Thursday, 12 December 2013

Re-formulating the Notion of Survival

Survival is not about the duty to stay alive. We make ourselves smaller than we are because we think we have an obligation to stay alive in a system that was invented to imprison us. Because our parents worked by the sweat of their brow to provide for us, we think we have the duty to do the same. That is what grown up responsibility is all about – forgetting the playfulness of being a child in favour of being burdened down by financial responsibilities. If you survive in the system then you get a medal for being one of the strong. You might even be rewarded with the label of success. We slave our lives away in order to make it to “the” top. But the top as we know it was invented fairly recently. It is dull, unimaginative and does not do justice to the miracle of creation.

Similarly, we justify our society in terms of the “survival of the fittest” discourse. We think it’s natural and a basic requirement for evolution. Yet I wonder to what extent the observer effect is in play here. Looking at nature, do we choose to see that all species struggle to survive, that survival is the right of the strong? Do we miss the cooperation in nature because we see only that which reflects our own mindset? Do we fail to see the cycles in all things, the wonder according to which all things cooperate as a whole? I cannot speak on behalf of the animals. But I imagine that when they fight for survival they are motivated by life itself, the instinct to cling onto the thread of one’s existence for the sake of love. How much of the behaviour of other life forms can be attributed to a struggle for survival rather than the species just being itself?

We only need to look around at the beauty on earth and in the sky to understand that we are capable of more than the dullness of reality as we have created it. Perhaps it is insane to suppress our need for soul, imagination and miracles. Can we look up at the sky and trust the Life Force that brought the universe into existence? No human hand can replicate such wonder if we deny our connection to all that exists. Seeing the beauty in creation, I’m wondering if we can look at ourselves with different eyes. The miracle of the stars is in us and we need to honour it. Our duty is not to continue the legacy of the system that keeps us smaller than what we are. Our existential responsibility is to be true to the Life Force that brought us here. May we live in such a way that we reflect the magnificence that is apparent in everything else that came here of its own accord.

Once we understand that survival is an instinct based on love, we can do away with the idea of success as a denial of our true selves. If we formulate success as that which indicates that we are better than others, we are simply suppressing a part of ourselves. True success is about allowing the Universe to express itself through us.