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Author Topic: The Disconnecteds  (Read 2601 times)

Waldhexe

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Re: The Disconnecteds
« Reply #15 on: January 01, 2018, 07:06:07 am »
TBH, yes. Several of my friends are so not in-tune with nature that when they want to go on hikes, they ask me to come so that I know how to guide them out of the forest and "back to civilisation" in case they get lost. That or die from eating the wrong berry.

Part of me honestly questions if this has to do with one's upbringing and/or nature. In grad school for my MST in Education, we were taught about Howard Gardner's Multiple Intelligences theory (read about it here), in which he proposed each person has intelligence(s) in different areas, such as arts, speaking, mathematics, and the such. Originally it was just seven, and then expanded to eight to include naturalistic (in '95), and he's proposed two more - existential and moral. However, I'd think a person not having these natural inclinations could nurture them if they were in the correct environment, i.e., if their families encouraged outdoor play, went out camping, etc, OR if they had a profound experience that made them think about developing that inclination into an intelligence over time.
That's interesting!

I read in a kindergarten education book that there are two types of orientation: egocentric and ecocentric, and that it's also often a cultural thing.

Egocentric means you learn left and right, forward, backwards - ecocentric means you learn north, east, south, west. The example in this book was that there are cultures which would say "may left hand" and others would say "may northern hand" (don't know how accurate this is).

But anyhow it made me think about different forms of orientation in big cities versus wide landscapes. In a big city it's much harder to tell the compass direction when you can't always see where the sun is, so people often use description like turn left/right etc. while in wider landscapes it can be more practical to know in which compass direction you have to walk (especially when you got lost and can't find the marked hiking trails).

Waldhexe

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Re: The Disconnecteds
« Reply #16 on: January 01, 2018, 01:16:42 pm »

Maybe this fits to the topic...

Lately a German nature journal posted a test on knowledge about plants and animals in Germany. I took this test.

It consisted of pictures of plants/tree leafs, birds and insects and I had to name them as accurately as I could. (F.ex. if you name the Asian Ladybug "Asian Ladybug" you got full score, if you name it "Lady Bug" or "Bug" you got only parts of the full score.)

They just emailed me the results: I got 54% of the score and they say that's roughly the average score of all the people who did the test.

Since most people who did that test are either readers of the nature journal or active environmentalists (the test was also posted on the webpage of one of the largest national environmental organisations here) they say they wonder what the rest of the population would have scored...

On the other hand I must say some stuff was really difficult. F.ex. there were a lot of insects I couldn't name so specifically.

There are the first test results (in German, but there are also the pictures of the plants and animals of the test):
http://www.naturwerke.net/naturwerke.dll/g23TPSLGQKUS6~wCPN4vmW/$/

Yei

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Re: The Disconnecteds
« Reply #17 on: January 02, 2018, 06:26:44 pm »
TBH, yes. Several of my friends are so not in-tune with nature that when they want to go on hikes, they ask me to come so that I know how to guide them out of the forest and "back to civilisation" in case they get lost. That or die from eating the wrong berry.

Part of me honestly questions if this has to do with one's upbringing and/or nature. In grad school for my MST in Education, we were taught about Howard Gardner's Multiple Intelligences theory (read about it here), in which he proposed each person has intelligence(s) in different areas, such as arts, speaking, mathematics, and the such. Originally it was just seven, and then expanded to eight to include naturalistic (in '95), and he's proposed two more - existential and moral. However, I'd think a person not having these natural inclinations could nurture them if they were in the correct environment, i.e., if their families encouraged outdoor play, went out camping, etc, OR if they had a profound experience that made them think about developing that inclination into an intelligence over time.

However, that last bit does involve a lot of privilege and a certain socio-economic class. For example, many of my students have never been to a zoo before we went to the zoo this month (December). Reason why: most of my students' parents work many jobs to support their families and survive in the hell-hole that is NYC (hell-hole in regards to rent).

I was just doing some religious reading and was reminded of an interesting element of the Mexica Atlcahualo ritual. According to Diego Duran, part of the festival involved the people, both men and women, going into cornfields and orchards to touch plants and flowers. Sometimes these flowers were picked and taken to temples as an offering. I think that this ritual was intended to maintain the connection between the urban population, the rural landscape, and nature, while showing appreciation for new plant growth.

I think we could use a ritual like this.

Hariti

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Re: The Disconnecteds
« Reply #18 on: January 05, 2018, 07:53:24 pm »
I suspect that culture plays a role. I have read several books (a long time ago) that have asserted that US people are considerably more disconnected from nature than Europeans and Australians, especially in the topic of food and where it actually comes from.

I would believe that. I live smack in the middle of Kentucky, which is closer to nature than most of the USA, and only about 1/10 folks I know have gardens, and actual commercial farmers are even less common. On the topic of Stars, Kentucky has less light pollution than some places, but I don't know the stars, nor do most people I have met know them. In general, even in the more rural parts of America, people are pretty thoroughly disconnected from nature.

Granted, in Kentucky at least, this is a new and recent development. When my father was growing up in the 60's, there were few restaurants or grocery stores, most people raised livestock, hunted, and had gardens, and people spend at lot of time in the forest and on the farm. In my *grandparents* time people knew the plants and gathered wild herbs, and my grandfather knew all the stars, and even knew how to find his direction using them. It's amazing how much knowledge can be lost in one or two generations.
"The worshippers of the gods go to them; to the manes go the ancestor-worshippers; to the Deities who preside over the elements go their worshippers; My devotees come to Me." ... "Whichever devotee desires to adore whatever such Deity with faith, in all such votaries I make that particular faith unshakable. Endowed with that faith, a votary performs the worship of that particular deity and obtains the fruits thereof, these being granted by Me alone." - Sri Krishna

Castus

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Re: The Disconnecteds
« Reply #19 on: January 06, 2018, 12:25:39 am »
We who are nature-based pagans are particularly attuned to the natural world, granted. But are there really folks wandering around who are that disconnected to the universe they inhabit?
Yes. Hi, it's a pleasure to meet you.

Now I personally live on what is, according to the IRS, a farm. We board horses and between those of the boarders and those we own ourselves we have roughly a dozen horses on slightly over 27 acres. I've grown up used to having a great deal of land (relative somewhat to this area, as NOVA swings wildly between tiny postage-stamps of land with houses on them and vast equestrian estates -- go Virginia) and as a kid I would play outside in creeks, forests, fields and whatnot all the time. Likewise, living at the foot of a mountain and in a heavily forested area I'm used to seeing the full glory of the seasons manifest themselves clearly. To this day I like to think I have an appreciation for nature that stems from this, and I know most of all that I will miss seeing the stars once I move. Light pollution is a big thing here and to be able to see stars clearly -- although not as clearly as in other places -- is a privilege I am sure to feel the loss of.

That having been said I as a general rule have very little use for nature beyond an aesthetic appreciation, however meaningful I may find that appreciation to be. Personally I feel most connected on those occasions when I am out on the property at night but am otherwise unmoved. The truth of the matter is that with few exceptions I don't really like nature/the universe/the world in which I live etc. I think much of that might be attributed to the fact that my disability has always made the great outdoors harder to navigate in the first place, but two decades in I remain unmoved. Nature-based spirituality, especially, has always confounded me if I'm to be honest; in the same manner as one might be confounded by a sincerely charcuterie-based spirituality. I wouldn't say I am disconnected from nature so much as just uninterested. I couldn't spot a constellation if you put a gun to my head, let alone tell you what seasonal flavour it was, and likewise I have no knowledge whatsoever of plants, trees, etc. I just don't care enough to find out. Nature is nice, and nature is certainly useful ecologically but nature qua nature arouses apathy at best.

I tend to hew very strongly to an Abrahamic model of man and nature even when I'm not necessarily working within an Abrahamic tradition; and that model necessarily IMO revolves around a firm understanding of the dominance and preeminence of Man amongst all created things. Which is not to say that the rest of creation should not be wisely managed and protected but rather than the human race is naturally disposed toward civilisation and taming the earth, and that the value of nature can best be measured in its usefulness to mankind -- which can be defined in a variety of ways, from industrial, to ecological, to aesthetic. I privately think that one of the more dangerous effects of the resurgent environmentalist movement in public life, sometime including nature-based spirituality, is that animals and humans are increasingly considered to be on a level moral field; whereas previously it might have been understood that no animal, plant, etc. (be they great blue whale or Sierra redwood) is equal to a human life I feel that such an understanding will probably become much more controversial with the passage of time...

But anyway yes, enough of my rambling. Suffice it to say that I myself am profoundly disconnected from the natural world due to a combination of intense apathy and vague antipathy. Humans and human civilisation are fabulous and I am leery of "back to nature" type hokus.
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Altair

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Re: The Disconnecteds
« Reply #20 on: January 06, 2018, 12:57:19 am »
I tend to hew very strongly to an Abrahamic model of man and nature even when I'm not necessarily working within an Abrahamic tradition; and that model necessarily IMO revolves around a firm understanding of the dominance and preeminence of Man amongst all created things. Which is not to say that the rest of creation should not be wisely managed and protected but rather than the human race is naturally disposed toward civilisation and taming the earth, and that the value of nature can best be measured in its usefulness to mankind -- which can be defined in a variety of ways, from industrial, to ecological, to aesthetic. I privately think that one of the more dangerous effects of the resurgent environmentalist movement in public life, sometime including nature-based spirituality, is that animals and humans are increasingly considered to be on a level moral field; whereas previously it might have been understood that no animal, plant, etc. (be they great blue whale or Sierra redwood) is equal to a human life I feel that such an understanding will probably become much more controversial with the passage of time...

OK. Unsurprisingly, I hold what is, if not the opposite view, a very different view (which is no doubt why I'm a nature-based pagan and have no use for the Abrahamic faiths, personally): that humankind is just one of many organisms interconnected and interdependent with each other. We're special (though not as special as we like to think), but other organisms are special in other ways, and claims of preeminence for any species are dubious at best.

I value human life over those of other living things, but that's because I'm human myself, and I think it's normal to put a higher value on the life of your own kind. I'm not convinced that objectively a human life automatically tips the scales in its favor.

But I digress from the main point. As I've learned from other responses in this thread, it's not uncommon for folks to be disconnected from the natural world around them. And considering your belief system, I see how you would be one of them. It doesn't have to be that way--I know devout Christians who are kickass naturalists--but if that's your way, so be it.
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The last song echoes through the ages / to ask its question all night long / And close the circle on these pages / These, the metamythos songs

Hariti

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Re: The Disconnecteds
« Reply #21 on: January 06, 2018, 02:32:33 pm »
I privately think that one of the more dangerous effects of the resurgent environmentalist movement in public life, sometime including nature-based spirituality, is that animals and humans are increasingly considered to be on a level moral field; whereas previously it might have been understood that no animal, plant, etc. (be they great blue whale or Sierra redwood) is equal to a human life I feel that such an understanding will probably become much more controversial with the passage of time.

That might be a new idea to Abrahamic religions, but it's far from new in other cultures. Hinduism, Jainism, and Buddhism have all placed, at least theoretically, equal value on the lives of animals (including humans) for around two millennia. I personally don't see why this scares you so much, but you have the right to your own moral and theological views, and your own conscience.
"The worshippers of the gods go to them; to the manes go the ancestor-worshippers; to the Deities who preside over the elements go their worshippers; My devotees come to Me." ... "Whichever devotee desires to adore whatever such Deity with faith, in all such votaries I make that particular faith unshakable. Endowed with that faith, a votary performs the worship of that particular deity and obtains the fruits thereof, these being granted by Me alone." - Sri Krishna

Yei

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Re: The Disconnecteds
« Reply #22 on: January 07, 2018, 06:26:42 am »
That might be a new idea to Abrahamic religions, but it's far from new in other cultures. Hinduism, Jainism, and Buddhism have all placed, at least theoretically, equal value on the lives of animals (including humans) for around two millennia. I personally don't see why this scares you so much, but you have the right to your own moral and theological views, and your own conscience.

It also appears common to many Mesoamerican cultures, including Nahua and Maya people. In general, though it has become something of a stereotype, various Native American peoples value the lives of animals, though obviously the details differ according to the cultural group that each nation belongs to.

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Re: The Disconnecteds
« Reply #23 on: January 07, 2018, 06:38:51 am »
That might be a new idea to Abrahamic religions, but it's far from new in other cultures. Hinduism, Jainism, and Buddhism have all placed, at least theoretically, equal value on the lives of animals (including humans) for around two millennia. I personally don't see why this scares you so much, but you have the right to your own moral and theological views, and your own conscience.

Forgot to add: perhaps the reason Castus is uncomfortable with the idea of humans and animals having comparable value, is because, in the western tradition, Nature and Human Civilisation are assumed to be in opposition. Therefore, treating nature well would therefore mean treating people poorly. Echoes of this ideology can be seen in jobs vs. the environment debate.

I think that this ideology is starting to decline in the west as it becomes more and more obvious that this is not the case. On a purely social level, interacting with the natural world can be good for people's mental health. On an economic level, environmental destruction threatens long-term jobs in agriculture and fishing (for example).

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Re: The Disconnecteds
« Reply #24 on: September 27, 2020, 08:38:22 am »
I was leaving a holiday party last night, wearing my new jacket with the star chart on the back for the first time; a friend, studying the back, said "I'm looking for Orion."

"It's not on there," I replied. "These are summer stars; Orion is a winter constellation."

Maybe I was too matter-of-fact Vulcan in the way I said it, because an acquaintance who was in the elevator with us snorted and said, "well of course!"--the clear implication being 'well NOT of course, who could be expected to know this extremely specialized information?' I shrugged, we all laughed about it, and went our separate ways into the night...

...but I feel sorry for the guy. I mean, long before I was pagan (or at least before I knew I was pagan), as far back as a teenager, I knew that seeing Orion in the sky spelled my personal doom, because it meant the winter weather I loathe was upon us. It's not like Orion is subtle, for Pete's sake; it's easily the most recognizable constellation in the northern sky, bar none. Even in the middle of light-polluted cities, it's there blazing. All you have to do is look up; and if you look up more than once in your life, how can you not eventually grasp that Orion is there when it's cold, and gone in the warm breezes of summertime? And even if you missed that fact in your lifetime, is it such a rarified notion that others wouldn't?

We who are nature-based pagans are particularly attuned to the natural world, granted. But are there really folks wandering around who are that disconnected to the universe they inhabit?

I've stumbled across this somewhat elderly thread and wondered how I managed to miss it the first time around, I've found reading it just now so interesting!  So, I've revived it -- hope no-one minds.

That might be a new idea to Abrahamic religions, but it's far from new in other cultures. Hinduism, Jainism, and Buddhism have all placed, at least theoretically, equal value on the lives of animals (including humans) for around two millennia. I personally don't see why this scares you so much, but you have the right to your own moral and theological views, and your own conscience.

I think that this ideology is starting to decline in the west as it becomes more and more obvious that this is not the case. On a purely social level, interacting with the natural world can be good for people's mental health. On an economic level, environmental destruction threatens long-term jobs in agriculture and fishing (for example).

I'm wondering how we're feeling about this aspect of the discussion following the onset of the novel coronavirus?
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