How long have insects been on Earth compared to humans?
"Insects have been on Earth for much longer than humans. In fact, insects are one of the oldest groups of animals on the planet, with evidence of their existence dating back over 400 million years.
In contrast, the first anatomically modern humans, Homo sapiens, only emerged in Africa around 300,000 years ago. This means that insects have been on Earth for more than a thousand times longer than humans have. Over the course of their long history, insects have diversified and adapted to a wide range of environments and ecological niches, making them one of the most successful groups of animals on the planet. They are found in virtually every terrestrial habitat, and play important roles in many ecological processes, such as pollination, nutrient cycling, and decomposition."
The Insects our Elders
Elders give us perspective, helping us understand our place in the larger network of inter-becoming. Sometimes they are very old, building upon millions of years of experience. Their teaching is not a matter of words or books. It is their complexity, their creativity, their difference from us, their beauty. And their endurance through time. Insects have been on our planet much, much longer than we humans; and they will survive us should be perish as a species. W.S. Merwin gives us a poem to appreciate insects as our elders in just this way. It's called "To the Elders" and is found below, read beautifully by Amanda Holmes.
The process movement is guided by four aspirational ideals: whole persons, whole communities, whole planet, and holistic thinking. The hope is that we humans develop forms of awareness that recognize our small place in a larger community of life, building approximations of an Ecological Civilization, the units of which are local communities that embody justice, sustainability, kindness, and joy. This doesn't mean that we neglect our closest kin, other humans. They will inevitably matter most to us. But we we honor all our kin. We honor the insects, too, hoping they might forgive us for our arrogance.
- Jay McDaniel
To the Insects
by W. S. Merwin
Whether they are called sages, masters, elders, crones, rebbes, gurus, shaikhs, ministers, or priests, teachers play an important part in our spiritual unfolding. They instruct directly and indirectly through stories, parables, koans, sermons, lectures, and personal example. They recommend readings in sacred texts, assign exercises and tasks to be accomplished, demonstrate devotional acts, and challenge us to reach the sacred fullness of our potential.
Of course, eventually in the spiritual life, there comes a point when we realize that everything we encounter and everyone we meet is a teacher. We can even learn from seemingly negative experiences such as difficulties, personal warps, enemies, suffering, illness, and death. The first step in this practice, then, is to choose to see all of life as a classroom filled with spiritual lessons. Be a lifelong learner who walks in humility and with receptivity.
- Frederick and Mary Ann Brussat, Spirituality and Practice