This post will prove to be something a little different. Currently, i am in Arkansas to help someone move back to Dallas. My job is not to load the truck, but to drive it back. Since i am the only person in this particular circle of friends that knows how to drive something bigger than a pickup truck…its what i was asked to do. So, here i sit in a hotel room, typing this post on an iPad. I decided to go without my laptop this time around…mostly to see if i could manage with just this little device. So far, so good. UPDATE – while initially starting this post on my iPad, I was not able to finish it because of demands that I had elsewhere – I am now continuing this post from home on my iMac.
I teach a class on Business Information Systems – which might best be described as an Introduction to Computers and Applications for the non-technical professional. I am constantly amazed at how much electronics cN change over the span of a short period of time. A few years ago, i would never have guessed at how much the tablet computing market would change and how mature the technology would become. I marvel at the Awen driven individuals who dreamed of this technology being a viable part of the business environment.
However, i do catch some grief from friends who remark that i am very technology oriented for an individual who professes a spiritual love for the outdoors. And commentary like this tends to spark the debate over what is “natural”. The discussion usually begins along the lines of man-made items not being “natural” – which I vigorously disagree with. We, human beings, are a part of our environment. The cities we build from concrete, steel and plastics, the vehicles we drive in, the homes we live in – all of that is a natural part of the environment. The problem does not arise from human beings creating things, in my opinion. Instead, it arises when we (human beings) look at our environment as something to dominate, something to use – rather than something to seek harmony with.
Yes, I am advocating that man-made structures are a part of the natural world. Back in the days of “From the Edge of the Circle” I did an entire show on the point that urban Pagans have many aspects of Nature around them. Look, I get the point that man-made structures don’t exactly “feel” natural. I very much get the point that getting away from the perspective of modern, urban living by escaping into the wilds of the wooded areas is great. Trees and uninhabited (by humans) areas are wonderful medicine for me. But at the same time, I feel just as much pull to the Spirits of the Land here in the metro- and urban-sprawls of life. Particularly in the areas where little bites of wild growth is allowed to stand side-by-side with city life, such as the Fort Worth Botanical Gardens area. And there are plenty of examples throughout cities to attest to such aspects.
There are plenty of examples where humans decide that natural is not better. Such as when waterways are diverted because of seasonal flooding to an area. I have never understood why the waterway had to be diverted. Perhaps it would have been better for the human beings to relocate somewhere else in the first place? I am also not a fan of stripping the land for its resources, such as the American Eagles mine near Cripple Creek, Colorado (see the accompanying photo). In instances such as these, where humans seek to dominate their environment rather than co-exist with it – I have problems with the attitude there. The environment, in my opinion, is something we (as humans) exist with – not something that we must dominate and subjugate to our selfish Will. I am sure that there are people around the world that would disagree with my opinion there, but so far, nearly every Pagan and Native American I have managed to query on the topic has been in some manner of agreement with me. I am not saying that this makes me “right” – just that people of a similar Spiritual bend tend to agree with me on this, according to my extremely unscientific personal polling method.
We are part of the Earth, She is a part of us. Of all the creatures placed on this planet, we (human beings) seem to be the most capable of taking care of the issues. And I do believe that this ability makes us unique care-takers in that regard. All it takes is a different mindset. Sure, we will need to re-arrange parts of our economies to make it work. But sitting around and doing nothing will solve nothing. We do not have to change huge parts of our ways of living to make this happen. We do not have to tear down our cities of concrete and steel. We do not have to live in grass and mud huts and eschew the technologies that we have. We just have to find better methods for our energy uses, find ways to exist within our environment…and it can be done. All of this is part of the Natural World….all of it.