I was talking with someone recently about people’s vulnerabilities, accepting and opening up to ‘others’, and how perhaps space that might allow our essential selves to simply breath ‘with others’ is increasingly less available in our current culture.
We build mechanisms, we wear uniforms, we sedate and stimulate ourselves, we clothe ourselves; to fit in with cultural norms. Essential feeling and thought can be built on, weighed down, swamped, suffocated, buried or sealed in with synthetic habits and routines. Perhaps.
Perhaps similarly the 1970’s entertaining ‘Wacky Races’ stories see numerous characters racing against each other hoping to win the title of the “World’s Wackiest Racer.”
A recent spate of TV ‘entertainment’ programmes have focused on escaping to ‘the wild’ and nature.
Kevin McCloud in his ‘entertaining’ Escape to the Wild (Channel 4), talks about the “Crazy hamster wheel existence… there’s a bigger world out there…”
He suggests that at some level we all seek escape, beauty, paradise…
The program follows people ‘resilient’ and ‘prepared’ to pursue a pared down existence… in pastures new. It highlights various people quitting wacky/rat races, often for a much wilder, more natural existence… People moving towards a ‘wilderness’; the wilds, an uncultivated, uninhabited region?
While the human mind is significantly shaped by our culture, perhaps it must also be inspired by the wild natural world. One could argue; we cannot understand ourselves without including our relationship with a wider natural. As Emerson said, “The happiest man is he who learns from nature the lesson of worship.”
But what of the ‘civilisation’ that we try to escape from? The people that we love, the people we hate, the people that have helped provide our education, our nurture, our bread, water, our trophies and treasures. What of the meddling, ungrateful, arrogant, dishonest, jealous and surly shadows we attempt to leave behind.
We are essentially breathing, when we stop, we die. Perhaps when we just forget about simply breathing we also die a little. Perhaps our natural breath is all around us, both in the sunshine and the shadow.
It seems to me we often focus on the natural to see outside of our (constructed) selves… We can be like Beckett’s Hamm and Clov and pine that “Nature has forgotten us… There’s no more nature…” or perhaps we have forgotten the natural and just need to find it once more?
I recently watched Maidentrip, Laura Dekker’s truly inspiring film about her decision to pursue her dreams and to sail alone around the world at the age of 14!! Intriguing – lots of questions! http://www.maidentrip.com/
A choice; construct or constrict? Only you and I make a difference.
Kevin McCloud and Escape to the Wild (Channel 4), can be seen here: http://www.channel4.com/programmes/kevin-mcclouds-escape-to-the-wild
Ben Fogle and New Lives In The Wild (Channel 5), can be seen here:
Arthur Williams and Flying to the Ends of the Earth (Channel 5), can be seen here:
Laura Dekker’s truly inspiring story Maiden Trip can be seen here: http://www.maidentrip.com/