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The extraordinary journey of ripening towards death that we call life.


More and more often these days, I encounter people for whom “this rock” is not a prison, a place of exile, a cradle, or even a home, but the whole of which human beings are an inextricable part. These people aren’t looking for salvation, at least in the sense that word has been given in the religious sensibility of the Western world over the last two millennia or so and which was adopted from that sensibility by so theist and civil religions during that time. They are not pounding on the doors of the human condition trying to get or consoling themselves with the belief that sooner or later someone or something is going to rescue them from the allegedly horrible burden of having bodies that pass through the extraordinary journey of ripening toward death that we call life.

They are seeking, many of these people. They are not satisfied with who they are or how they relate to the cosmos, and so they have needs that religions can meet. What they are seeking, though, is not escape from the world but wholeness within the world’s greater whole, a sense of connection and community that embraces not only other people but the entire universe around them, and reaches out also to the creative powers that move through that universe and sustain its being and theirs. Many of them are comfortable with their own mortality and at ease with what Christian theologians call humanity’s “creaturely status,” the finite and dependent nature of human existence. What troubles them is not the inevitability of death or the reality of limits, but a lack of felt connection with the cosmos and with the whole systems that sustain their lives.

— John Michael Greer, After Progress

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