Kincentricity is "a view of humans and nature as part of an extended ecological family that shares ancestry and origins." - (Senos et al., 2006, 397).
The first use of the word kincentricity was in the 50s. It's been in use by the scientific community since then. Kincentricity describes the worldview of hunter-gatherers, who live in nature and perceive their connection to their natural environment as being one of kinship. The realise deeply that they are related to other living beings.
Although we all learn in school that we are related to all other living beings, we seem to forget it. There was a documentary series by David Attenborough called The Living Planet because we needed to be reminded of our relationship to other living beings. That's how far we've come from this recognition of connection to nature. It's only in the last 150 years or so that it's really been common knowledge that humans are related to all living beings. We still need to integrate this knowledge into how we see ourselves. It took a long time even for the evidence to be accepted. They lampooned Darwin at first. He was regularly caricatured as a monkey or an ape because of his concept of the evolutionary tree and his realisation that we're relatives of all living things, which placed us closer to the primates.
It has taken a long time for this to percolate into the public consciousness. It takes hundreds of years for new scientific paradigms to become accepted. Although the evolutionary tree is an accepted fact, we don't feel related to the global family of living organisms.
Our ancestors, and those hunter-gatherers that still live in nature didn't have access to science. But we can see through their stories and myths and through their daily lives, that they believed they were related to the forests, the trees, and the birds. They have words for these connections. They have words for the connection within the tribe, not the name of the tribe, but for the connection that makes the tribe possible. They have words for the connection to nature as individuals and as a group.
As our sense of connection has diminished, we've become more rapacious in our relationship with nature. I can see some gardens as I write this, and there's an orderliness to the gardens, but how many insects and small animals were poisoned and killed to keep the gardens orderly?
And it's only now that we've realised what we've done. It's like a big aha moment for humanity. “Oh dear, we can't go on like this forever.” I've been looking at the science, and we really, really, really, really can't go on like this. Are we past the point of return? Who knows? There's this big sustainability movement, with green policies and so on. But they've hit a brick wall everywhere. Another problem is that many sustainable options aren't sustainable once you've dug deeper.
The fundamental problem here isn't government policy. It's the relationship between the individual and nature.
The way that we see ourselves is that we must be comfortable, and if necessary, at the expense of others and the expense of nature. That's what's really unsustainable. It's this belief that we can tarmac this road, dig that mine, and pollute this river to get what we want. And there's no underlying recognition of what that means. That is because we don't believe we are actually part of what we are destroying. We view nature as separate, wild and alien. Of course, it's not a wise thing to do to consume nature and of course, it's not sensible, and of course, it's not logical for future generations. All of those things are true. But the reason it’s still happening is that we don't recognise our relationship with nature and with others is a family relationship.
This separation in our minds leads to division, divisiveness, and indifference to the lives of other people and other living beings. Each time we choose, we choose between doing something that connects us or that separates us. This separation isn't avoiding or moving away from other people but avoiding our responsibility to others. We are walking away from our relatives for convenience and to have a better personal life experience. our life purpose, then becomes immersing ourselves as deeply as possible in escapism, distraction, comfort, and pleasure.
Ultimately, we all want to connect with other people, to connect with ourselves, and to connect with nature. That is the underlying human drive, and its loss is the foundation of our suffering as individuals and as humanity.
Because this sense of separation is so deep rooted, the only way to reconnect is through the present moment. It really is. Everything else is bits of paper, diagrams and inert facts held in our heads about how much oil we're burning and the climate change numbers. It's meaningless and simply becomes a mind loop or squabble about numbers. It's not human. We can see that these policies and initiatives aren’t working, and that is why. we have to rebuild a real human connection with nature, and that is Kincentricity.
What do we do, and how do we reconnect? We reconnect through meditation. I call it kincentric meditation. Kincentric meditation is letting go of the barriers we have constructed in our minds that separate us from each other, nature, and ourselves. Our separation from ourselves is a separation from our emotions and from our thoughts. And it is also an attempt to separate ourselves from the consequences of our actions. Whatever we do, there are consequences. We can't divest ourselves of responsibility because each choice is a connecting choice or a suffering choice.
The moment that you push some other living being out of your domain of responsibility, and you override your natural compassion, you're separating yourself. And then you are moving one step further away from connection and towards separation. And the more separate you believe yourself to be, the more you will suffer. You only need to think about how being totally isolated would feel to see where this strategy eventually will eventually lead.
Stay tuned to learn more.