I was bored so I started thinking about how the environmental crisis would never be solved by mere practice alone because it needed to be accompanied by a revolution in consciousness but I wasn’t sure if the revolution in consciousness would alter behavior or if changing behavior first would usher in the revolution in consciousness. Then Lucy started guzzling a glass of water. Lucy performs everyday acts with an intensity that tends to attract my attention. She just tipped her head back and gulp gulp gulp gulp gulp gulp. She’s got guzzling in her genes. Then she went and did that magic little kid thing where they perform a sweetly simplistic act all shot through with profundity and ancient wisdom.
She pulled the tiny purple cup from her lips and made that exaggerated “Ahhhh” refreshed noise. She held it 12 inches away from her face and admired it with sparkling eyes and a delighted smile. She made me smile. I think the cup smiled too. See. Lucy’s smile was not limited by the bounds of her face. Rather, she created an atmosphere that smiled. Everything in her orbit smiled in the smiling. She set the cup on the kitchen table, leaned into it, and said earnestly:
“Thank You, Cup.”
The animistic world, wherein all objects have souls or are part of one big world soul, has long been replaced by a world full of stupid dead objects. We live in this world of unlively things as a result of the scientific vision of the world somehow achieving the status of “reality”. Instead of a vision among visions, the scientific view elbowed its way into being the way things really are. But there’s a price to pay for being so damn right.
We could stand to learn a few things from pagans and children—simple things like the relation to the world that results from a stance of pure gratitude. The cup is that which contains the source of our thirst’s quenching. And for this Lucy was grateful and found the cup worthy of speech and good manners. Soon, for Lucy, the cup will be stripped of its personified traits and be replaced by a hunk of dead plastic. We’ll call that growing up. Development. She’ll have achieved a more complex level of maturity and she’ll score higher in terms of reality testing.
But imagine what kind of world we’d live in if we were all so grateful for cups. What if we all thanked the chair for so dutifully embracing us after a long day on our feet? The kitchen table deserves your praise! It is not only that which holds your dinner aloft. But it is also binds your family around it. What would happen to these various environmental crises if our notion of what is to be respected extended past a small handful of people? How would the world look? How would we act? Perhaps sorting and taking out the recycling wouldn’t be such a chore or a hassle. It might suddenly be the least we could do. To excitedly walk these things out to the curb toward the next chapter of their service. Thank you.