“Nerve-Shaken and Over-Civilized…”

Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wildness is a necessity” -John Muir

The Protestant work ethic (or should I blame our troubled relationship to money and a socio-economic system dependent on the mindless consumption of material goods?); whatever myriad factors are at work here, it’s clear that it is leaving us drained, exhausted and confused as to why it is so damn hard to carve out a place of true civility in our lives. As the naturalist and environmental philosopher John Muir points out, wildness is necessary.

Living in a state of nature, in that state of grace that allows us to simply inhabit our lives and be, is as necessary to life and living as oxygen is in the air we breathe. We are an intrinsic part of the natural world and we are diminished mentally, emotionally and physically when we are deprived of communion with her nurturing elements.

Two things need to happen. One, we need to get a handle on our work lives, re-examining our relationship to money and why we’re here. Two, we need to explore the possibility and potential for living in greater alignment with the realities of the natural world. Climate change is real. To the extent that the natural world is catastrophically altered, our lives will be as well. Just say’in.

I think there is hope if we each in our own way make an effort. To that end I was very pleased to hear a podcast from CBC Radio’s program Ideas. It’s called “The Illusion of Money.” Part 1 is here. Part 2 is here.

There may be hope for us yet.