We humans have suffered much and the world has suffered alongside us. Much of this pain is rooted in our failure to take an intuitive approach to the essential questions of life, such as:
What is my place in the order of nature?
What is my place in the order of society?
Who am I?
We have been programmed to suppress important components of our individuality, to feel that significant parts of our makeup are shameful, an enemy to ourselves and others. We try to lord ourselves over others; our women, our animals, the other races of man, and nature itself. We take comfort in the notion the entire universe was made solely for our benefit, the only species that really counts. We make rules to keep everyone in their place and everything runs smoothly…or does it?
Take a good look around you. Is anything running smoothly?
The human being is a puzzle, and one of the wonders of nature is the odyssey of personal growth in which a child assembles those pieces and becomes a whole person. Yet we have denied ourselves some of the pieces that we should be fitting into their unique naturally-determined places as part of our growth. The substitute pieces we grab for cannot be forced into these existing holes, so are tacked on elsewhere, an unnatural addition corrupting the unfolding pattern of our nature even more.
John and I were acutely aware of this problem and sought a solution. We began with experiments in recapturing self worth at its source, especially our craving for genuine intimacy and expressive individuality. We discovered that society has two irreconcilable viewpoints on sex, lauding its abstract expression through romantic arts while oppressing its concrete expression through a rigid matrix of social mores. Sex became both a charming notion and a necessary evil. Thus as part of human endeavor least able to fit into a rigid framework that “civilized” society dictates, sexual intimacy is viewed suspiciously as a beast to be controlled, admired when needed but left locked in a cage as we put on our tie, tighten our corsets and try to pretend we’re not members of the animal kingdom.
After we put the first cracks in conventional wisdom that was more conventional than wise, we came to see that the institutionalized repression of human nature was destroying more than interpersonal relationships. Man’s distorted self image threatened the very health of the planet. The same process of self-discovery that fueled Sandstone Foundation could be applied to an urgently needed realignment of our relationship with Planet Earth.
We need to stop seeking fulfillment through the materials we own, the relationships we dominate and the wilderness we subdue. We must seek healthy and interdependent relationships with ourselves, our companions, our communities and our world. We must find more of what we need within ourselves rather than trying to wrest fulfillment by alternative means from the limited resources of nature.