Friday, June 17, 2005

Discussion Better Than Monologue

Once again, I owe my buddy Tania thanks for helping me see things from another perspective. She wrote this comment in response to my musings about drifting off the topic of nature (below).

You know, I don't think you're looking at this the right way. It is perfectly *natural* for you to want to think of pretty artificial things. Human nature is toward artifice.

This made me think about the reasons why I want to write on this topic. Why is it important to me?

Rather than respond in the comments section, where it might get lost, I've decided to make it a new post. Everyone please feel free to jump into this discussion.

Here's my response:

Sure, human nature is toward artifice. I agree. But, it's one thing to create things out of natural materials that can biodegrade and return to the earth and another to insulate ourselves from our creator and from the other living things that share this earth with us in a simulacrum made of plastic, chemicals and electronics.

Also, to base our imaginary world on the continued use of huge amounts of a limited natural resource (oil). If for no other reason, we need to wake up from our dream because this isn't going to last forever, and we are in for a rude awakening.

The life we live is not sustainable. It's hubris to think we can make it be sustainable. And I think we are wasting away and getting a little crazy because we imagine that we humans are all powerful, and through technology we can solve the many problems we have created, and we are gods.

Sorry, I don't think so. I think we are losing our sense of our own place in the scheme of things, we are out of balance. Eventually, the earth will bring us back into balance and we won't like it. I'd rather that the transition were easier, so I am trying to wake up and listen now, rather than later.

I also enjoy being with plants, animals, etc. I want to communicate with them. I don't want to live in an artificial human-only bubble. It's boring.

I also think that other humans are suffering for our mad consumerism. Even if you aren't interested in the Lorax... what about our brothers and sisters elsewhere?

It's not that our urge to create, to play, to make is bad in itself. It's just that I think we've taken it too far. Now we have forgotten our own Creator and we are deluding ourselves. This can't last. So maybe after us the deluge? That's a good way to get sent to the guillotine. But hey, it's a choice.

I'm not saying I'm any better about all of this than anyone else. I'm just as greedy and caught up in this dream as anyone. But this is a space where I'm trying to wake up a little. That's all.

I'd love to hear your arguments in return, because a discussion is better than a monologue, and that's precisely the reason I think we humans need to listen to the voices of other living things on this planet and not just talk to ourselves all the time.


Blogger Tania said...

You know I agree with all that about sustainable vs. non-sustainable, and living in a way that doesn't ultimately kill us or make us sick/miserable. As I write this, I'm home again because I was up all night having asthma attacks--asthma which developed in Spring 2002 probably due to my breathing in 1) all the pollution from the nearby expressway and 2) all the shit in the air from the towers that fell right across the river. What I meant is that our urge toward art--to alter what is--isn't to be excoriated or to be considered the sole source of our problems. The impulse alone isn't what's wrong. It's the thoughtlessness that's wrong. We need to pay attention to consequences and find healthy ways to express our desire for material goods and pretty things, without destroying everything else we and this world needs. Other animals rely on natural selection to weed out their bad habits--in other words, they die out if they don't get along with their environments. We change our environments. And if we're not careful, yes, one day it'll bite us in the ass and we'll die out too. We can use art to divide us from reality and we can also use art to bring us closer to reality. I prefer the second. So I'm saying, I agree with you, but don't beat yourself up for being "materialistic." It's OK to love having beautiful things and wanting that in life. It's just important to know the difference between wanting a gas-guzzling car or a sweatshop-sewn dress and wanting a garden full of flowers or a vintage trunk full of your grandmother's jewelry. You know? It's about mindfulness and responsibility, not denying our natures. That's all I'm saying.

8:28 AM  
Blogger Kate said...

Oh T, that sucks. I worried so much about my friends Joanna and Noah after 9/11, every time I would talk to her on the phone she sounded so hoarse. Who knows what kind of stuff was floating around in the air then? It's scary.

Thanks for your comments. I'm really just trying to work this stuff out in my own head and writing about it and having other people comment helps me think things through.

My friend Jean told me today that she didn't understand what I was trying to say here, though. Maybe I'm not expressing myself clearly? Or maybe when I get into "lecture mode" people tune out? LOL. Anyway, thanks for your feedback. :-)

I hope you feel better soon.

11:04 AM  
Blogger Jenny G said...

Thanks for commenting on my blog! I enjoyed perusing your blog. I agree with your sentiments, but I feel that it is almost impossible to live in our society without relying on man-made, mass-produced items. Our towns are laid out such that we are unable to get around and obtain the things we need to without cars. My boyfriend always goes on about how European towns are more intelligently designed because everything one could possibly need is within walking distance and there are more farmers' markets. People even have communal gardens.

But as evil as some of these man-made things are, some of them are certainly beneficial. The field of medicine comes to mind as one of the industries that benefits from plastic, chemicals and electronics.

I think eventually the world will fall apart and the human race will be forced to rely on the land more as they did in the past, but I don't see that happening anytime soon. As such, it's hard for me to worry about, because I know I'll be long gone before it happens. I guess that's selfish though.

Keep up the intelligent discourse!

11:25 AM  

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