Asking WHY May Help Us Survive As A Species

It is my humble conclusion that there are two main issues that are threatening the end of the world. These are: 1. Climate change and 2. The illusion of separation. My studies and life experiences have led me to examine this issue of impending doom and categorize it as one of high priority. It is my hope that all of us pause and consider the following editorial.

The previous century has made many a milestone in the areas of industrialization and allowed for consumerism on a global scale. In the wake of the greatest scientific advancements, “automation” not only transformed industries, but filled our individual lives with modern conveniences. We moved closer to one another to form cities, so we could get jobs in factories, in order to have money to shelter, clothe, and feed ourselves and our families. Some of us sought higher education while others took the route of manual labor, and we divided into blue-collar and white-collar jobs. We developed intricate enterprises for each aspect of our lives in order to increase the productivity of each. We studied and advanced, and got super fancy with medical care, food, entertainment and pretty much every industry we dabbled in.

But even as the era of science had us asking and answering the mental question of “how” things work, we failed to ask a deeper one. Now is the time to address the question sought by the soul, the spirit, the “je ne sais quoi” that we all have inside. The question our higher consciousness ultimately begs to pursue is the “why.”

Why do we do what we do? Why do we live life on “autopilot”? Why do we consume and exploit and discard and pollute? Why are we driven by bigger payouts, versus a more beautiful, healthful, joyous world? Why do we put the needs of the individual ahead of the community and the planet? Why do we focus on differences rather than similarities? Why do we fixate on minute details rather than the big picture? Why are we afraid to uproot a system that doesn’t serve us anymore?

I don’t know the answers to these questions, but I do recognize glaring problems in the industries that I’m most familiar with. It’s evident that the food and medicine trades are closely linked, and even interdependent. While there are many problems these industries face, currently proposed solutions are far from addressing the root causes. Rather than putting bandaids on situations, I urge us to dig deeper so we can prevent problems from arising in the first place!

So why is this analysis important? Think of it like building a house. You need a strong foundation if you don’t want the whole thing to collapse in on itself!  Without a strong foundation and a way to prevent long-term messes and problems, you don’t have a functional house/system at all. Another great analogy that really struck me was in one of Joe Dispenza’s books, Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself. It was about heroically saving drowning people in the local river, without recognizing the reason everyone was falling in in the first place! (I believe it was due to a broken dam in this example.)

No matter how efficiently and progressively we evolve our saving efforts, they will always be inferior to halting the problem at the source. Much like a successful private enterprise, we must look at costs of input versus profit/results. What would bring in 80% of the results with 20% of the investment of our time/money? It would be much more cost and labor effective to concentrate on identification and prevention of root causes,[[ rather than troubleshoot every single problem as a result of a flawed design.

In the case of healthcare, if we focus our efforts on preventing chronic diseases, it will significantly decrease financial burden, as well as morbidity, mortality and intangible costs. Fixing the food industry to make good healthful foods available and accessible to folks, and decreasing processed/packaged/artificial foods will solve a good chunk of the problems in and of itself. If we succeed in preventing chronic illnesses, it will free up our pocketbook and time to focus on preventing and solving acute, rare or genetic health conditions. Our medical facilities, professionals and researchers can direct their efforts to solving acute conditions more quickly and efficiently, as well as developing treatment to resistant cases. In this way we can conserve resources of all kinds, including costs of hospitalization and surgical procedures, as well as pharmaceutical/packaging/packing/transporting materials. If we decrease our biggest burdens, then all parts of the system, society, and ecology benefit.

A word here about insurance policies, specifically health insurance. This is one factor in the payment and reimbursement system that confounds each party involved. Though well-intentioned, insurance policies mitigate pooled risk but don’t serve any one individual in the best possible way. Their formularies are the deciding factor in the course of treatment a doctor and patient may agree on. This is frequently based on deals with providers and big Pharma, in addition to scientific literature. This methodology often misses the big picture and the grand scheme of health. Patients are incentivized to choose treatment plans covered by insurance, even as this burdens the healthcare system financially and leaves definitive carbon footprints. Certain medications, procedures, and even surgeries can potentially be avoided with other less invasive nonpharmaceutical interventions. But when faced with paying out of pocket vs. insurances, patients often [logically] choose the cheapest option. Unfortunately, this usually carries a much heftier net cost when we consider all the factors. There are hidden and intangible costs on the person’s wellbeing, on the provider’s autonomy, and on the planet’s resources.

In addition, with so much scientific literature scrutinizing the placebo effect, why not harness this very effect? The power of manifesting with the mind is such that believing you may get better from taking a pill, increases your likelihood of making it so! This is a constant confounding factor in all our scientific studies today. There is also a body of evidence showing the effectiveness of mindfulness practices such as meditation, breathwork, yoga and tai chi, visualization, positive affirmations and mantras to help support wellbeing. These have all been successfully implemented to improve health outcomes and markers such as blood pressure, migraines, depression and anxiety (to name a few!). Note that these practices are not only free, but accessible to all people. Why are these “hacks” not more mainstream? Because no one stands to profit!

So to get back to my original thesis about climate change and the illusion of separation: if we focus on these two primary problems, we can simultaneously overcome many, many more smaller problems. Think of it like killing two birds with one stone, but in this scenario we will be saving millions of future birds, stones, humans, and money spent… with no killing at all! We don’t have to sacrifice anything to build a beautiful utopia. All we need to do is work together, for all of our sakes, by simply recognizing that we are one living breathing universe, and we must save it/us. In other words, we ARE the Earth, and we need to save ourselves/Earth. United we stand, and divided we fall. If we have one common goal and prioritize it above others, then we stand to continue our propagation of this macrocosm. If we continue to act in pursuit of separate interests, such as money, fame, pleasure, etc. — then we doom us all.

Suppose we all re-evaluate our “why” and agree that we need to get on the same page. Now our scientific brains can have a field day organizing the “how.” Yay! If industry leaders and influencers work together to innovate solutions, they can set guidelines and inspire the rest of us to follow suit. Each industry needs to take stock of their procedures from the top down and tackle the source of problems in production, rather than cleanup. Which policies are causing unnecessary waste? Which are profit-driven versus climate change driven? Can we upgrade to greener materials and methods in each part of the process? Can we troubleshoot and anticipate solutions to problems before they happen?

In addition to addressing root causes, we also need to focus on prevention of future problems. I think the best way to do this is via education, starting from our youngest generations. We need to re-evaluate our education system and transform it into material that every human should be equipped with. We need to not only teach values of sharing, kindness, and peace, but live them alongside the students. We need to be teaching and living energy conservation, nature preservation, zero waste, composting, growing clean food, and prevention of illness via public health measures and self care.

I’m by no means an expert or guru, but I have observed problems and am ready to propose and implement solutions. I’m a concerned human citizen of the world and I hope together we will move into a new era of symbiosis.

Originally published in Jejune Magazine.

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