Reinventing the Human Essay

Submitted By rileycox12
Words: 1663
Pages: 7

A problem has evolved over our species existence with the way we are living. We know that as North Americans, we consume a huge percentage of the world’s energy and resources and that it has become unsustainable, most people have been aware of that for quite a while now. When scientists and people started talking about the environment and its wellbeing approximately forty years ago, this was new, controversial information, and so there was an urgent sense of having to prove its truth. We don’t need to do that anymore, for it’s been proven. We also know from studies and general knowledge that we humans are responsible for the warming of the earth. Ultimately, we are causing global warming and also know it’s not okay and that we have to do something about it. Solving the problem, as expressed by Berry in his short chapter, Reinventing the Human, isn’t about how much better off our earth would be if we bought our food from local markets, wore 100% organic cotton clothing, turned our thermostats down in the winter or took public transit like most people suggest, but something much deeper.
Berry suggests an idea or type of mindset in his writing where we as humans are trapped in a cycle where we can’t seem to do what we know we need to do. It is hard to imagine that we can’t, even when we seemingly have all the scientific knowledge, technology and money to try and figure it out. Even in this recession, the financial resources seem to be there. We as a species have the ability to dig ourselves and this earth out of the mess we have created, and we’re not doing it. So obviously having the resources, technology and money, isn’t enough. The question that forms in my mind is what do we not have that we need to get us to a better place as humans and a species? Through deeper reflection of the author’s piece, Thomas Berry believes that the reason we aren’t making progress is because we are fundamentally missing part of the “equation,” so to speak. He hints that we have got the technological and scientific processes figured out, but what we’re missing, collectively, is the cultural and religious piece. Berry suggests that “we are meaning-making creatures”, and thus facts don’t mean anything to us until there is meaning behind them. And so he expresses that it means nothing to us that hundreds of species go extinct every year, and that our world is warming and that the oceans are rising and obviously those are problems that should be addressed. Until there is a cultural and religious meaning that makes it real for us, the majority of the human race, especially in North America, will continue along this path it’s been on. As expressed, Thomas Berry continues to reiterate how our environmental crisis started with our cultural and spiritual presence falling apart, and none of our knowledge is going to change anything until we are living and breathing the deeper reality that exists beneath the knowledge. Simply put, our heads know what the problem is, but our hearts and how we feel about it aren’t at the same place. Through personal analysis, Thomas Berry seems to believe that the nature of modern humanity is one in which we are taught two overarching things: one, being that we are taught that we are not part of the earth in which we live, and two, that we are superior to anything that is non-human including plants, animals, and even the weather. As detailed by a critic, “Thomas Berry breaks new ground in The Great Work, with a reassessment of "wild" as it applies to both humans and nature. He challenges traditional western dualisms, showing how creative or chaotic energy is in continuous relationship with the stabilizing force of discipline or form. In his view of modern globalization, all conflicts reduce to the central tension between environmentalist and developer, a clash of worldviews and resource uses. Berry urges a serious rethinking of what it means to be human in order to break the deep entrancement with industrial civilization”