These vast star systems are called “Local Groups,” and all the galaxies they hold, like cells, are in mutual attraction and interaction with each other.
On a lesser scale our solar system, the home of our Earth the other planets, calls the Milky Way Galaxy its home.
Correspondingly, just as the Earth is home to us humans, so our human bodies are habitats and landscapes to billions of microbes — all interconnected with a common mission in the vastness of inner space.
View from Outer Space
At the request of Carl Sagan, NASA commanded the Voyager 1 spacecraft — having completed its primary mission and now leaving the solar system — to turn its camera around and take a photograph of Earth from outer space.
The Pale Blue Dot is a photograph of planet Earth taken in 1990 by Voyager 1, from a record distance (3.8 billion miles), showing it against the vastness of space.
The photo was subsequently used by Sagan as the title of his 1994 book of the same name. In 2001, it was selected by Space.com as one of the top ten space science photos.
In a commencement address delivered May 11, 1996, Sagan related his thoughts on the deeper meaning of the photograph:
The Pale Blue Dot
“From this distant vantage point, the Earth might not seem of particular interest,” Carl Sagan wrote. “But for us, it’s different. Consider again that dot.”
“That’s here, that’s home, that’s us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives…”
“Help Nature and work on with her — and Nature will regard thee as one of her creators and make obeisance.”
In 1970 smog choked major U.S. cities and toxic waste flooded rivers. That same year nearly 20 million Americans participated in events on April 22, spearheaded by Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson, to draw attention to the environmental issues plaguing the planet and human health.
Named “Earth Day,” April 22 has remained a time to celebrate restoration and stand up for the planet.
“For several years, it had been troubling me that the state of our environment was simply a non-issue in the politics of the country.”
Gaylord Nelson spoke on Earth Day eve—April 21, 1970—at the Cooley Auditorium of Milwaukee Technical College.
Gaylord Nelson on Earth Day
He was coming to the end of a two-week speaking tour and had spoken earlier that day at a United Auto Workers’ convention in Atlantic City, the floor of the Massachusetts Legislature, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The press described the event as a packed house.
“. . . on April 22, 1970, Earth Day was held, one of the most
remarkable happenings in the history of democracy. . . “
In this clip from early in the speech, Nelson articulates “a broad, inclusive vision of ecology and new environmentalism that supports the well being of all people and creatures, regardless of location or ability to pay for a quality environment.”
Man and Planet: A Common Destiny
“How could man epitomize Cosmos if he did not touch it at every point and involve it in every principle?” asks W. Q. Judge in The Synthesis of Occult Science:
“If man’s being is woven in the web of destiny, his potencies and possibilities take hold of divinity as the woof and pattern of his boundless life. Why, then, should he grow weary or disheartened?”
The Greatest Problem of Philosophy
“. . . is the physical and substantial nature of life, the independent nature of which is denied by modern science because that science is unable to comprehend it.
“The reincarnationists and believers in Karma alone dimly perceive that the whole secret of Life is in the unbroken series of its manifestations: whether in, or apart from, the physical body. Because if –
“Life, like a dome of many-coloured glass,
Stains the white radiance of Eternity”
” – yet it is, itself, part and parcel of that Eternity — for life alone can understand life.”
–H. P. Blavatsky (SD 1:238)
On April 22, 1970, the first Earth Day, a college student sniffs a magnolia blossom through a gas mask in New York City. Such street theater–along with teach-ins, rallies, and other events promoting environmental awareness — drew an estimated 20 million people.
The Birth of Ecology
The first American ecology book was published in 1905 by Frederic Clements. In his book, Clements forwarded the idea of plant communities as a “superorganism.”
This publication launched a debate between ecological holism and individualism that lasted until the 1970s.
Neal Goldsmith: Toward 2012
Fusion of Spirit and Science
Concern in the sixties about chemical pesticides, the ecological movement was born with Rachel Carson’s SilentSpring.
“In Silent Spring (1962) she challenged the practices of agricultural scientists and the government, and called for a change in the way humankind viewed the natural world,” writes Carson biographer Linda Lear, author of Rachel Carson: Witness for Nature (1997).
Rachel Carson had to weather a storm of controversy and abuse, and she did not live to see the eventual banning of DDT. But the environmentalist movement carries on the work she began, preserving our natural heritage for the future.
The Universe as a Living System
“Carson was attacked by the chemical industry and some in government as an alarmist,” Lear writes, “but courageously spoke out to remind us that we are a vulnerable part of the natural world subject to the same damage as the rest of the ecosystem.”
There was a great deal of concern over nuclear weapons and nuclear power in sixties and seventies, then there was acid rain in the eighties, ozone depletion and deforestation in the nineties, and now climate change, global warming, and species extinction are the biggest concern for many.
Duane Elgin, media activist and pioneer of the “Voluntary Simplicity” movement, describes the perception that the universe is dead as the root cause of the exploitative mindset.
Duane asks, “how can we shift cultural perception in order to see the universe as a living system?”
Almost every human system in the world is arranged hierarchically. Nature too is built up in hierarchies, and hierarchies are so infused into daily life that they are seldom noticed.
But this seeming simple truth of unity within diversity, hides a deeper spiritual meaning which should have great significance for anyone interested in true healing.
Blavatsky attempting to explain describes the lotus plant which has, she writes, “a miniature embryo in its seed (a physical characteristic), but its prototype is present in an ideal form in the Astral Light from ‘Dawn’ to ‘Night’ … like everything else, as a matter of fact, in this objective Universe —
“… from man down to mite, from giant trees down to the tiniest blades of grass.”
James O’Dea: Toward 2012
The Frontiers of Consciousness
Why is this important? For two main reasons: first, it shows the interconnectedness of everything, and second, it shows the universe and everything in it to be intelligent, and planned.
Esoteric science teaches that man and nature are creations “of the eternal ideal prototype in Divine Thought.”
“As a species, for the last 35,000 years, we’ve been pulling back from nature,” says Elgin. “We’ve been differentiating ourselves. We’ve been cultivating our capacity to stand apart from nature, to know or empower our uniqueness…
“But now our power is so great that we are really on the verge of undermining the ecological foundation for the foreseeable future.”
Three Areas of Oneness
In The Secret Doctrine, H. P. Blavatsky outlines the occult teaching concerning three unique lines of evolution:
“There exists in Nature a triple evolutionary scheme, Blavatsky explains, “which in our system are inextricably interwoven and interblended at every point.”
“These are the Monadic (or spiritual), the intellectual, and the physical evolutions.”
“Each spiral path goes into it’s center, then out again to lead into the next spiral, ending up between all three spirals,” writes Sheree Friedman.
“It’s symbolic, to me, of always returning to my/oneness core, soul, truth within the universes.”
Similarly, Duane Elgin explains three levels of oneness, along with the response evoked by each level.
“The human species’ journey of individuation from the earth has reached its extreme, leaving the planet precariously dependent upon our response to oneness.”
“The world is moving into a new era where the human community must work together if we are to realize a future of sustainable prosperity. This transition represents both a great challenge and an extraordinary opportunity.
“We are being called to make a shift toward green lifestyles, supported by a mature democracy, and guided by the collective wisdom of science and spirituality.”
Save the Earth, Climb a Tree
Forest activist Julia Butterfly Hill spent two years living 180 feet high in the canopy of a thousand-year-old redwood tree to help make the world aware of the plight of the redwood forest.
This redwood tree, she named Luna, became internationally famous as the story of her tree sit was published and followed by the media.
Because of her and other organizations’ assistance, the tree, and a buffer around it, was set aside and is today maintained by Sanctuary Forest, a non-profit land trust located on headwaters of the Mattole River on California’s northern coast.
Julia’s inspiring words on working for good,
instead of “fighting against.”
Julia Butterfly Hill is known for climbing a 1,000 year-old redwood tree in 1997 when she was 23 years old, and remaining there without touching the ground for two years, as part of a successful effort to call worldwide attention to the destruction of California’s ancient redwoods.
In November 2000 someone cut through Luna’s trunk with a chainsaw.
Luna is now being protected by a non-profit land trust: Sanctuary Forest.
For more about Julia and Luna see the related post:
H. P. Blavatsky’s closing words in The Key to Theosophy:
“Earth will be a heaven in the twenty-first century in comparison with what it is now!”