However, I call The Earth Charter ignorant for one simple reason – it shows no regard for the natural laws upon which our existence is founded.
Prince Charles, using the term Terra Carta is drawing upon the significance of the Magna Carta, also known as The Great Charter. This document signed by King John in 1215 is lauded as one of the monarchies great successes. It proclaims that everyone (even the kings themselves) was subject to the laws of the land. What its more recent relative fails to consider, however, is how everyone, including the monarchy itself, is subject to the laws of nature.
There are three laws specifically applicable to our planetary crisis that the Earth Charter ignores:
- The Law of Correspondence – As above, so below; as below, so above. As within, so without; as without, so within.
- The Law of Cause and Effect – Every cause has its effect; Every effect has its cause.
- The Law of Polarity. Everything is dual; Everything has poles; Everything has its pair of opposites.
The Law Of Correspondence
Late last year, the UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, called upon humans to make peace with nature.. There was no missing the analogy he was using – that humans are at war with the Earth, and as a result of our willful and violent actions towards is, nature is reacting, with “growing force and fury”.
The Law of Correspondence tells us that whatever is happening outside of us, is also happening within us. It calls on us to remember that the outer world is merely a reflection of what is happening in our internal worlds. So, suppose our relationship with the planet is one of conflict and destruction. It suggests then, that also within the human race, an internal war is raging and that there are many casualties. But what is the conflict occurring within us? And what is being harmed along the way?
Dr James Hollis puts it perfectly when he states that we have
“sacrificed meaning for power.”~ Dr James Hollis
When was the last time you contemplated why you are here? When was the last time you thought about the purpose of your life? When was the last time you stopped to listen to your spirit and checked in on the relationship you have with your values and calling? When was the last time you remember feeling a sense of faith and peace in something larger than yourself?
For our modern-day ‘civilised’ citizens, the relationship we have with ourselves and our sense of purpose is snubbed in favour of the bright and shiny distractions of the outer world. The questions it raises are all too hard, and why should we bother – science has figured most things out for us anyway. It is easier to do stuff, buy stuff, and watch stuff; then it is to listen to our hearts’ discontent. We have prioritised our tangible, external world and the sense of achievement, action and entertainment it offers, over the intangible treasures of belonging, connection and sense of meaning.
“Humans are nourished by the invisible. We are nourished by that which is beyond the personal. We die by preferring its opposite.” ~ Lucien Jacque (French poet)
The problem is though, just because we ignore the conflict within us, it does not mean this call for something greater goes away. Denial and suppression are never good strategies, and inevitably build up greater pressure and larger consequences. The growing force and fury we see from the planet is a sure indicator of the growing intensity and anger festering within ourselves. It is a sign that we are ignoring a key part of our human nature – spirituality. To find evidence of this internal conflict, you only have to look at some of the key wellbeing statistics. The extent of harm occurring across the human race is alarming and distressing:
- Depression. The World Health Organization reports that Australia has the second-highest prevalence of depressive disorders globally (with prevalence rates of 5.9 per cent). Also, antidepressant drug consumption rose by 8.6% per year between 2000-2015.
- Loneliness. The Australian Psychological Society (2018) reports that over half (51%) of Australians report they feel lonely for at least one day each week and 25% of Australians report they are currently experiencing an episode of loneliness.
- Psychological Distress. In 2017–18, an estimated 13% or 2.4 million Australians aged 18 and over reported high or very high levels of psychological distress. This is an increase of 12% from 2014–15 (11.7% or 2.1 million Australians).
- Addiction. Around one in 20 Australians has an addiction or substance use problem. One in six Australians (17%) consume alcohol at levels that put them at risk of an alcohol-related disease or injury. Nearly 6,000 people die from alcohol-related diseases every year in Australia. That is one person every 90 minutes. And between 2007 to 2016 the rate of opioid deaths increased by 62%, from 2.9 to 4.7 deaths per 100,000 population.
- Suicide. Suicide is the leading cause of death in Australia for people aged 15-44. More than 65,000 people attempt suicide every year, and in 2017 over 3,000 Australians died from suicide. That is eight people every day!
You can find more on these indicators at my article: The Economic Policy Is Killing Us.
To make peace with nature, then we need to make peace with ourselves. We need to acknowledge and care for that ‘invisible’ part of ourselves, our purpose and our meaning. It means becoming brave enough to ask the questions that may never be answered but call us to explore and express them in our lives.
The Law Of Cause and Effect
We are all aware of the negative effects of human activity on the Earth’s climate, flora and fauna. But what is the cause of this devastation? Inspired by the amazing work of Warren Berger, I am compelled to ask one simple question – why?
Why is our planet in crisis?
Because humans have destroyed the natural balance
Why have humans destroyed the natural balance?
Because they were selfish and short-sighted
Why are they selfish and short-sighted?
Because they are only seeking some immediate pleasure
Why are they seeking pleasure?
Because they have lost touch with their spirit – the source of comfort within
Why have they lost touch with their spirit?
The call to conformity is too strong.
Now, that is only my simple view of the vast and complex causes for our Earth crisis. But it would be a wonderful exercise if you were to play this out for yourself and see what you believe to be the cause of our current planetary predicament.
Before the industrial revolution, the major dilemma was how to produce enough goods to supply the market with life-improving products. Now we have developed all manner of technologies that makes production a no-brainer. So, businesses are facing a different dilemma: how do we sell all that we can make? Commercialism and The Economy have become the gods we now worship, and we hand over our individual lives to them to be one of the crowd. The marketers target our basic emotions such as pride, fear, anger, shame, and guilt to get us to buy more stuff and fit in. Uplifting pursuits such as living your best and most authentic life succumb to the fear of missing out. Self-worth is defined by the number of followers you have and your level of ‘influence’ over others’ purchasing decisions. The politicians focus our attention on jobs and economic growth as the key indicators of success. We have become pack animals, herded into suburbs and hypnotised by modern comforts and external trinkets.
“The opposite of courage in our society is not cowardice – it is conformity.” ~ Rollo May
Using the Law of Cause and Effect, let’s see what might happen if people were encouraged to nourish their spirits, to find their individual place in this world, and a sense of meaning beyond their suburbs or employment status:
Cause: People are nourished by their spirits and driven by their own sense of meaning
Effect: There would be fewer psychological and emotional gaps to fill with material objects
Effect: people would buy less of the modern comforts and modern trinkets
Effect: companies would produce less
Effect: there would be less pillaging of natural resources and pollution
Effect: the Earth may begin to heal and restore balance
This law shows us that if the effect we are seeking is to heal and restore balance in our planet, then we first need to heal and nourish the relationship we have with our spirituality, whatever that may look like.
The Law Of Polarity
The Earth is out of balance, and as I have suggested above, so is the human race. The Law of Polarity tells us that when we choose one action, we are at the same time, not choosing its opposite. The extent to which we keep the poles in balance is the key to wellbeing.
However, the human race is consistently undertaking actions at one end of the spectrum and creating an imbalance in our lives and our home, the Earth. Let me provide some examples:
|The priority is given to:||Over|
|Control of our external world be it through force or intellect.||Submission to the calling within us – our spirit|
|Satisfaction of our individual needs||Contribution to something bigger than us – the community of Mother Earth|
|Manufacture of tangible commodities and the pursuit of ‘evidence.’||Existing comfortably within the invisible and mysterious|
|Seeking acceptance and approval from others (for example, through social media)||Building the skill of self-compassion and the relationship with the self|
|The masculine qualities of progress, assertion and power based on force||The feminine qualities of nurturing, stability and power based on love|
These opposites are neither good nor bad. They are just opposites. When you become aware of how the choices you are making sit on the spectrum, you can also understand the likely consequences. If you choose to take actions solely at one pole, then you lose the blessings that are inherent in its opposite. We like to think as humans we are pretty darn smart – that we have it all figured out. But the state of our planet says otherwise. We need to grow up and out of our narcissism and become truly conscious of the choices we are making. As Jung says, only then can we look to forge a new path:
“Becoming conscious reconciles the opposites and thus creates a higher third”. ~ Carl Jung.
The Terra Carta – A Band-Aid Over A Festering Wound
I do truly thank Prince Charles for the Band-Aid and hope that it may prevent further injury. But like any dressing, its effect is only superficial. To cure the infection, we need to get below the surface and find the real cause. We need to treat the source and not just the symptom of the wound. As I have argued in this article, this means to heal the Earth; we must also heal ourselves. We have been so busy seeking domination of, and gratification from the external world that we have lost the most treasured relationship – that with our spirit and purpose. Only when we begin to care for the life within each of us deeply, will we reconnect with the power we have to bring real change to our environment.
Sure, we can always have a Plan B – run away to the Moon or Mars. But we forget that we will still take the same problems with us. If not resolved here and now, they will haunt us and continue to manifest in the destruction of wherever we are living. As Dr James Hollis so very wisely declares:
“What I am unwilling to face in myself will always be carried by someone else.” ~ Dr James Hollis
In this case, if we do not have the courage to face ourselves and the natural laws of Correspondence, Cause and Effect, and Polarity, it will be our children and grandchildren who will have to do this work for us. For our children, whom we profess to love and treasure, this is an incredibly cruel and unusual punishment.
 Living Between Worlds. Dr James Hollis. 2020. Sounds True, Inc.
 Living Between Worlds. Dr James Hollis. 2020. Sounds True, Inc.