Thursday, October 17, 2013

Dinotopian Laws

Once upon a time there was a book called Dinotopia by James Gurney. In 2002, a 3-episode tv series was created, also called Dinotopia. In the show, a law code is emphasized. In this utopia, humans and herbivore dinosaurs live in harmony by adhering to 10 main laws. About half of the laws especially caught my attention.

A few of the codes were fascinating to me. (Check out the 3rd, 4th, 5th, 7th, and 10th law codes.) I think that they were fascinating because they resonate with my dreams for a simple, godly life.

The third law code teaches us that a weapon cannot be anyone's friend (not even their owner's friend). A weapon is dangerous to everyone, even their owner. Now I get that the world is a big, scary, dangerous place. Some people find comfort in arming themselves to protect themselves against the bad guys. At the same time, I can easily visualize how weapons can be enemies to everyone. I am intrigued by this concept similarly expressed in "The Awakening of Hope: Why We Practice a Common Faith" by Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove. Wilson-Hartgrove's book dedicates a whole chapter explaining "Why We Would Rather Die Than Kill." I wouldn't have trouble with this law in Dinotopia.

The fourth law code urges people to take less ____ and to give more ____. Consumerism screams TAKE! TAKE! TAKE!! It is a radical concept to give, to give a little, especially to give a lot, and to give sacrificially is practically considered a sign of insanity. Yet, "Living More with Less" by Doris Janzen Longacre teaches the same message. She teaches that that we need to choose less, so others can have more (and if our happiness levels go up, that's an additional bonus). Taking & getting more things does not elevate our happiness levels as much as we think. There's always another new gadget, another family with more, a little more money to be earned. Ecclesiastes 5:10 reads "Those who love money never have enough; those who love wealth are never satisfied with their income. This too is meaningless." Powerful words that are still relevant today. I wouldn't have trouble with this law in Dinotopia.

The fifth law code asks us to be self-less, not selfish, in our lives. Selfishness abounds. Generations are taught "Me-first!!", to look out for "Number 1", and protect "Me, Mine, and My." Yet selflessness can lead to happiness. Acts 20:35 tells us that "It is more blessed to give than to receive." Huh. That sounds almost identical to "it's better to give than to receive." Living our lives for something bigger than ourselves can lead to a more meaningful life. I wouldn't have trouble with this law in Dinotopia.

The seventh law code challenges us to do one thing at a time. Our society idolizes multitasking. Spinning multiple plates in the air. Never completely focusing on one thing. I yearn to focus on only one thing at a time and be fully present at whatever I set out to do. I wouldn't have trouble with this law in Dinotopia.

The tenth law code directs us to eat enough to live, but not live solely to eat. It discourages gluttony-one of the seven deadly sins. People starve, while others waste. I wonder if we intentionally plan meals and snacks to get our minimum calories for the day and all of the food groups, would we really feel deprived? I don't think we would. In the "More with Less Cookbook" also by Doris Janzen Longacre, this concept is expressed. Simple meals, which take into account the limited world resources, still are tasty.

I find these codes to be interesting because they don't fit into a self-centered, over-focused, over-busy society. Many of the codes align with other books I have read that show there is another way to live, that's different from mainstream society.

What are things that society teaches & values that you don't view as relevant or important? Dare to dream about a better world and then start taking steps toward that world.

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