When we observe natural disasters, we might be able to understand certain geological and ecological factors, but what is behind those factors? In other words, what is behind the world that we perceive around us?
We might say, “the laws of nature,” but that provides no complete answer.
Why, then, do natural disasters happen to begin with, and why are they on the rise in recent times?
Natural disasters result from our imbalance with nature. While the world and our universe abounds in inanimate matter and physical forces, qualitatively speaking, the inanimate level of existence is the lowest qualitative level in nature. The highest qualitative level is that of the human.
Balance or imbalance at the human level determines our balance or imbalance with nature. Therefore, the more our connections become imbalanced—where we relate to each other by increasingly prioritizing self-benefit over benefiting others, i.e. becoming more and more egoistic—the more we experience crises such as natural disasters.
We live in a globally interconnected, interdependent and closed system where we all influence each other. One of our problems is that we fail to feel the vast extent of our interdependence. Therefore, we need to first learn about our interdependence, and from an increasing understanding and feeling of our interdependence, start establishing new conducts among us: laws of cooperation, mutuality and reciprocal concessions on a worldwide scale. Until we wake up to the extent of our interdependence, then we will fail to reach the required balance in our connections that would balance us with nature. We can then expect natural disasters—together with several other crises—to continue increasing until we positively connect.
Hillel the Elder formulated the first step toward observing such laws: “What is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow.” In other words, at the very least, take great care not to harm other people. Observing this condition is an initial step toward enacting the laws of cooperation and mutuality among each other. Therefore, while this condition still does not bring us into balance with each other and nature, it does put an end to our exploitation of each other and nature for evil purposes.
As agreeable as such a condition might sound, it is naive to think that it is possible for us to observe it off the bat. In order to observe such a condition, we need a new kind of education that focuses primarily on bringing us into balance with nature. We need to reach a feeling of our global interdependence, and currently, we are far from that.
The more we go through such education, the more we should reach a sensation of our interdependence—a sensation that should guide our prioritization of altruism and cooperation over egoism and exploitation. We would then be able to renounce myriad forms of exploitation that exist in our world today. That is the first step: the understanding that harming others boomerangs back to us, ultimately harming ourselves. Natural disasters are an example of that kind of indirect harm we bring to each other by failing to enter into balance with nature.
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