“Everything depends on everything else.
Nothing exists on its own.
On account of all the influences that come to bear upon them,
things appear, exist, and disappear, and then reappear again.
But they never exist independently.”
~ Dalai Lama – Little Book of Inner Peace
“No country can be called free
which is governed by an absolute power;
and it matters not whether it be an absolute royal power
or an absolute legislative power,
as the consequences will be the same to the people.”
~ Thomas Paine
“When it can be said by any country in the world,
my poor are happy, neither ignorance nor distress is to be found among them,
my jails are empty of prisoners, my streets of beggars,
the aged are not in want, the taxes are not oppressive,
the rational world is my friend
because I am the friend of happiness.
When these things can be said,
then may that country boast its constitution and government.”
~ Thomas Paine
“Our separation of each other
is an optical illusion of consciousness.”
~ Albert Einstein
Independence is illusion:
Everything is interconnected and interdependent.
Nothing exists independently.
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
“Interdependence is a fundamental law of nature.
Not only higher forms of life but also many of the smallest insects are social beings who, without any religion, law, or education, survive by mutual cooperation based on an innate recognition of their interconnectedness.
The most subtle level of material phenomena is also governed by interdependence.
All phenomena, from the planet we inhabit to the oceans, clouds, forests, and flowers that surround us, arise in dependence upon subtle patterns of energy.
Without their proper interaction, they dissolve and decay.”
~ Dalai Lama
“We are all cells in the body of humanity — all of us, all over the world.
Each one has a contribution to make, and will know from within what this contribution is,
but no one can find inner peace except by working,
not in a self-centered way, but for the whole human family.”
~ Peace Pilgrim
“The World is my country, all mankind are my brethren,
and to do good is my religion.”
~ Thomas Paine
“I believe that to meet the challenge of our times,
human beings will have to develop a greater sense
of universal responsibility.
Each of us must learn to work
not just for his or her own self, family or nation,
but for the benefit of all mankind.”
~ Dalai Lama
“When one realizes that life, even in the middle of so many contradictions, is a gift, that love is the source and the meaning of life, how can they withhold their urge to do good to another fellow being?”
[W]e all need each other, none of us is an island,
an autonomous and independent “I,” separated from the other
. . .we can only build the future by standing together, including everyone.. . .
[E]verything is connected,
and we need to restore our connections to a healthy state.
~ Pope Francis – 2017 TED Talk
Interdependence Way, On Independence Day
On July 4, 1776, thirteen American colonies declared their independence from British rule, in an historic document inspired by Thomas Paine’s philosophy and written by Thomas Jefferson. The philosophy of their Declaration of Independence was that under “the laws of nature and of nature’s God” government is established by people to secure their life, liberty, and happiness, and is to be overthrown as illegitimate if it no longer does that.
The US founding fathers recognized, that governments and their chartered organizations do not exist by Divine right; they are established by people to serve people – not to exploit or oppress them – and they are illegitimate unless they serve human rights and happiness.
Since 1776, “the laws of nature and of nature’s God” still prevail, but the world has changed immensely: The thirteen North American colonies have become the richest most powerful nation in world history – an American empire much vaster than the British empire which it succeeded. Human population has grown meteorically, from approximately 800 million (with 2.5 million people inhabiting American colonies) to over 7.6 billion and growing rapidly.
Through amazing technological and scientific advances the world has become much smaller and most people have become part of an instantly interconnected and largely interdependent global community, sharing critical information in an unprecedented new age of world-wide ecologic, economic, political and social crises and opportunities.
We are now experiencing severe global crises caused by inequitable governmental laws and policies which do not serve human rights and happiness, and by powerful transnational corporations which unsustainably exploit our precious planet, while prioritizing profits over people and often evading equitable taxation.
Within the spirit of the 1776 Declaration of Independence such laws and policies are illegitimate and must democratically be ended through societal recognition of the oneness of humanity and universal responsibility to benefit all humankind and all life.
Thus, His Holiness the Dalai Lama has said:
“In our world, we need a clear awareness of the interdependent nature of nations, of humans and animals .. Everything is of interdependent nature. .. [M]any problems, especially man-made problems, are due to lack of knowledge about this interdependent nature.”
“Today’s world requires us to accept the oneness of humanity. In the past, isolated communities could afford to think of one another as fundamentally separate. Some could even exist in total isolation. But nowadays, whatever happens in one region eventually affects many other areas. Within the context of our interdependence, self-interest clearly lies in considering the interest of others.
“I believe that to meet the challenge of our times, human beings will have to develop a greater sense of universal responsibility. Each of us must learn to work not just for his or her own self, family or nation, but for the benefit of all mankind.”
As Americans commemorate their past political independence from tyrannical rule, it is appropriate that we deeply reflect on current planetary tyranny, crises, inequities, and opportunities, in light of the egalitarian principles which launched the US nation in 1776. Such reflection will reveal that in today’s small world, we can best promote our own lives, liberty, and happiness – individually and societally – by recognizing our “universal responsibility to work not just for our own self, family or nation, but for the benefit of all mankind.”
To that end, let us join with our wholehearted intentions and appropriate actions to end unsustainable exploitation of our precious planet and the iniquity of global inequity, in the spirit of the following global declaration of interdependence sponsored by
We, the people of planet Earth,
In recognition of the interconnectedness of all life
And the importance of the balance of nature,
Hereby acknowledge our interdependence
And affirm our dedication
To life-serving environmental stewardship,
The fulfillment of universal human needs worldwide,
Economic and social well-being,
And a culture of peace and nonviolence,
To insure a sustainable and harmonious world
For present and future generations.
Ron’s 2020 Comments on
“Interdependence Way, On Independence Day”
This is an extremely appropriate time for our deep reflection on our ideals and ideas of supposed independence, both societally and individually. And for serious concern about clearly imminent dangers of nuclear or ecologic catastrophe, and threatened loss of our inherent liberties arising from absolute ‘exceptionalism’ of the American empire, and its very violent and politically polarized actions. Such concern is especially necessary because of “new normal” worldwide coronavirus authoritarian restraints against our ordinary human activities and inherent rights and liberties – while the doomsday clock of the bulletin of atomic scientists is at two minutes to midnight.
We urgently need to realize that independence is impossible; that everyone/everything is interconnected and interdependent; so that no-one/nothing exists permanently or independently.
Mistakenly believing ourselves to be separate and independent mortal beings, we’ve ignorantly acted fearfully and selfishly – instead of lovingly and generously – and thereby we’ve created critical problems for all life on our precious planet, and unsustainable disharmony with Nature.
Thus, it has become urgently imperative that we embrace an interdependent worldview, as explained above, and in the following “Crossroads” documentary video.
We cannot change others. But we can change and replace our seriously mistaken beliefs of separate independence, with an interdependent worldview.
Thereby, we can and we shall revolutionarily and compassionately transform the world.
With malice toward none, and empathy for all,
Let us end the iniquity of inequity in our society,
So “that government of the people, by the people,
for the people, shall not perish from the Earth”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
And so shall it be!
Crossroads: Labor Pains of a New Worldview:
Our urgent need for a new interdependent worldview – how we need to collectively change our minds to change our world – is expertly explained and portrayed in this excellent one hour documentary movie, already viewed online by over one million concerned people.
“Harmony is the secret principle of life.”
~ Paramahansa Yogananda
“When there is harmony between the mind, heart and resolution
then nothing is impossible.”
~ Rig Veda
“Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance and order and rhythm and harmony.”
~ Thomas Merton
“Your hand opens and closes, opens and closes. If it were always a fist or always stretched open, you would be paralyzed. Your deepest presence is in every small contracting and expanding, the two as beautifully balanced and coordinated as birds’ wings.”
~ Rumi, The Essential Rumi
“As long as you live, you will be subject to change, whether you will it or not – now glad, now sorrowful; now pleased, now displeased; now devout, now undevout; now vigorous, now slothful; now gloomy, now merry. But a wise man who is well taught in spiritual labor stands unshaken in all such things, and heeds little what he feels, or from what side the wind of instability blows.”
~ Thomas à Kempis, The Imitation of Christ
“As it acts in the world, the Tao is like the bending of a bow. The top is bent downward; the bottom is bent up. It adjusts excess and deficiency so that there is perfect balance. It takes from what is too much and gives to what isn’t enough. Those who try to control, who use force to protect their power, go against the direction of the Tao. They take from those who don’t have enough and give to those who have far too much. The Master can keep giving because there is no end to her wealth. She acts without expectation, succeeds without taking credit, and doesn’t think that she is better than anyone else.”
~ Lao Tzu *
Life’s in the Balance
Our life is in the balance,
Ever < NOW >,
‘Twixt our hopes
and our history,
On a fulcrum of Mystery,
Our life is in the balance,
Ever < NOW > !
Ron’s audio recitation of “Life’s in the Balance”
* Lao Tzu, translation by Stephen Mitchell
Ron’s explanation and dedication of “Life’s in the Balance”
The foregoing quotes and sutra poem address an important philosophical and practical question: “How can we live a “balanced life”?”
Have you ever considered what it means to live a “balanced life”? If so, what did you decide? Have you considered eating a balanced diet, or balancing and prioritizing your time spent with work, recreation, meditation, relationships, rest, etc.?
Each of us is unique with a unique earth life history and perspective. So there can be no specific answer or definition for each of us about what constitutes “a balanced life”. Moreover, everything is in constant flux, precluding any unchanging answer. Yet this is an issue of considerable importance for all of us, individually and societally – pragmatically and spiritually – on which I have reflected since my mid-life inner awakening.
Since then, I have learned that – just as our bodies naturally tend toward maintaining a state of homeostasis – there is a strong tendency throughout Nature to maintain homeostatic equilibrium, and to energetically compensate for any disruptions or deviations from that balanced state. And that “Interdependence is a fundamental law of nature.”
Yet it appears that we Humans are the only earthly species responsible for significant ecological imbalances. Forgetting that Nature is our nature; that we are interdependently ONE with Nature; and, that Nature ‘bats last’, we have mistakenly believed and behaved as if we are separated from each other and from Nature.
This behavior has resulted in disharmonious cruelty, wars, and insanely unsustainable exploitation of our precious planet, with widespread psychological suffering and unhappiness. Our mistaken self-identification as supposedly separate entities is what spiritual teachers call “ego”. And most spiritual teachings are intended to help us transcend such limited ego consciousness. They remind us that
“Interdependence is a fundamental law of nature. Not only higher forms of life but also many of the smallest insects are social beings who, without any religion, law, or education, survive by mutual cooperation based on an innate recognition of their interconnectedness. The most subtle level of material phenomena is also governed by interdependence. All phenomena, from the planet we inhabit to the oceans, clouds, forests, and flowers that surround us, arise in dependence upon subtle patterns of energy. Without their proper interaction, they dissolve and decay.”
~ Dalai Lama
Because we have forgotten the interconnectedness and interdependence of all life everywhere, we have degenerated into insanity – unconsciously committing mass suicide by ecocide, and threatening nuclear catastrophe. So these are critical times of immense jeopardy and suffering, yet immense opportunity.
The human species has developed amazing new technologies, which if wisely and unselfishly used could foster a wonderful new enlightened age. And paradoxically we can advance toward such a new age by emulating past pre-industrial societies.
Isn’t it now crucial that we learn from the wisdom of indigenous people who have lived sane and happy lives by prioritizing sustainable harmony with Nature over it’s unsustainable exploitation; cooperation over competition; respect for prophets over lust for profits; democracy over authoritarianism?
Since Nature is our nature and is in charge of our lives, to live a “balanced life” we must self-identify with Nature, and consciously cooperate with our precious planet’s interdependent ecosystem. We must behave mindfully without disrupting the crucial homeostatic harmony of our body-minds with our environment.
The foregoing “Life’s in the Balance” sutra poem was composed during an extended period of post-retirement hibernation. May the poem and preceding quotations help us discover innate happiness in our interdependent ONENESS with Nature and all of its lifeforms, and encourage us to give ‘power of attorney’ to Nature as The Lone Arranger of our lives.
Realizing that Nature is in charge of our lives, may we learn to leave it to The Lone Arranger in order to live interdependently with all life everywhere in homeostatic balance and harmony.
And so may it be!