An insightful article in Kosmos Journal from our community friends at Terra Nova Voice, Tamera, Portugal….
“First Nation tribes from North America coined a term to describe the ‘disease of the white man’ – wetiko*. In their understanding, wetiko consists of two essential characteristics: chronic inability for empathy and an egoistic fixation on one’s own personal benefit and profit. The First Peoples used this word specifically because they could not fathom any other explanation for the behavior of the European colonialists. While often declared as unchangeable psychological features of humanity, greed, selfishness and violent impulses may in fact not be our “human nature” as many claim, but rather the outcome of our alienation under capitalist conditions.
“For much of the last million years, human beings have lived in communities; in fact, the era in which we have not is only a tiny fraction in the entirety of human history. In order to subjugate people under their systems of dominance, patriarchal rulers systematically destroyed tribal communities, thereby inflicting a profound collective trauma onto humanity. Humanity thereby lost its spiritual, social and ethical anchor, drifting off in a self-destructive frenzy of atomization, self-interest and othering. As we are reaching the pinnacle of a culture of global wetiko, the last throes of late-stage capitalism, healing our collective trauma, re-establishing functioning communities based on trust, and making our human existence compatible with the biosphere and nature again, may well be our only opportunity to secure ourselves and our children a future worth living on Spaceship Earth.”
Read the full story by Martin Winiecki….
- Wetiko is a Cree word (with cognates in related languages: “winding” in Ojibway, “wintiko” in Powhatan).