Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Total Perspective

Those of you familiar with the works of Douglas Adams will certainly recognize the following:

"a tiny little mark, a microscopic dot on a microscopic dot, which says, "You are here.""

It was part of a description of a torture device called the Total Perspective Vortex. The machine worked by letting you, for a short time, see yourself in relation to the infinity of the entire Universe. This perspective would annihilate the soul of any man.

Interestingly, the protagonist Zaphod walked out of the machine even more convinced about his total awesomeness than before. Why? Because the Universe he was in was artificial and created only for him. That made him the most important thing in it.

I can not help to recognize the bane of modern man in this: his relatively recently contracted inability to connect with Nature.

When I write 'Nature' (capitalized) I mean the totality of existence. Not only the Earth with all its life and environments but all of the Universe and even Multiverse. The force that drives change. That creates structure in chaos and at the same time creates chaos from structure. The set of all possibilities.

When people sit on top of a mountain or in some other awesome natural environment or when they look up in the night sky at all the stars, they often remark that it makes them feel small and insignificant. It is their ego-selves speaking.

When you separate your self from all of Nature you are very right in perceiving that what you separated is insignificant. The ego-self does more than that: it also classifies all the rest as the enemy. The result is a totally skewed perspective and experience of existence.

As I wrote earlier, the development of the ego-self is critically important for our individual survival but it is a slowly killing decease if it is elevated into a culture.

It is this culture that causes us to believe that all life experience is triggered by external stimuli. Look around you! People do virtually everything in their power to acquire all the paraphernalia needed to create these stimuli. We need constant entertainment, praise, status, excitement and recognition.

Not surprisingly we need money to acquire those things and our ethics falter in this pursuit. We have narrowed our ethics and morals to the human-centered and in a numbed daze we hunt the rare highs of actualization in the cage of our modern society. In the process we create the economy that drives the lives of those very very few that are best in this form of self actualization and separation.

Read the above a few times and you will see I could have just as easily talked about heroine addicts and their dealers!

I am very happy that I have always been interested in the natural world and that with a bit of age and a few life lessons I have managed to kick the habit.

Tracking, Awareness and all the other earth living skills and, last but not least, Nature itself, have helped me enormously in freeing myself from this destructive and addictive culture.

Bushcraft for me is Earth living and requires no stuff. Unfortunately, and this is the reason I no longer use the term bushcraft, the addictive culture has permeated even the bushcraft community. Bushcraft is now very much about all the stuff you need and the desire for self actualization and a hint of escapism.

Not for me. For me it meant rediscovering that life experience is visceral! That our reality is not defined by separation and external stimuli but is the projection of our unity and connection with Nature.

And now we can get back to the Total Perspective Vortex:

For me total perspective is not that we created a microscopic dot on a microscopic dot saying, "You are here."

For me total perspective is that the microscopic dot on a microscopic dot is the result of all of Nature working together to allow that dot to exist. Without everything around it, the dot could not be there and without the dot the rest could not be there too! More importantly, you and all of Nature feel this force of existence from within! You don't need to constantly stimulate your nervous system to experience life. It will stimulate your spirit from within, sourced from all that is.

And on the dot it says: "You made this dot by being it and everything around it!"

The Pale Blue Dot photograph taken by Voyager I. Probably the most amazing picture humanity has ever taken. One hell of a selfie!