We are alive today. Our bodies will wear out and die eventually. The main objective of human society has been the quest for a better state of being — things best left to the scientists, economists and politicians elected and selected by us. The forever quest, now ubiquitous to our identity as human beings drives us to constantly push forward, even if we are neither elected nor selected to do so — human-beings becoming human-doings. The act of being: the focus on now and here is sometimes overlooked. It starts with our breath; oxygen in, carbon dioxide and water vapor out; food in, energy and waste out. It is the classic concept of Ying and Yang. Dmitry Fadayev has written well about this in his post titled The Ying and Yang of Morality.
Physics works within the boundaries of this philosophy. Conservation of energy states that the total amount of enery in an isolated system remains constant over time…energy created somewhere = energy destroyed somewhere and vice versa. Biology does this too (a simple example being the water cycle). We pluck a plant’s produce and slaughter an animal to feed our body’s metabolism. This fuels our mind and our muscles. We use our mind and muscles to do work creating a product of value — good or not-good value. The actions going into our work has equal reactions — products and byproducts. Think byproducts like plastics in landfills and pollution in the atmosphere due to use of gasoline which has many positive and negative applications.
Net-balance between the value of nature’s things (raw materials) to the value of products and byproducts created from nature’s things can be simply maintained by not changing anything around us (quarrying, mining, drilling for oil and natural gasses, dredging, deforesting, etc). Change is natural. Its pace is somewhat accelerated by human-doings in the quest for better. The part to worry is the net-balance in the destruction-creation-recycling cycle — the net balance betwen ying and yang. Increasing levels of pollution, isolated cases of radiation due to testing and failed reactors, holes in the ozone layer, climate change and species extinct quicker than normal are all examples of negative net-balance of nature’s things. These are a direct reflection of a negative net-balance of human-doings.
There is the concept of universal forced equality, especially in Hindu teachings. It states that your low-quality actions and thoughts will have guaranteed ramifications in the form of punishment rendered. It is the concept of the supreme power wielding its mighty sword to bring balance. This sort of puts more burden of achieving net-balance in the metaphorical hands of the said supreme power than in the hands of human-doings.
We built government-systems to create laws and uphold rights. We built church-systems to create uniform platforms for morals and values. We let static unchanging systems govern us. When things go wrong, we blame the system. The system barely budges in its state of static inertia. Negative net-balance keeps on generating. The burden is on us to neutralize the net-balance. The burden is on us to find the minimum appropriate needed to fulfill our lives in the now and here. This can start right now in the chair you sit while you read this. It can start with a glory-less minuscule activity.
It can start by switching that light off when you leave the room.