The large orangutan sits beneath trees at the forest’s edge, gazing across farmlands and logging tracts. The human apes moving around the palm-oil plantations appear confused and bewildered to the calm old forest man.
A small bird flits from the bushes to sip from a rocky pool. The orangutan scratches his backside and yawns, takes a leaf, and chews it.
Watching the increasing numbers of people moving about the forest, felling the trees of his vanishing home, the quiet ape notices that humans are motivated by unusual things.
To the orangutan and other non-humans, our efforts at life are anxious, vague, struggling, trying to be sustained, all but lost to what the non-humans naturally know.
Like us, the forests’ red apes know fear and death. And they suffer, too. But they, and all non-humans, respond to such things differently than we do. The squirrels, the flitting birds, the deer in the meadow, the turtles underwater, all accept more easily the cycles of life, and threat, and death. These essential elements of the stream of life fold more naturally into the flow of non-human awareness. Their manner of living shows profound intelligence. If carefully observed, their lives can point to realms of in-depth awareness.
A younger orangutan arrives to sit beside the old man. They glance at each other. A broad hand rests across the younger’s shoulders. They must wonder why some humans seek to destroy the forests while others work so hard to protect them.
Have you noticed the paradox of our passionate intentions to save and preserve nature, alongside other urges that ensure its ruin? Some of us fear losing healthy forests, oceans, and skies, and others are afraid of not fully exploiting them.
To the red apes, it is plain that humans live by a single, common, fear – regardless of differing outward goals.
The orangutans sit close together, shoulders touching, along the forest’s edge, in the warming sun.
None of our conservation, deep-ecology, or environmental preservation will save them while our other hand deals simultaneously in destroying them, and their habitats and homes.
Humanity is a single force. Differences within it, for and against, are imagined only.
The destructive machine of the human pack grinds forward, regardless of ideals for positive change. Our efforts against ourselves, and each other, do not result in benign change.
Change must be allowed to find everyone, together, at once, touching the heart of humanity, and enlightening our activity.
The orangutans climb back into the forest to disappear among the leaves and shadows. The small black bird flits away, too, tail twitching.
Like the elegant ape, our humanity is fundamental. If realized and exercised, it will inform our lives, and allow room for all of life.
Until we invoke unity, feeling-intelligence, and profound kindness to become the motive for how we participate in the cycles of Earth, and how we make our human home here, no real conservation will be provided by us to this world. We will only continue suffering our ancient fear, confusion, and sense of separation – until we discover a more intelligent, wiser, fear-free, way to live.