Our Ancestors Are Stones

With my eyes closed, I can smell the water and feel the beach sand clinging to my feet. A wind whips over my face, tangling up my hair. The rhythm of the deep blue waves sync to my heart beat, while the sun rises over a sandy dune sprinkled with woody shades of reds and greens. I’m thinking back to summer along Lake Michigan’s shoreline, home to the largest freshwater sand dunes in the world! The Great Lakes account for more than 90% of the surface freshwater in the United States, and is the primary water source for more than 40 million people.

Before winter, I spent countless mornings and evenings combing for stones along Lake Michigan’s shoreline at Jean Klock Park. In my growing relationship with nature, I had a brilliant idea to redo my cracked asphalt driveway, replacing it with a colorful mosaic of local beach stones. It was ambitious, too ambitious for one summer, but nothing compared to what our recent ancestors did. I’m referring to the roads, pyramids, coliseums, castles, and churches they built, all by hand. I marvel at the things man has made, which are truly amazing, but nature is all the more!

For whatever reason, I didn’t get started on the mosaic I had envisioned. I’ve been grooving to another beat, not producing quantifiable results as I should. Life is about the journey, not the destination. Time is wealth, and I’ve chosen to spend it on things like running, working out, reading, cooking, playing outside, etc. Collecting stones was a spiritual experience, reminding me of how much I loved rocks when I was a little girl. My childhood dream was to become a geologist, but someone along the way talked me out it. I wouldn’t make enough money, he said.

With money and technology, social media and movies, mobile phones and computers, automobiles and planes, religions and clubs, many of us have forgotten where we came from and who we are. Ironically, we have also figured it all out with science. How often do you stop think about how we are made? Ninety-nine percent of our bodies is composed of just six elements: oxygen, hydrogen, nitrogen, carbon, calcium, and phosphorus. Roughly .85% of our bodies is sulfur, potassium, sodium, chlorine, and magnesium. The remaining .15 of us is unknown.

Putting ourselves in perspective, first came the mineral kingdom, then the plant kingdom, then the animal kingdom, and then us “intelligent” beings. Each kingdom depends on the kingdoms before it to survive. Essentially this means our oldest ancestors are Grandpa and Grandma Stone. Isn’t that something? I actually thought this up on the beach when I picked up a stone that looked like a face with hair on it. I wondered where that stone had come from and how old it was…if it had a birthday. The history of every stone has a story that’s been largely untold.

My son Leo was watching a funny show the other day about this guy with a pet fly named Buzz. One day Buzz died, and the guy called a rabbi to hold a burial service. Unaware, the rabbi snickered when he was told Buzz was a fly, but the fly guy was not joking around. Buzz was placed in a very nice coffin under a very expensive and gigantic tombstone, with an advertisement on it for a pet store. It didn’t fit well in the cemetery, so outlandish that I couldn’t stop laughing. Honestly, I felt more about the tombstone than I did about Buzz. Go figure.

Science has taught us something else recently too. We are not just a pile of elements any more than earth is just a pile of rocks. Our bodies are ecosystems for trillions of bacteria that procreate inside of us. It is our job to feed them and keep the ecosystem alive by consuming fragments of the mineral kingdom, plant kingdom, and/or animal kingdom. In return, they make chemicals (short chain fatty acids) to fuel various processes in our bodies. It’s a sweet symbiotic process that gives us consciousness. We exist in ecosystems and we are an ecosystem. How amazing!

This discovery is remarkable because the Industrial Revolutions have had no respect for our symbiotic relationship with nature. I would go as far as to say people now think they are above nature, and can exist without nature. Look at what recently happened with NFTs (digital houses worth millions), and it’s easy to see how far disconnected we have become from reality. The reality is simple—while technology has made our lives easier, unchaining us from the roughness of nature’s edges; it is actually using up what we need from nature at exponential speed.

Society is like our bodies. It is an ecosystem that is supposed to foster a mutually beneficial relationship between our human population and the earth. But most of us are not taking good care of our bodies or the earth, and we cannot because the system in which we live doesn’t foster a symbiotic relationship with her. It is a tyrant, an abuser of nature, that has allowed wealth to take hold of our hearts and minds. If you want to have a nurturing relationship with your maker, which is nature, then try to get to know her better.

Nature is colorful, wild, and free. She is not constrained, or a slave to anyone, but she takes good care of her children. She is not AI, and she is not big tech. She is an Alpha, always in control, but it seems that we’ve forgotten that she’s even relevant. She has the perfect relationship with the solar system: fertile, diverse, not too hot or cold. She knows who she is and doesn’t mess around. She’s something like Leslie Gore, but not quite, and she can sing—“You don’t own me. I’m not just one of your many toys. You don’t own me. Don’t say I can’t go with other boys…” 

If you have a real relationship with your Mother, you truly know her. You are able to name and describe her, understand what makes her tick. In Exodus, when Moses asked God his name, he replied “I am who I am.” No, God wasn’t being sarcastic…He is I Am, as Nature is She Is. But what do you know about God? Nature? What is their character? For one, they both have cycles and extremes. Life and death, for example, is inherent and extreme. In order for new cells and bacteria to be born, the old must die. Birth and death are an absolute.

Religion is a controversial topic I like to engage with grace. It’s a manmade system that proports to establish the right relationship between human beings, their maker, and each other, but it’s problematic in many ways. First, it’s influenced by culture, rather than nature. At least that’s how man has twisted it. There are believers and non-believers, all of whom are valuable in our society. Religious people aren’t any better than non-religious people when it comes to understanding where we come from and promoting symbiotic relationships between nature and each other.

In The God Delusion, Richard Dawkins explains how he sees God, which is not how I see God, but I will put his quote here to make a point:

The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully.

I don’t know anything about Richard Dawkins’ books or ideas. My point is people can read stories and take away very different interpretations based on their experiences in life, how they think, and what they want to see. The Old Testament is not an easy book to understand, but there’s a lot of history and knowledge to unpack which is always relevant to whoever we are at any given period of history.

What I take from the Bible is that God is multidimensional and extreme, unsurprisingly like nature. In the New Testament, God is depicted as a new man (figuratively and literally) with a plan to fix a broken relationship with his one true loves: you and me. You know the story; God sent his one and only son to die on the cross as payment for our sins. In doing so, he reestablishes a loving relationship between us, a bridge so to speak. Isn’t that what we must do with Mother Nature to survive? Don’t we have to lose our lives so she can live? Don’t we have to rebuild that bridge in our relationship?

Like God and Mother Nature, we are also extreme, now more than ever. There are groups of people who only eat meat. Others only eat plants. Both think they know everything and have found the elixir of life. Both have good points about the other “lesser” class of food, and both are right and wrong! Some people are convinced that the nations are racing to compete in AI, while others have figured out that today’s energy bottleneck may bring down major superpowers. Meanwhile, megachurches are preaching on God’s desire for you to have manmade prosperity.

I don’t think manmade wealth and God fit together. Neither does manmade wealth and nature! Matthew 6:24 is clear; You cannot serve God and money. Yet here we are thinking we have an endless supply of nature’s condensed energy (oil) to mine resources, produce things, and transport everything throughout the global economy, using exponentially growing credit. And don’t even get me started about all the trash we make. It was so sad walking along the beaches of Thailand. I kept thinking we in the USA have so much more trash than they do; we just hide it better.

What happens when things get too extreme? They become their opposites. Old Heraclitus figured this out long ago and called it enantiodromia, from two Greek words, enantios (“opposite”) and dramein (“to run;” dromas, “running”). Carl Jung (1941) said, “I use the term enantiodromia for the emergence of the unconscious opposite in the course of time.” I don’t know about you, but I see opposites everywhere I look. Men turning into women, women turning into men, children turning into lions, democrats becoming tyrannical, the USA becoming Russia, and Russia turning into the USA. It’s quite spectacular to watch, better than fireworks!

What we are really seeing are the consequences of our toxic relationship with nature coming into full swing. There are only so many resources on the earth, and we are in the process of wasting them away with this dysfunctional economic system built on debt. It has changed us in ways that will only bring collapse.

When vices stemming from narcissistic behavior (especially envy and greed) are introduced into the free market system, the economy suffers crises as a result of the weakening of moral virtues and ethical values. The distrust engendered by vice raises wasteful transaction and monitoring costs to levels that can paralyze the marketplace and is manifested in a variety of ways: by taking imprudent and excessive risks with other people’s money, by selling products and services that harm others, and by engaging in outright fraud (Colombo 2009). [Narcissistic behavior and the economy: the role of virtues. Journal of Markets & Morality by Surendra Arjoon (Vol. 13, Issue 1) accessed through Gale Academic Onefile]

Our economic system has no respect for efficiency, and the natural consequence is we are transitioning from abundance to scarcity much faster than we otherwise would have. Nuclear bombs? Come on, man! The population has exploded and precious resources are being depleted. We are using up the things of nature that we need to survive, funding the process with credit. We artificially keep the price of energy and natural resources low while jacking up the value of real estate and financial assets. I think of Shel Silverstein’s epic story: The Giving Tree. Our relationship with nature and ourselves has gotten so out of whack, that it’s going to snap back, and hard!

There are many different approaches to explaining this process that’s unfolding. Robert Prechter does a great job in his recent presentation on the financial markets: AN ERA OF EXCEPTIONAL OPTIMISM TOWARDS THE STOCK MARKET. I’ll stop writing so you can watch it, but leave me a comment and please subscribe to my blog for free. I am trying to be more disciplined about writing once a week, but I need you to pass my work along to others, so that I can grow an audience and gather the motivation to continue. If I don’t have an audience, it’s better for me to just go to the beach and drink wine. 🙂 Don’t miss this presentation below. It’s mind-bending.


  1. Excellent, as always, Wendy. Many things in motion right now and you describe their ramifying effects nicely… while we remain as we are through this extravaganza: indomitably human.

    • Thanks, Jim. We humans have a lot to learn about ourselves, including this mysterious ability we have to read and write, and blog. 🙂 The process of writing forces me to think broader and be more curious about thinking than I otherwise would.

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