The world is what we create
Nature- the word itself stirs the imagination in each of us. The more wild a region is, the more “pristine” a forest, then the more incredibly beautiful we perceive it. That love of the natural world is something I find with people from around the entire planet from every culture I have ever encountered.
Maybe there is something more to that, something deeper than what meets the eye. I mean why is it that we see a clean and healthy river as beautiful, yet a pile of discarded tires or batteries as ugly. From a biological standpoint is it possible there is something more instinctive at play here? Deep down inside each of us there seem to be some lessons learned long ago that we each have buried within our brains.
That is what “beauty” actually is – isn’t it? The word describes a feeling; the feeling is created by our brains giving us positive stimulation. Why is it doing that? What’s the point?
Well it boils down to something important, the survival of ourselves as individuals and on the big picture, our entire species. Eating poison is bad, rotten things are seen as ugly etc. It protects us so that we may live on. In the same way that bad feelings may warn us about pending danger and help protect us from harm the good feelings may also help by showing us the way. A natural built-in compass we are given to navigate through life.
Now let’s get back to the beauty of nature. Not long ago I rented a small aircraft to fly over a wilderness area and view it from above. As I looked over the millions of trees below I actually could feel my eyes well up with tears as if something long lost was remembered, something I yearned for. I even choked a bit trying to have a conversation with the pilot. It feels wholesome and “right” to look over a massive swath of healthy trees or to admire a whale and hear its beautiful song. It “feels” good. You see nature is giving us a compass teaching each of us what is right from what is wrong. So “why” would nature’s built in bio-compass teach us that we should protect the health of the forests or the sea? It seems common sense really; we simply won’t have a future without the natural world. Just like teaching us to avoid poison is it so hard to imagine nature is teaching us to avoid destroying the habitat that we are connected too for our own survival? When we level a forest, exploit and damage the sea we are impacting our future as a species and that is very ugly. So follow your instincts – admire an ancient old-growth tree- smell the Balsams and Pine in the forest. Know that wonderful feeling you get is something more than just a great day about to happen. It’s the Earth itself talking directly to you, to each of us.
I sometimes wonder if wildlife that is certainly watching us walk through the forest on a hike or kayaking along is thinking “are they getting it yet?” Perhaps one day more of us will pay attention to our biological -compass and navigate through life in a way that allows our wild neighbors to walk, swim and fly right beside us. For now, we are literally at a cross roads in the evolution of our species. We have never in history been more capable of both great things on a massive scale and also global destruction at the same time. If we choose poorly and don’t listen to our compass, I fear one day the embers of our own species will shine no more like so many other species before us. If we choose well, we will enjoy a long and happy future on the very special living world we call both home and “Mother” Earth.
Photo Credits Anne Fraser