A virus. A cancer. Natural patterns of life.
“I would like to share a revelation that I’ve had during my time here.
It came to me when I tried to classify your species and then I realized that you’re not actually mammals.
Every mammal on this planet instinctively develops a mutual equilibrium with its surrounding environment.
But you humans do not.
You move to an area and you multiply and multiply until every natural resource is consumed and the only way that you can survive is to spread to another area.
There is another organism on this planet that follows this same pattern. You know what it is?
Human beings are a disease, a cancer of this planet.
You are a plague and we are the cure.”
Agent Smith talking to Morpheus in the movie “The Matrix.”
I loved this monologue from “The Matrix” when I first heard it, mostly because it echoed thoughts I had already had. There was a period during my most intense spiritual practice when my thoughts were centered on humans and their relationship to this planet. I don’t think I am the only one to wonder whether the presence of human beings on this planet is actually favorable or not to the planet as a whole. I seriously wondered about this during this one period of meditation. And these types of thoughts, whether true or not, were very useful to me as a person trying to get free of fear and focus more on love. These thoughts were able to uncover and eradicate a lot of fear that I was holding.
When I brought together some of my fears of natural disasters, for instance, with my ideas about humanity as a virus or a cancer of the earth my own personal survival impulse and even the collective species survival impulse that is built into my consciousness was weakened. In other words, when I put together my own instinctive desire to survive and also the instinctive valuation of the survival of the human race with a realistic evaluation that the effect of humanity is currently having upon the fragile ecosphere of the earth (and my own cooperative role therein) I no longer was so keen on human survival (or my own, as a matter of fact). Looking closely in this way I was able to let go of some deeply ingrained fear of “apocalypse” type events that are all dependent on me valuing the long term survival of my own body or the human species as a whole. When I considered the idea that I am (along with all my other fellow humans) nothing more than a type of disease to the planet earth, I was able to let go of my fears of natural calamities and other apocalyptic type “disasters.” Why emotionally oppose something that might be entirely necessary if our planet is to go on supporting beautiful forms of life indefinitely?
Since that time I have changed my point of view somewhat, however. The problem of greed is not just with humans but with all forms of life. Originally I agreed with Agent Smith in his monologue against the human race taken from “The Matrix.” Now, however, I see some important flaws in his argument. The main one is that the human race is really not all that different from other forms of life on this planet but their current predicament is. What I mean to say is that humans may be similar to virus’s or cancers in that they “move to an area and multiply and multiply until every natural resource is consumed and the only way that they can survive is to spread to another area” but so is every other form of life that has been given the power to do so. All of life would act in this same manner unless intentionally restrained in some way.
A species may be restrained by another predator species, or restrained by its own limitations in its abilities to gather food or have babies, etc. It is only restraint that prevents any and all species from acting in the way that humans are currently acting. In the past the “balance” of life upon the earth described the natural system of restraint that kept any one species from over-dominating for too long. In the history of the earth it is quite possible that the dinosaurs reached such a state of over-domination before they experienced a calamity that restored some balance.
In the history of humanity it has been the self-restraint that was built into most cultures that prevented over-domination. That cultural restraint centered on respecting other forms of life. That cultural self-restraint has been eroding for thousands of years while at the same time, other natural restraints (such as limited food gathering abilities) have been dropping away leaving humans to over-dominate and unintentionally destroy larger and larger sectors of the earth’s surface. It is perhaps a natural process that low-intelligence species are always susceptible to. Without enough intelligence any species would be caught realizing the mistake only after it was too late. How many cycles like this has the earth already seen? How many periods of over-domination ending in a complete collapse has the earth already gone through?
The truth is, Agent Smith’s “machines” would probably over-dominate the earth in the same way that humans have (and are actually seeking the very thing within the movie) if they are not “self-restrained” by a central leadership or intelligence. Without that central intelligence, creating some form of restraint, any and every form of life vies for that position of over-domination despite it being detrimental in so many ways.
Why do we over-dominate? To live longer, to live without fear? Neither of those things have come with the almost absolute domination that humans have reached on this earth today. What is the point of wishing for it to go on? And if you cease wishing for the irrational and unhealthy perpetuation of the human species on this earth would you not also cease wishing for your own individual survival at any cost?