The Need for Necessity

The people of the Arctic learn to make cozy and perfectly waterproof boots out of sealskin because they NEED them. The people of the Amazon learn to make medicines out of the plants to cure disease and clear away parasites because they NEED to. And people all over the world have learned to gather in tribes and villages to share the workload of survival and form lasting loving bonds because that’s what humans NEED.


Necessity is not only the mother of invention…it’s also the mother of Culture.

The staggering diversity and uniqueness of the cultures of this world is far from arbitrary or random. Each culture developed in close relation to the land of its origin and in direct response to the specific NEEDs of the people.

This need-based cultural development is true for pre-industrial cultures that had to meet most of their needs directly from their local natural bioregion, with minimal trading as a supplement. Manufactured clothing and food and building materials couldn’t be ordered and shipped in from distant lands on freight trains and planes and trucks.

Historically, this meant that the culture of a people was deeply tied to and integrated with the land they lived with. This type of intimacy between the people and the land allows for an ongoing communication that shows the people exactly what the land needs from them in order to sustain a healthy balance. In system’s theory this is called the feedback loop and is an essential part of creating sustainability and longevity (the markers of true success) in any system.

Enter Stage Left: Empire and Industry

But all that sustainability and longevity goes out the window when a conquering empire hits the scene because the primary objective of imperial conquests is CONTROL…not sustainability.

In order to take control of a people, the dominators have to intentionally break the feedback loop between the conquered people and their land.


The pre-industrial imperialism of the old world depended on outlawing ancient practices such as dance and ritual, replacing traditional ways of planting or counting time with new systems and calendars, taking children away from their families and training them in boarding schools to speak the new language and respect the new laws and orders and executing the people most skilled and powerful in the ways of the old culture, often declaring that they were witches or some other shameful thing.

These were the tactics used against the Earth-based cultures of Europe by the Romans and then again by the Christians. These tactics were also used in the European conquests of the peoples of Africa and India as well as in the European domination of the many tribal cultures in both North America and South America.

But this form of imperialism could only do so much damage…because the land still led. Even the dominating culture would have to learn to adapt to their new environment. Often they would have to incorporate at least some of the wisdom of the native culture and yield to the land in some ways in order to survive in their new territory.

All this has changed with the Industrial Revolution, the rapid advancement of technology we’ve seen in the last 200 years and the imposing force of capitalism. With the ability to pave over every surface and annihilate any obstacle modern imperialism has taken on a new and infinitely more destructive form.

Now, the consumerist monoculture of the Industrial Growth Society is being sold and exported to every corner of the globe with disturbing uniformity.

McDonald’s is now serving the same hamburgers in over 33,000 outlets in 121 different countries around the world. The same fuel sources and building materials are being shipped in to create the same kind of towns and neighborhoods in countries all across the planet. And people all over the world aspire to living the “good life” as defined by the images of wealth and disconnection they see in the mass media.


It blows my mind that 40% of the total world population is now using the Internet and that {get this…} out of the world’s 7 billion people, 6 billion have access to cell phones!!!! Just think about how effective this must be in getting people to ignore the natural world. It’s also telling to discover that the US military is currently deployed in more than 150 countries around the world.

This pre-packaged culture is systematically and forcibly extinguishing all remnants of previous earth-connected cultures. Wherever it goes it willfully ignores the needs of the local people and the conditions of the land it’s being introduced into.

As the diverse cultural heritages that evolved in intimate response to the unique bioregions across the globe are replaced by the imported dominator culture, the essential feedback loop breaks down, ecological imbalance ensues and toxic seeds are planted for global system collapse.

Getting Back to Needs

For better or worse, through the process of globalization, we’ve been turned into one big human village with some very new, very serious and totally unprecedented NEEDs.

Most of us here in the “developed world” have our basic needs of food, shelter, clothing and safety provided for with relative ease within this industrial culture…but they come at a great cost. While we’re able to drive to work each day and buy food at the store and kick back in our climate controlled houses the very source of life is being choked out…and we can’t even hear it.

Tar Pit #3

The distance we’re kept from the cries of suffering and the mess of environmental degradation is actually a key component to keeping it all running smoothly. Our connection with the source of life, with the land and with our own inner guidance was intentionally severed generations ago to render us subservient to the dominating culture. And our continued disconnection is what it all hinges upon.

But now, as we face our collective NEED for a culture that can sustain life, it’s time to reestablish that connection and the essential feedback loop that tells us when we’ve gone too far and what we need to adjust to restore balance.

In simple terms…it’s time to LISTEN to the Earth and follow her lead.

Listening to the Earth may sound mystical or mysterious because it has become such a foreign concept to us modern folks. But it’s actually quite simple…and you don’t even have to stray too far from your analytical modern mind. When we step back for a moment from our busy daily lives and look around, the effects of modern industrialism are clear. 

All life on planet Earth requires clean water and air. All life depends on the integrity of genetic code. These most basic components are being despoiled almost beyond repair by modern industry through fossil fuel usage, chemical pollution, genetic modification and nuclear waste.

In the context of these truths “listening to the Earth” is not new age jargon and it’s not a flaky hippie fantasy…it is a necessary evolution.

It’s the imperative action to which the human race is being called out. All of us together…We’re being called to attention…to stop ourselves in our tracks and open our hearts to hear the NEEDs that are being expressed by the state of the world.

Der Weg der guten Menschen: Wandern auf den Spuren der Katharer

As we get real with our mutual and collective NEEDs we can gather all of our accumulated wisdom…all of our understanding…all of our inspiration to take the next great leap in our expression on this planet by co-creating a culture in response to those needs…a culture that can sustain LIFE. 

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