We read on a frequent basis of the diminution in numbers, and in places the demise, of the honey bee. Motivated by a desire to help, many approach their local beekeeping association to seek guidance in how to assist bees. Sadly, they are often presented with the same attitude of control and dominance over nature that is reflected in modern industrial farming. As it is the methods of industrial farming that are responsible for bringing the bee into the parlous state in which it now finds itself, this must surely appear somewhat ironic.
What is it that drives the mindset of desiring total control and domination of nature? Is it that we are now so knowledgeable that we can indeed control nature? This, of course, is what we would like to think. But a few moments reflection will show us that this is no more than a child-like delusion of god-like omnipotence.
The reality is somewhat more subtle. We have today moved so far from nature, lost so much contact with the natural world that, in our souls, we no longer trust nature. That which we mistrust we soon begin to fear. Fear is quickly followed by the desire for control. Control is seen as both necessary and appropriate. It makes us feel ‘in charge’.
Conventional beekeeping falls prey to exactly this fear/control delusion. It seeks to control the bee by physical and chemical means and, in so doing, has contributed significantly to the bee’s present predicament. Once caught in such a paradigm it can be exceedingly difficult to break out. Actions taken to gain control inevitably fail, leading to demands for even more control, and so the spiral continues. To achieve real change requires a complete change in viewpoint.
Whereas conventional beekeepers demand control over nature; natural beekeepers follow a path of trust in nature. They do not see themselves as existing separately from the natural world. They are happy to accept their existence within it and, over time, develop a profound love not just for the bee but for the whole of nature. They let go and relax into nature’s bosom, confidant that she has done her job rather well for millions of years and will continue to do so if we place our trust in her.
Nature exists through balance. If we take our human hands off the handlebars and our feet off the pedals, the bicycle of nature will not come crashing to the ground. On the contrary, it will find its natural state of equilibrium and continue happily down the road, carrying both us and our bees merrily along.