“More and more, we’re shaped by a closed and artificial world of our own creation. We’re told this smaller, shadow world is sufficient, yet we are rarely satisfied by it. In response, many seem to strive for wealth, thinking money will provide longed-for meaning and safety. Today, our sense of humanness comes from gazing upon ourselves and upon our own creations. Our most dominant creation is the technology that permeates all aspects of life and has people going faster and faster to the point where bodies and nervous systems have little physical connection to the world around them. The land is out of body, out of mind, out of sight. Is it any surprise that the average American today can recognize over one thousand corporate logos but can’t recognize ten plants or animals native to his own region?” Lifting the Veil by Peter Forbes, Featured in Mountain Record 25.1, Fall 2006
Isn’t this the essence of narcissism, gazing upon our own reflections?
I can tell you that, when Barry got cancer, my nervous system was so overtaxed that my emotions simply shut off. I haven’t fully recovered and have no huge desire to do so. It is much easier to function in the larger world being numb than it is being aware of my feelings and everyone else’s as well. It is easier to function as a mindless Dilbert than as a fully-functioning human being.
That lack of connection to nature is hard to avoid. I am starting this Friday to volunteer at the local nature center to do administrative things. I am not really interested in doing outdoorsy stuff. Mother Nature and I have a tenuous relationship. I love her beauty, but any nearby mosquito will make a meal of me and the tree in my back yard has pitched limbs onto my car. Only growing up near farms has saved me from being one of those people that thinks meat comes from Styrofoam packages.
It is difficult to feel our connection to everything. It is overwhelming to understand our responsibility to all. It is easier to pretend that our individual, immediate needs are all that matter. Other people? The earth? Who cares? Until, that is, those people vote or the local critters eat our trash. Oh yeah, other people’s feelings and opinions do matter. Who’d a’thunk it?