When did the concept of separation from nature first begin? The idea that we are somehow divorced from, or independent of, the natural world is without question a very real thing in 2013. The absence of large groves of very old trees, the lack of unpolluted air, and the laughingly small number of visible stars in a city night’s sky gives the impression that we are creatures that have overcome the nuisances of mother nature once and for all.
Forraging for food, sleeping when it’s dark, exposing ourselves to the natural rays of the sun and currents of nature- are these things even necessary to modern man anymore? Can we really evolve as a creature past the point of obeying natural laws….gravity, for one – we have built rocket ships to propel ourselves far past the pull of the earth. What is going on here….do we need to “reconnect to the source”, as in find a balance between technology and our inherently natural ways of existing as an organism, a cell on this body, as we have for so many thousands of years? Or do we need to push ahead full-throttle, finding ways to sensibly feed ourselves healthy food and clean water and such, but generally allow most of the population to proceed forwards as engineers and scientists and philosophers that never touch dirst with their bare hands and raise a plant from seed to meal.
It seems like there is a maddeningly strong attraction for us to move forward. We have fucked this place up pretty bad in some ways, polluting the skies, fouling the waters, and turning lush forests in to deserts. However, we have also built a web of information, and it does seem like the power structures of contemporary times are starting to crumble. Slavery has evolved to the point of student/mortgage/car debt, however this can not continue for much longer. The tipping point is at hand. Duncan Trussel I feel was right when he said we will look back 20 years from now, and we will either see a heaven or a hell.
Anyway – at what point did this all begin? The agricultural revolution seems like a logical point. Perhaps that was the first time that on a large scale, populations and generations upon generations, could go without being intimately tied to the laws of feast and famine. Or maybe not. No doubt there has always been, in many species, castes or tiers of existence: the alpha specimen lets others hunt for her or him, the prince resides in the castle, the accountant buys her groceries. We have everything we need to provide for all – clean water, good food, comfortable living arrangements. And we must start with providing for ourselves and those around us. Improving the situations we are in…taking good care of our bodies and minds, and finding ways to encourage others to do the same, and helping them in appropriate ways when those ways present themselves as an opportunity to help someone.
But it is so damn hard to be truly selfless. When we find something that works well for ourselves, it may not work so well for others..or, we do not know how or when to selflessly communicate our newfound insights with those around us in a loving way. Our ego says “Look at this awesome and healthy shit I do! I eat raw food! I go climbing! Everyone needs to eat raw food and go climbing!” But others are scared of heights, or like the taste of a baked potato, or a cheeseburger. We can only start with ourselves and let others ask us what we’re doing, and politely, un-hubristically tell them “This is what I do”. We don’t always do these things – we haven’t done them for our entire lives, we’ve discovered things and are trying them out at this moment. If it is perceived to work, we continue to do it to increase our happiness and comfort. If it doesn’t work, sometimes we have a hard time of realizing it’s not working.
Perhaps that is the main problem I perceive with this “western” world I live in – society numbs our senses with an overload of stimulus. Maybe once we had a great time when we drank 8 beers at a party. Maybe we were younger and had a better working liver and didn’t have anything to do the next day except practice for club lacrosse team at 2 pm. Maybe when we were younger we didn’t realize how toxic and addictive processed sugars were, and we ate 58 jelly beans and damn did we enjoy the taste of those jelly beans.
It is so hard to break habits – and our society works in a very individualistic way where those habits are not hard to form, and our neighbors may not feel very encouraged to point out “hey there were lots of beer bottles in your recycling box last week – are you ok?” Or we all have our own hangups and don’t know how to say with love “Hey brother you need to work a little more on focusing, I’ve noticed you have a hard time paying attention and I think it’s because this crazy culture bombards us with so much shit that our minds are conditioned to constantly seek out the next thing that will trigger an endorphin release, but what it doesn’t teach us is that the highest high is within ourselves, and there are tools out there to access that. So don’t worry too much about what is happening on facebook, or if anyone has liked your latest post – let’s just look each other in the eye when we’re spending time together and laugh like we used to when we were younger before all of this shit!”
How do we learn to love ourselves and love those around us? How do we look at others in the eye and smile and not creep ’em out! How do we share ourselves with the world and yet protect our lamps of inner light from getting blown out? I think we all need courage. Courage that wherever we are in life is perfect, because it can’t be any other way, and we have everything we need and we know everything we need to know to do the right things. If we just look withing ourselves, and truly examine our physical surroundings, like an infant would, we can see with perfect clarify the things we need to do to begin improving everything.
Meditative techniques that induce a shift of conciousness, a decrease in the beta-wave production inside our brains, and an increase of the slower wavelenghts of alpha, theta, and delta waves – there a multitude of techniques that induce this shift, and perhaps this is where the imbalance occurs: we are in hyper beta-overdrive in the west.