There is a tree by the river, and we have been watching it day after day for several weeks when the sun is about to rise. As you sit there, there is a relationship of deep abiding security and a freedom that only trees can know. If you establish a relationship with it, then you have relationship with mankind. You are responsible then for that tree and for the trees of the world. But if you have no relationship with the living things on this earth, you may lose whatever relationship you have with humanity, with human beings.
It is odd that we have so little relationship with nature, with the insects and the leaping frog and the owl that hoots among the hills, calling for its mate. We never seem to have a feeling for all living things on the earth. If we could establish a deep, abiding relationship with nature, we would never kill an animal for our appetite, we would never harm, vivisect a monkey, a dog, a guinea pig for our benefit. We would find other ways to heal our wounds, heal our bodies. But the healing of the mind is something totally different. That healing gradually takes place if you are with nature, with that orange on the tree, and the blade of grass that pushes through the cement, and the hills covered, hidden, by the clouds.
This is not sentiment or romantic imagination but a reality of a relationship with everything that lives and moves on the earth. Man has killed millions of whales and is still killing them. All that we derive from their slaughter can be had through other means. But apparently man loves to kill things, the fleeting deer, the marvellous gazelle and the great elephant. We love to kill each other. This killing of other human beings has never stopped throughout the history of man’s life on this earth. If we could-and we must-establish a deep long-abiding relationship with nature, then we would never slaughter another human being for any reason whatsoever. We have never said that to kill another human being is the greatest sin on earth.
Having no relationship with living things is having no humanity