A Harvard professor commits to using the natural world to find his way, and discovers something important:
After a year of this endeavor, something dawned on me: the way I viewed the world had palpably changed. The sun looked different, as did the stars. While the ocean didn’t accommodate my “human” need for meaning, a different sense emerged from the wave patterns that conveyed the presence of winds, shoals, coastlines and distant storms.
Is this akin to what people describe as spiritual awakenings, or perhaps the experience of improvising music with others, in which individual notes no longer take prominence and a larger meaning emerges in a wordless communication among the performers?
The longer I live the more I regret and fight our modern culture’s pressure to disconnect us from the natural world by inundating us with technology and media. When I was a kid entertainment involved going outside and finding something fun to do with the world at hand. My kids could spend all their days indoors if we let them.
I don’t think we even begin to understand what we are losing as we lose touch with the natural world. Not least of all we lose our understanding of how important it is for us to protect it.