Monday, 10 September 2012

Humans relationship with nature and a world in peace - PART: 1

For me, human relationship with nature and a world in peace are inextricably linked. I am not claiming to be an expert any more than anyone else is, just a young man trying to understand the world and our place within it. As an animal on this planet like any other, our relationship with the natural world is what makes us who we are and brings us closer to contentment and an understanding of the bigger picture.

In my life, I strive to have the biggest picture view of the world and life as I can. Building on this by (amongst other things) having new experiences, travelling to new places, learning about other cultures, having a thirst for knowledge, understanding the science of things and sharing thoughts with people. The better understanding we have of the world and the way it works, the more we can lead ourselves through life in the best way possible.

This big picture view allows you to keep life in perspective, make rational decisions and help you not get caught up in the little stuff. Imagine the earth from out of space. That glowing ball of life, floating in the midst of an endless black abyss. Then think of yourself within that image and next time something is bothering you, ask yourself the question: 'on the big scale of things, does this really matter? Should I allow this to ruin my day and put a negative on my mood?' Once you are able to tap into this perspective it will help you live a happier and more fulfilled life.

‘The greatest discovery of my generation is that a human being can alter his life by altering his attitude' 
William James

I have come to this thought mainly by my time spent in nature. Being in the natural elements of this world is humbling and inspiring. Seeing life in all shapes and sizes existing harmoniously with each other. Every day I think how lucky I am. For me to be here today, every living creature (my ancestors) from the beginning of life on this planet has survived long enough to have reproduced. They have made it possible for me to be brought into the world and experience the magic of life for myself. As have you... Our family is not only that of blood but every living creature in this world. We are all brothers and sisters in this miracle of life and it is important that we respect this relationship. Albert Einstein once said:

"A human being is a part of the whole, called by us the 'Universe', a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings, as something separate from the rest - a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty. The striving for such achievement is in itself a part of the liberation and a foundation for inner security.”

What I love about his words here is that the mere striving for such a perspective is in itself creating the foundation for being a happier person. Therefore we don’t need to put all the focus on ‘what can I do’ but on trying to be the best you can be and the rest will come. The happier you are, then the more happiness you will spread to others and environments around you will benefit. We can make a better world.

For Part 2 of this Blog entry please click here.

Humans relationship with nature and a world in peace - PART: 2

Every time in nature I feel more connected to the heart of things. Vast oceans teeming with life, mountains shadowing valleys below, wind sweeping across deserts, carrying the sounds and smells of a million places with it, the warmth of the sun on your skin… the smell of crisp fresh air. It is important to take the time to be in nature, think about it all and appreciate the moment you are in.

These things are all awe-inspiring and being in their presence affords you the time to be reflective on life and look objectively on the world. I remember this feeling most on a three month Arctic expedition I was on. That amount of time in nature’s harsh elements forces the clutter of daily life out of one’s head and gives one the chance to look in at the world as 'an outsider'. I remember thinking to myself how incredible our species is to have evolved to do the things we do, but also how lost we are within the way we live with the knowledge we have. The knowledge we have been passed on from a thousand other discoveries from generations before us.

It made me understand where the human ego comes a little more. Think about it. If all of our memories were wiped tomorrow, we would not even be able to tie our shoelaces. Most human beings have this innate feeling that somehow we are better than other creatures on this planet and therefore have the right to abuse the intelligence we have to control and use them for our benefit, without a regard for their lives and wellbeing. But all our intelligence in essence is an accumulation of small discoveries over a long period of time.

The main two things that leaped the human species forward in evolution are opposable thumbs and the potential to communicate with one another. This ability to communicate is what has allowed us to share information over time and build on what people before us have learned about the planet. As incredible as we seem, all we are doing is adding to this and building on experiences before us.

I can see how people can mistake our species for a godlike creature, better than the rest. One that has ‘the right’ to choose what can live and die, suffer or not. But this is not the way to live. Nor is it the way our species will live harmoniously with mother earth and survive in the years to come. We have to respect every element of life and view ourselves as equals to the rest and in striving for such a way of living the world will instantly be a better place.

Every day we find ourselves faced with injustices in this world and I don’t know about you but it makes me incredibly frustrated and saddened. Sometimes my love for life and peoples wellbeing makes my heart want to burst I feel so empathetic. It can really hurt. This empathy and passion is what is driving me to write this piece. I believe that empathy is going to be one of the most important feelings in the coming years of the planet. For one to be empathetic to another and feel compassionate to them is what is going to help us understand and care for our fellow man and creature and stop us causing injustices and fighting for futile goals and killing one another for them. The idea that countries spend billions with the pure aim of creating machinery that kills our fellow man is unfathomable. In the modern day and age and the knowledge we now have it is unacceptable to behave the way we do. I know we are an immature species and have not been around long, but that is no excuse to behave and continue to behave in the immature manner we do.

Our striving to have a better relationship with nature can help us all to have the ability to look at the bigger picture and not get caught up in small things in life. Enabling us to put aside meaningless differences. It will help us take away what I like to call the ‘confused human ego’ and allow us to live a more humble and peaceful existence.

In that picture from out of space we are one. There are no borders, races, and nationalities. We are all people of one home. Let’s start acting that way and use the knowledge and intelligence we have to create a better world.