This post is inspired by the work of Jon Young and other Nature Mentors talking about culture repair through nature connection. Learn more here.
Nature Connection & Culture Repair
Nature connection is about optimising the human capacity, its about being fully human, nurturing the whole person with ingredients that have been doing the job for millennia. But we have lost our way. Rising discomfort, disorder and disillusionment. Rising disparity, disconnect and depression. In that sense nature connection is about returning something forgotten to our culture.
This post gives an example of one of the learnings inspired by nature. In so doing it demonstrates the mechanism by which deep connection to nature helps to form better human beings.
When talking about culture repair we are led to ask, "well, what's broken?"
In this case its our ability to reconcile difference in a world that is bringing us closer and closer together. We speak about multiculturalism but we are not very good at it. We're not sure how much integration is appropriate, how much separation? How much difference are we supposed to tolerate? On one side the cultural relativists and on the other the ethnocentrists.
Its not an easy question to answer. We don't have good examples of how it can work. We haven't been instructed in multiculturalism, so we pretend we know what it is and then fumble our way through, offending and alienating with every well intentioned, sometimes ill intentioned, twist and turn.
How Nature Can Help
Nature doesn't give us the answers in a traditional way. We must learn be being. We learn by seeing, listening, feeling and joining in the dynamic processes that continuously unfold to reveal the complexity and perfection of ecology. By witnessing nature we bare witness to our own.
And in nature one of the things we find in staggering abundance is diversity. The more we look the more we find. In fact we discover that diversity is essential to healthy ecology. Monoculture crops are devastating bee populations. Nature shows us that diversity is essential. In fact it is diversity that draws our attention to nature. We are in awe at the variety of species, variations within species, habits, practices, mechanisms, connections, adaptations, rituals, habitats etc. that characterise the natural world.
And yet we find it so difficult to accommodate difference in our own global culture-ecology. It scares us. It separates us. It fills us with hate and judgement. And I am not talking only about one side of politics here. The left is as hate-filled as the right when it comes to diversity.
So how do we do it? How do we become more accepting of diversity. How do we begin to celebrate it, encourage it, recognise the value of it in a healthy system? I'm not sure. But what I do know is that the more time I spend in nature, the more connected I become, the less fear, hate and separation I feel. The more I welcome difference. The better I'm able to listen.
We do not have a model of multiculturalism to follow. We do not have a roadmap for globalisation that will ensure it benefits more than it destroys. So we must pave the way. One thing is certain. All of us, no matter or culture or creed, are part of this planet. We are all connected to nature. It is our shared language. And its a good place to start when asking ourselves how we are to live together.