Everything Is Connected: Essays:
We Do Reap What We Sow
by Robin Lillian
This biblical quotation is just one way of expressing a fundamental truth about the
universe. It is true because everything is connected. Tomatoes come from tomato seeds and not
from weed seeds. There are no exceptions.
For example, our bodies are constantly interacting with the 'outside'. The exchange of air, food, and water keeps us alive. You drink water from the tap, and it becomes part of your living body. Then it exits through your bladder or sweat glands back to the ocean to evaporate
and rain on the reservoir again. The air of the room becomes part of you as you breathe in
oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide. Nothing disappears. There is no magic act. Everything has
to come from some place and go somewhere. Thus, when you pollute the air and water or spray
pesticides on crops, it comes back to you.
This also applies to morality. Moral behavior and enlightened self interest are ultimately inseparable. Commit a crime, and even if you don't get caught, you will suffer the consequences. You may spend the rest of your life looking over your shoulder. Or you could self destruct the way Enron did. Enron's executives were willing to do anything to make a profit. Yet, instead of prospering, Enron ended up bankrupt.
Unfortunately, consequences are not always easy to see. This is especially true when we are not looking for them, and/or if they take a long time to become noticeable. It's like stretching a rubber band. As you stretch the rubber band further and further, the tension increases, but nothing seems to happen, so you think that nothing ever will. Then, suddenly, the rubber reaches
its limit. It burns your fingers when it breaks and snaps back. The farmer who sprays pesticides
on his crops gets the strongest dose, but never connects the two when he lies dying of cancer
twenty years later.
The myth that we can evade the consequences of our actions pervades the modern world. Yet, if we were to take a good look around, we would see that this shortsightedness is our most
serious problem. The latest research into ecology, physics, etc. is proving time and time again
that we live in an interconnected world. If we do not act in accordance with this fact of life, we
will destroy ourselves. We must relearn what many ancient people already knew. We do reap what we
sow, and if we do not change our ways, we will reap the whirlwind.
Prayer for Peace
Jewish Feminism and the Environment
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