Close to the Surface

29th January 2020

Understanding the human experience academically and scientifically is undeniably valuable. The more we learn about the human body and mind, the better our medicines, our cities, our devices, our food, and our technologies become. The problem is this isn’t all there is. Understanding the human mind as collections of billions of neurons and pathways connecting is not the same as the experience of being human.

Alan Watts says it succinctly:

A person who thinks all the time has nothing left to think about except thoughts. And so, he loses touch with reality.”

We confuse our thoughts about symbols and signs, language and underlying structures of our society for reality itself. The vast amounts of information we take in are not reality. They are a kind of reality that is divorced from feeling within our skin and bones that we are real, and the world is real. Even turning this into words is trivialising, as you learn how to feel small looking up from the base of a mountain to its peak.

Don’t confuse the world of nature for signs – go out into the mountains and turn off your phone for a minute. Stop reading, looking, learning, planning for just a moment – let your experience of nature bring you back to reality, even just for a moment.

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