[incomplete] Participating in the world
May 11, 2022
I want to make some notes about, broadly speaking, “participating in the world”. This is very incomplete, and I would like to both flesh it out and expand on the points below because these things matter a lot to me.
- Reading about indigenous ways of living, in particular Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer, made me realize that it is possible for humans to live in such a way that they can enhance natural ecosystems.
- I think it’s important to combat the notion that the only thing humans can do is harm the natural environment, even if that is what we do for the most part.
- Relatedly, this ties into my views on the messaging that humans should minimize their footprint, the amount of waste they generate, and so on. That messaging is fine, but when things are exclusively like that, then we start to live tentatively, and also our existence is defined by things to reduce and things to not do instead of things to do.
- Even though humans harm the environment for the most part, it is important to remember, and even center, the fact that that’s not the only way we act.
- Further, by centering the things we shouldn’t do, or the things we should reduce, makes us think of being apart from the world, instead of as a part of it.
- And species loneliness is scary too.
- To me, a natural way to combat that cynicism is to look at the world with wonder.
- The world is a big, beautiful, sometimes funny, often profound place, and there are all sorts of things to witness, if we look.
- Observing the world closely is also a way of respecting it.
- Also, for me personally, this is part of a concerted effort of dealing with depression over the years. Whenever I have the energy, I will actively resist the anhedonia and cyninism that comes from being depressed.
also How can wonder transform us?, an essay about Rachel Carson, Earthsea, and wonder in general with regards to the natural world.
And of the moth that first captured my heart in a single moment of pure trembling enchantment? How could I not have known such a joyous thing existed, or that it would inspire such a sense of wonder? A sumptuous beauty in clothed in emerald velveteen that came to mind each time I closed my eyes for weeks after my first sighting.
from The Extravagant Partisanship of the Leek-Green Faction