The human need for interaction is one of the most misunderstood and fundamental core features of human psychology and sociology.
A major mistake is the assumption that humans should only interact with humans. Or that we only need a keyboard to connect to the whole planet. In fact a healthy and complete human being has connections not just to family or friends, but the whole earth, wilderness, and all organisms and systems. Our need for connection is what drives us to explore, not just within our computer screen, but throughout the entire cosmos. People understanding that fundamental appreciation of all life on earth is what makes all interaction connective and complete.
Social human interaction is driven by our hard wiring that tells us “friend or foe”. But a higher brain functioning also allows us to find support and connection with others if we so choose. It is also abstract language skills that threaten to sever ties. Prejudice and wars are made by convincing people that the “others”, be they people, animals, or nature herself, is to be feared and hated.
Finding others out there in the cosmos would be a great advancement for earth because human beings seek belonging. The late great Carl Sagan knew this, and it is the premise for his science fiction novel, Contact. Human beings evolved in complete inter-dependence with other organisms, and need belonging to thrive. However, doubt, fear and even faith, can obscure our goals. Other organisms and systems allow all life and bio-diversity to flourish, tolerance of others is key to human interaction being useful to humans.
Knowing the fragility and yet resilience of life is life affirming to homo sapiens. Here is why: It is obvious that human beings need nature, food, water, soil, and air quality to be sustainable. Yet, psychologically, there are those who do not recognize our very deep emotional, mental, and spiritual connection to planet earth. Seeing it from other perspectives, be they other cultures or wildlife teaches us survival.
Our best and better adapted selves stopped having local tribes, created agriculture, and moved indoors. This changed all human interaction. And spirituality changed from earth centric to language centric, and into dogma. All improvements and developments were described in ways that elevated humanity over earth. World conquest and domination seemed like a good idea at the time. Man could then define himself as the brightest one, with the most innovation, mechanical aptitude, language and sacred divinity. The problem of course, is that man denied He needs nature, other people, cooperation and respect between all.
We lost our “honored” place as the center of the Universe a long time ago. Then Darwin also showed that we are just as others on our planet, animals that live, suffer, laugh and die. Yet, our connection Psychology was further obscured by a very dualistic perspective of earth that called for religions and the powerful, to cast human beings as masters, or conquerors of the planet, rather than kin to our world. Unless human nature changes drastically, humans will fear or dread others. Racism, sexism, war and pollution will continue until healing of our kin and understanding of all interactions becomes understood.
Respecting life, all life, and sustaining it seeks to reverse the mindset that we are here to take all we can, as quickly as we can, before the “enemy” forces take it first. It identifies our focus on conflict and differences as damaging. It allows that people see they need one another, and that all of nature includes supporting organisms, as well as shared human values for one another.
Hopefully then our need to belong, and the natural laws of attraction that draw us to breathe the air made by the forests, will begin to heal all interactions of humans and others on earth. It is time to celebrate that all belong.