Today, our shrinking world is increasingly homogeneous, increasingly impersonal, increasingly sensorial. What I want to talk about is the lack of real experience we have.
All day, many people consume bleached white bread, watch false life in a glowing box, reading books of facts in vain attempts for knowledge. We can, in a day, go largely anywhere in the country and find interchangeable stores filled with interchangeable goods produced by interchangeable workers in faceless factories half a world away. We are quickly becoming the Eloi of The Time Machine. Think about it. What was the last thing you did that you felt truly alive doing? What made you feel alive? Rush towards whatever that was, and do it liberally!
We are alive only a very short time, and how we can rationalize the familiar and accept realities and things that don’t give us joy befuddles me. ” There is no more fatal blunderer than he who consumes the greater part of his life getting his living.” Henry David Thoreau. I find joy in discovering, in doing, in being present. In our sterile, ubiquitous lives, we often lose contact with our humanity and our connection to nature. “Better than any argument is to rise at dawn and pick dew-wet red berries in a cup” Wendell Berry. There is no reason not to live. There is no reason not to live each moment of our lives as an eternity.
And there are so many skills that we can learn that connect us to our own past and to our nature and to our greater story, and we are losing them in pursuit of the iPhone and instant tea and ubiquitous convince. We have in ourselves everything we need to be fully happy. Perhaps the Beatles said this best — there is nothing you can do that can’t be done. And it is in simplifying that we can keep this at the forefront of our minds.
So, consider doing something the hard way. Get out and try things. Learn. Live. There is a great joy in self-reliance, and even greater joy in self-discovery.
“It is not enough to be busy. So are the ants. The question is: What are we busy about? ” Henry David Thoreau