In the beginning, there was only Nature. In the early days of human history, we subsisted as hunter-gatherers at the mercy of Mother Nature. She was both compassionate and abundant as well as cruel and unforgiving. Then came civilisation, when we humans settled into societies and started planning for the future.
For much of our history, we understood abundance in cyclical terms. The spring and summer seasons brought with it a time of plenty, while autumn and winter required careful planning and forethought if we were to survive the difficult months of the year.
The industrial age spearheaded a movement in society where we we sought to standardise both input and output. And it worked, for a while, at least. The ability to give a certain number of hours and be ensured a consistent paycheck is one of the hallmarks and hangovers of the industrial age where factory work allowed us some fleeting control over the maladies of Mother Nature’s unpredictable ways.
The lack of consistent income is often cited as one of the hardest parts of adjusting to entrepreneurship. When you work in a nine-to-five job, you are guaranteed a reliable paycheck like clockwork. You know roughly what that check will be and can plan your life accordingly. You don’t get that as an entrepreneur. Instead of viewing entrepreneurship as a step forward in terms of the career progression, perhaps we should look backwards and try and re-imagine the days of yore as we tap into our now-forgotten instincts.
In our modern society, we live in a constant state of fear, planning for scarcity and job loss; and we often fail to plan for abundance–which also has a way of coming naturally when the season is right without much input from us.
We are so obsessed with controlling our environment that we have forgotten that it is indeed there to support us and provide for us in its own way and in its own time. One of the realities of life is that there are periods when we have to work really really hard and see not much gain; and there are periods when we do not have to do very much at all. Things simply and magically fall into our lap.
We categorise the former as our own genius and the latter as luck–all the while ignoring and diminishing the role that Mother Nature plays in providing for the inhabitants of this crowded and thankless planet.
Mother Nature is known by many names across the globe: from Gaia, to Kali, to Tōnacācihuātl. Ancient Wisdom accepted, acknowledged and honoured the undeniable truth of Nature. There are times of naught and there are times of plenty. We need to be prepared for both.
One persistent thought that has crossed my mind over and over during this COVID-19 period is that we’re simply not prepared or even accepting of the idea that crisis is an episodic norm. We have grown so cushioned and so comfortable by the idea of a steady paycheck with money leftover to pursue our passions (once simply called hobbies) that we are not able to cope with very basic realities of human existence.
Who can control Nature?
We can’t. She is a fighter and she will fight back.
We bemoan the unfairness of it all, but it is she who gives and she who claims.
For me, the bottomline is that we should be grateful and humble in times of plenty and conscientious in times of lack.
That we choose to go against Nature has been our own folly. That we think we are here to ‘save’ the planet that gave us life and nurtured us is not a simple oversight, but a grave error in our judgment and self-perception.
We have grown so accustomed to unsustainable business practises that we think that simply having sustainability as a goal and as a part of our marketing strategy is an achievement in itself.
In my mind, it is all very simple. Take care of the woman who takes care of you. She can take care of herself and doesn’t need you. Planet Earth does not need us. She was fine before humans entered the scene, and she will be fine when we’re no longer here.
Let us live and let live… and let us do it responsibly.