reflections on henry thoreau
we need the tonic of wildness…At the same time that we are earnest to explore and learn all things, we require that all things be mysterious and unexplorable, that land and sea be indefinitely wild, unsurveyed and unfathomed by us because unfathomable. we can never have enough of nature.
the vestiges of nature which we so often attempt to choke, reveal a terrible beauty which we will forever be reverent of. that is what happens when you come across a moment in which she breathes and allows you time to exhale.
although our arrogance prevents us to accept her torturous devices, we have moments of catastrophe which reminds us of our foolishness.
in what some may call reality, this scene is preserved by earth moved to protect it from the waters which are nearly two meters higher and would otherwise by nature’s will swallow all of its tranquility in an instant. this is the reminder of our fragility which is negated by too many too often; the hypnotic movements of the water and the sky, their reflections dissolve our concerns in these rare moments and transport us to another place within.
live in each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influence of the earth.
our need to capture such moments however detracts from this effect and often root us to the banks where we longingly stare at the reflection on the screen of our device instead. i suppose this urgency also arises from the knowledge and experience that peace is an eternally elusive condition and nature is volatile.
but if it becomes still within us, the din of our thoughts makes room for different awarenesses. the contemplative value is far beyond anything we can create an app for; how to concentrate, how to sleep, how to meditate, how to… how to. it reveals the conditioning and subsequent loss of our abilities to reflect. any contribution we own takes the form of the highest currency: data.
the arguments for the benefits of technology always triumphs from the point of material gains and improvements but it fails in considering an alternative. the question of whether technology has had a favourable impact, is balanced by the fact that it has also had an unfavourable effect. next arises the ‘can’t do without it’ debate, which sees the priorities of the effects in a different perspective. as the proverbial ‘those who are without sin…’, many will not give up their comforts for a greater good.
thus we suffer at our own hand and it becomes even more important to become aware of our immediate surroundings, instead of those of others. we unknowingly use these as escape or cathartic moments which essentially removes us from the here and now. the empathy which truly serves us is our own.
however mean your life is, meet it and live it; do not shun it and call it hard names. it is not so bad as you are. it looks poorest when you are richest. the fault-finder will find faults even in paradise. love your life, poor as it is. you may perhaps have some pleasant, thrilling, glorious hours, even in a poorhouse. the setting sun is reflected from the windows of the almshouse as brightly as from the rich man’s abode; the snow melts before its door as early in the spring. i do not see but a quiet mind may live as contentedly there, and have as cheering thoughts, as in a palace.