This is one of my favorite parts of my favorite movie in the Lord of the Rings Trilogy for a million reasons, but it is also what I tell myself when I have doubt–in myself, in others, in the general goodness of the world. I don’t have Sam to give me precisely the right answer, no matter how cheesy it is. I just quiet my mind for a while, breathe slowly, and open myself to whatever “truth” feels right. Does it always work? No. Sometimes I really don’t know what I am holding on to.
The few times I’ve come across my answer doesn’t necessarily match the one given above. After all, they were in entirely different situations–and are also fictional characters. Whatever I get is close to this:
- The Earth is sacred. Not in relation to any given spirit, intelligence, or god, but because it gives and sustain life. Ours among them.
- Life is a miracle. Not because it was “created” by any given spirit, intelligence, or god, but because it reverses the entropy everything else in the universe is locked into, if only for a little while. Life creates whereas everything else decays.
- We are all children of the Earth. Another way of putting this is: “The Earth is our mother, treat her with respect.” Because she gives life, and life is a miracle, this should be instinctual.
- All the children of the Earth have unalienable rights and deserve to be treated with dignity.
Is this good enough for a belief system? Somehow I always find the faith part to be superfluous. If those four things are “self-evident” then it follows that we behave accordingly. Period.