There is a pleasure in the pathless woods;
There is a rapture on the lonely shore;
There is a society, where none intrudes,
By the deep sea, and music in its roar:
I love not man the less, but Nature more...
- Lord Byron
In the early 19th century, it did not take long for Byron, otherwise notorious for numerous love affairs, huge debts and scandalous incestuous liaisons, to appreciate an important aspect beyond his love for women.
In the post industrial era, when most parts of the world are governed by democracy and capitalism, there is an unconscious shift of humanity towards anthropocentrism. Anthropocentrism describes the tendency for human beings to regard themselves as the central and most significant entities in the universe, or the assessment of reality through an exclusively human perspective. Time and again there have been movements started and sustained in raising the dignity, importance and relevance of humanity. Every man lives in a society cocooned by human relationships, man-made institutions, working towards ends benefiting humanity. The recent advances in the neuroscience, biology, genetics, psychology and anthropology, have made this point even stronger. Certainly we live in an era where only what is important is “Man” – to a large extent.
There is an urgent need for the society to start accommodating the thoughts on other very important and even bigger and more crucial aspect – the universe itself – its flora and fauna.
The famous American hitchhiker Christopher Johnson McCandless have been aptly shown in the book – “Into the Wild” as saying –
“...but you are wrong if you think the joy of life primarily comes from human relationships. God has placed it all around us. It’s in everything and anything we can experience. People just need to change the way they look at those things”.
The book ends with a deep reflection by the dying Christopher all alone in the wilderness –
“What if I were smiling and running into your arms.
Would you see then, what I see now?”
Pretty profound! Yes, what he saw in his solitary deathly journey in the Alaska was much grander and more beautiful than what he would have seen doing his Harvard law degree and becoming a rich lawyer in Washington, driving a Ferrari, although the trek took his life.
How many among us working as so called professionals are even aware of the passing solstices and equinoxes to start with, leaving aside the Alaskan pristine beauty. Our project schedules are run through calendar dates. We do not even know about the passing seasons; not to say in the cities like Bangalore, where the climate is almost the same throughout the year. Many among us are not even aware of dawn and dusks, being absolutely busy trapped inside our air-conditioned cubicles. Whatever time is left after working as automatons for the multinational companies, that are either spent watching TV, reading escapist novels, visiting malls, shopping, and trying to resolve complex predicaments in interpersonal relationships. Naturally, flora and fauna does not come into the scheme of things of the modern man.
This constricted way of being, hinders people to live life fully, to be aware of the grand beauty of nature. This separation of man from nature causes deep seated neurosis when dealt psychoanalytically. It is not a luxury today to re-establish the connection of man with nature. It is a necessity. Evolutionarily man has emerged from the lap of nature. If he does not re-establish this lost connection of his with nature, he will be unable to reach his full potential as a human. He will be stunted to live a constricted potentiality of his, in his journey of life.
Creativity, human ingenuity, novelty, and out of the box thinking, have all become such a clichéd today. I feel these are just accidental outcomes, out of addressing other totally orthogonal needs of mankind. One of those symbiotic needs is re-establishment of his connection with nature. The first step would be to start thinking out of the box of anthropocentrism.
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