Friday, May 20, 2005


It’s too late. Too much damage as been done to our environment for us to return to pristine forests and lakes. And too much has happened for us to reestablish the balance of nature that animals once were a part of. Yet we live in a society with an ever-increasing number of hopefuls that are trying to turn things around. Probably 80% of present-day research is focused on repairing the damage. We want animals and plants to be returned to surroundings where they can evolve and live in a natural way, rather than locked up in zoos or game farms. We view the disruption of the instinctive ways of any living thing as an odious sin. Except for one – mankind.

But in the midst of our concerns about animal habitat and natural progression, none of us seem concerned that the very essence of humanity is being raped and pillaged like the clear-cutting of forests. Yet no one is protesting those things that interfere with the delicate balance of human nature for humanoids. No one is lying in the road, or blocking a path, to avoid the rape of our conscience, the warp in our emotions, and the sullying of our minds that is so radically disrupting the natural path of our own evolvement. I don’t see ‘The Nature of Things’ or ‘National Geographic’ dealing with this problem. No one is researching with Doctor-Suzuki-dedication why we are less charitable, more deceptive – corrupt. Or why we feel such a need to cocoon in order escape the influence of those who surround us.

Now the biggest problem with this discussion is that it is such a broad and elusive subject that our withered minds cannot comprehend it. So I seek to find a parable that will in a simple way explain it. A parable taken from my own life years ago.

‘The kids are whiny and bored so Roberta loads up her offspring in the car and heads into town. But lo, on her way, a tire collapseth, and she is forced to stop. The wheel nuts hold fast and cannot be loosened. So in her helplessness, without a cell-phone to call for help, Roberta taketh each of her children by the hand and proceedeth to the nearest house down the dusty road. The walk bringeth forth conversation with her children that is surprisingly intimate and enlightening. From their tiny mouths spew emotionally charged child-based frustrations about home and school that do not normally surface at the supper table.

Eventually the hikers descend on a neighboring farmhouse and knock on the door. They explain to the Good Woman that they are stranded and would like to use the phone. The GW welcomes them warmly into her friendly kitchen while chatting with delight at this unexpected company. She pulls out a cookie canister, puts on coffee, and distributes glasses of juice to the children. She offers the use of her phone so Roberta can call Hub for help.

But in the meantime, after communion at the snack table, the GW and Roberta tour the garden and examine her roses. The GW shows young daughter her cross-stitch. The daughter is intrigued and the GW gives her a small bit of mesh and some thread so that she can try this craft. She giveth Roberta a bouquet of fresh-cut flowers and the recipe for the delicious cookies. The Good Man showeth the children his pets and animals and the birdhouse he is building in the garage. He giveth the eldest a bit of wood to build her own. They all laugh and chat and feel the warmth of friendliness, inclusiveness, generosity, and appreciation for each other.’

You see this was life before the natural order of mankind was disrupted. A life of co-dependence, warmth, friendliness, and trust. But with technology our natural emotions of neighborly charity have been erased and while we work feverishly at protecting rivers and beasts, we ignore the damage to our own lives.

Now I know full well that we cannot return to life as it once was. We can not return to a park-and-eat A & Dub where we yelled friendly greetings to strangers in neighboring vehicles and engaged in pleasurable conversations with them on a warm summer evening. You and I know that in today’s world, if we tried to return to "park-and-turn-on-your-headlights-for-service" that parking lot would be utter chaos within two days. There would be drive-by or park-and-fire killings, fights, kidnappings, and all kinds of victimization that we can barely imagine.

In our primitive beginnings, humans instinctively formed links of tribal co-dependence, but because of the risks in modern society, we shun that kind of interaction. Our natural environment is too contaminated, so we search to assuage this instinct with linkages in cyberspace, digital imaging, and e-mails. In the safety of our solitary confinement, we pretend we are part of a co-dependent group. Alone; yet together. Cocooned in solitary confinement in front of computer screens because we need large blocks of real time in order to rid our virtual space of viruses, worms, and Spam, or to attempt to keep up with the hectic pace of modern technology, rather than looking for candid ways to interact with real people in our real world.

And while we flash outwardly the brilliance of generous hearts and kind spirits, darkness resides within from too many hours engaged in a mindset of seeking and destroying the contaminants in our dreamscape environment. The same darkness that makes us flee a violent situation if we might have to become involved, but at the same time willing to stay rooted to the spot to watch the outcome if we are confident we will not be forced to assist.

We are mesmerized in our quest. There is no time to tour the garden or check the roses. Socializing is at a minimum, even though our children need this interaction to observe charity, goodwill, and loyalty. They need real life and community situations to connect the dots so that they can inherit their birthright of tribal wisdom. But we have no time for real-life situations. So without community, and real life connectivity, we have become a society threatened by the loss of those basic values that drive mankind’s natural progression.

They say ‘it takes a village to raise a child’ and no doubt that is true. But what is also true is that locked away in front of our computers, away from mentors, away from neighbors, embedded in a virtual world and removed from reality, it only takes one dysfunctional virtual-reality-driven adult to raise a village of dysfunctional real-life children. Children who have ALL computer knowledge, but no ability to knit with others (except their own age group with their own limited level of tribal wisdom) in a common, and all to often, destructive purpose. So, again I ask, when are we going to turn our attention to concern and protest about our own species?

Hub explained this all to me in a simple diagram. A drawing that represented life. It was a sketch of a narrow road and a narrow ditch. Now on the road he wrote things connecting to physical and emotional wellbeing – empathy, charity, helpful deeds, nurturing, group solidarity, and the appendages of these basic emotions – child rearing, compassion, understanding, sensitivity to others. Then down that same road he introduced the monster-beast of technology with its unwieldy appendages – televisions, cell-phones, laptops, thinkpads, arcades, computer games, casinos. The road was so narrow and the monster-beast so large, that it pushed all that other stuff in the ditch.

So then the road was widened. It had to be to accommodate the part of life dedicated to learning how to operate this stuff and the endless train of gizmos that kept attaching themselves to the technology bus. But as the road was widened more, the ditches became narrower. Hub tried to keep the other stuff near at hand by placing it on the edge of the road or in the ditches. But soon the continual widening of the road led to complete removal of the ditches and the bits and pieces of emotionally interactive stuff he had stashed there.

The drawing aptly explained to me how the evolutionary disruption of humankind’s existence has led to a loss of conscience and intuition. We have become custodians of virtual reality without conscience rather than custodians of the planet with real-life conscience. That is how the balance of nature and the evolution of man is being corrupted. That is the disruption that is leading to the extinction of our primeval instincts for child nurturing, intuition, loyalty, charity, a common sharing of skills and values, and our natural will to lend a hand to our fellowman.

Now where’s Green Peace? I have a story to tell them!


Anonymous Rich D said...

Like it.
though I am a self-confessed technology lover, I do maintain some sort of romantacism about the days before it. And I love getting away from it all, anyway. I always end up finding out more about myself or other people when I do for a significant period of time.

5:14 PM  
Blogger Roberta said...

Hi rich d. Haven't had a visit from you for a while. I don't love technology much, don't understand it much, but I do like writing blogs. Good thing I'm not in love with technology the way I am with writing or I might as well crazy-glue me fingers to the keyboard and me hind-end to me chair.

But romanticism exists as well, that's what I write about more oft than not.

Thanks for sharing thoughts on this post.

10:45 PM  
Anonymous Dick said...

Wise words, Roberta...

12:29 AM  
Anonymous Rich D said...

Ahh, but I'm often around.
It has been a while since I've said hello, though, and for my rudeness, i apologise!

5:00 PM  

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