Some millions of years ago there were plants on the earth and animals resembling nothing like a human being. Nature had made the rule early on that life would occur in a constant cycle with death. That which died would nurture the soil and that which pooped, the animals, would nurture the plants and the plants would in turn feed the animals, either directly or with an intermediary animal who became the victim of an animal preferring flesh to foliage.

Wheel of Life – Image courtesy of Birmingham Museum of Art

Somewhere along the way this cycle of birth-to-death-to-earth-to birth became known as the Wheel of Life, even though there is considerable dying in it, too.

When people came along they were generally ignorant klutzes but they did manage to figure out how to make babies and that the earth was their source of food. Although we don’t know for sure, it would be a good guess to say that these faltering and fumbling human beings lived in awe and fear of Nature.

Another good guess would be that Nature was quite pleased with this arrangement. Nature occasionally sent terrible storms and other disasters to keep the people on their toes as far as worshiping her majesty.

I’d like to suggest that the awareness that plants grow better in animal poop than in sand must have been a breakthrough equal to, if not greater than, the discovery of fire. Of course humans still had to figure out how to plant seeds and water them but without poop the gardens of our ancestors would have been disasters indeed.

As people learned from the big book of Nature they got a grip on the techniques that the natural environment uses to keep everything going. They got a grip on sustainability because if not they likely would have become vulture stew.

For thousands and thousands of years people practiced living in harmony with nature, empiricists with hardly a theory floating around among them.

As they got smarter and arrogant and generally more obnoxious, humans came up with new ideas and theories, some good, some bad. Some people came to believe in specialization which gave birth to the Expert, which might be thought of as a whole new brand of ignorance. The ones who grasped Nature’s holistic approach began losing ground to the Experts who came to believe that it is better that the left hand not know what the right hand is doing. It got to the point where not even the fingers or toes knew what the others were doing. With this kind of thinking, the poop was about to hit the fan . . .

View Part II