countering boredom. eisenstein writes in the ascent of humanity, ‘All the causes of boredom are permutations of the interior wound of separation. Aside from the impoverishment of our reality, we are uncomfortable doing nothing because of the relentless anxiety that dominates modern life. This in turn arises from the paradigm of competition that underlies our socioeconomic structures, which (as I will explain in Chapter Four) is written into our conception of self. Second, we desire constant stimulation and entertainment because in their absence, we are left alone with ourselves with nothing to distract us from the pain of the wound of separation. Finally, technology contributes directly to boredom by bombarding us with a constant barrage of intense stimuli, habituating our brains to a high level of stimulation. When it is removed, we suffer withdrawal. We are addicted to the artificial human realm we have created with technology.’
‘… from despair comes surrender, and from surrender comes an opening to new beliefs, a new conception of self and world. From this might come a new way of relating to the world; that is, a new mode of technology no longer dedicated to the objectification, control, and eventual transcendence of nature’–a destruction of the pervasive illusion of self, and thus separation from and control of nature–The Ascent of Humanity, ch. 1, part 3
The Ascent of Humanity by Charles Eisenstein
‘the majesty and madness of human civilization’, cool
it’s all up to me. for me. for you, it’s all up to you. for him, paul chefurka learned it wasn’t ‘my job to save the world, but rather to act as authentically as I could, and let destiny take care of itself.’ wanting to save the world is an illusion, an attachment that can lead to despair and frustration. better to be joyful, to dance and sing, to taste reality truly, madly, deeply. only in saving yourself is there any hope of saving others.
we humans are driven by purpose. in that purpose we face a choice, a question of direction: towards asserting ourselves in a technocratic wonderland or towards finding a balance with the rest of nature. however, john fowles states, ‘i am not one of those supreme optimists who think all the world’s ills, and especially this growing divide between man [sic] and nature, can be cured by a return to a quasi-agricultural, ecologically ‘caring’ society. … the majority … is now urban …. a very significant tilt of balance in human history is expected by the end of the coming decade : over half of all mankind will by then have moved inside towns and cities. any hope of reversing that trend … is … tiny.’ (‘the green man’, the nature reader, 133)
i grew up in farmland in the 60s but now live in town. two of my kids live in cities. i’m comfortable with both frogspawn and HTML; they with canoes and ipads. they claim too comfort with nature, but what has been lost in fifty years, a hundred? what did i miss in the 60s that anishinaabe had for centuries? what will the future don’t know it’s missing from the past?
growing up in the country was formative, shaping my values, direction, purpose. if most of us live urbanely, however, where are we going, then? or what are we missing? fowles says we purpose-driven apes lack purposelessness, find it hostile and alienating. for nature ‘appears to hide nothing, nothing but a green chaos at the core’ (139). as someone observed, the purpose of life is life. anything more is illusionary striving, leading to frustration and suffering. it seems we still have to learn in our question of direction that wherever you go, there you are.