Denes McIntosh: On the natural world
There is an inherent equalizer in the natural world, in the beauty of nature, in its profundity, and in its incomprehensible power. I think, however, that people have forgotten that we, in fact, are very much a part of nature, not separate from it, but integrally connected.
We speak of nature as if it is a place we visit, or something we live in the middle of. We speak of animals as though they are natural (part of nature), but of ourselves as a collection of intruders. Can we please put to rest, once and for all, this ridiculous division?
In a divisive world, where everything and everybody is divided into “this and that” or “them and us,” could we not at least embrace the totality of what we are? We are the embodiment of nature just as profoundly as the Grand Canyon, or an old redwood tree, is. As certainly as a black bear living in a cave, or a bird nesting in the branches. Who would consider any of these to be separate from nature?
I believe that everything in life is connected to something that has gone before it. I also believe the development of most attitudes, behaviors, lifestyles, communities, politics, religions and belief systems are born of, and perpetuated by, some form of connection to an incomplete, or inadequate, premise. In this case, that we are separate from nature.
History shows us that, as people, we have not co-existed equally, or peacefully with one another, except for brief moments in time, and even then, only in small groups. Could it be that, because we have failed to embrace, or even acknowledge, our own integration in the most foundational, fundamental, and elemental, of all groupings, the natural world, that we now find it all-but-impossible to co-exist around a concept, or even in a world, of our own faulty design?
As we all know, in building a house if the foundation of the house is not level we cannot expect the rest of the structure to be? In living, if we deny our own inclusion in the natural world, can we also expect to co-exist with, or within, it?
If I am born into a family, but deny connection to it, and instead consider myself to be from, but not of, that family, can I expect to feel integration with them? Or even camaraderie?
If I consider myself to be elevated, better than, or more important than, the others, can I find union, with, or among, them? Of course not. And yet that is exactly what we have done in relation to nature.
We are born as an element of nature, as a component of, and in union with, its totality. But we have separated ourselves from it, considering ourselves to be elevated, rather than integrated, and then we expect life, from that faulty premise, to work out in our best interest, and to our own advantage.
By any degree of fundamental logic, it is easy to understand that those who show little respect for nature usually exhibit minimal respect for others, and for themselves as well, effectively validating my conviction.
Denes McIntosh lives in Grass Valley.
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