What does it mean to live in harmony with the world? I would argue that living in harmony with the universe, with nature and others is the key to living ethically and should be the main focus of our lives. The stoics call us to “live according to nature.” But what does that mean?
If it means anything, then surely its a call to live in line with life as it is? It is to order our lives in such a way that we find out about the world and then seek to live in harmony with our discoveries. If we acknowledge that acting “right” means acting in harmony with the universe then that must also mean acting in harmony with the unity or web of life.
How does one act in harmony with the web of life? By acting kindly towards all, both human and non human persons. By living not just for oneself but for the welfare of all beings. Helping others and not causing harm. Acknowledging that we are all part of a great whole, a unity, and that what we do affects all others. Another word for harmony is peace – so living in peace with nature, with other people, with plants and animals, these things are part of living “according to nature.”
So, if we want to live in accordance with life and the universe as it is, then we must seek to live in peace and harmony with all of nature, understanding the interconnectedness of all life and teaching others to do the same. When we are living in accordance with the universe as it is, we are no longer fighting it or struggling against it, and that can bring us a profound sense of peace as we simply let go and surrender.
So that’s some more random thoughts on morality and ethics, to follow on from my previous post on this issue. What do you think?