More than once, the saying, “It’s like the pot calling the kettle black,” has come across my mind while in class. David Abram wrote of a disconnect from nature, of a devaluing of the basic sensuous experience through such things as manufactured goods and classifying nature. I thought it to be very odd, that one who believed manufactured goods to destroy the wonder of nature to write and produce a book. Society is made of nature, surrounded by it, and runs on it. We may not openly acknowledge the presence of nature, but we embrace nature in a new way.
David Abram calls for people to become connected to nature. I would argue that we already are. I may not have gone to Nepal and meditated upon the wonder of a spider in the midst of a monsoon, but that doesn’t mean that I’m disconnected. I walk to school, admiring the clouds and the plants that I see. Even in the middle of a lecture class, I take time to think about the elements of nature that have made my notes and homework possible. This kind of sensuous experience is the sensuous experience of our day. It is more concerned with acknowledgement, then communion.
People who can connect with nature amidst the “disconnect,” represent the new age of sensuous experience. Just as religious freedom today is very different from what it was during the founding of our nation, sensuous experience today is different from our hunter gatherer ancestors. Hunters and gatherers, lived in direct contact with the earth, and that effected how they interacted with the earth. They connected through ceremonies that involved their direct contact with earthly elements. While we live in our well furbished houses, with heating and cooling, we show reverence to the earth in a different way. We use certain kinds of building materials and employ certain building methods. Household plants, greenhouses, personal gardens, and even lawns are the new age of sensuous experience. They show that even though man no longer lives directly in nature as he once did, he still desires to be surrounded by it.
Some would argue that there is no new age, only disconnect. I respectfully disagree. If we are to maintain the things we have, the society that provides life saving medical procedures, pictures to preserve memories, and the ability to provide relief to people in need half a globe away, we must also maintain the society that made these things possible. Society did not reject nature, nor did it forget it. Rather, this new society saw the need to have buildings, manufactured goods, and order; then looked for ways to preserve nature’s presence in it. This gave rise to parks, landscaping, and other public and personal displays of nature. This is a manifestation of the new age. One that cannot be close to nature the way its ancestors were, but strives to keep the presence of nature.
I do not have to go to the remote wildernesses of the world to see nature. The stone, the wood, it all comes from nature, the manufactured goods, still draw from the richness of the earth. In this way I am connected with nature. Our ancestors reverenced the earth with their ceremonies, we shouldcon reverence it in how we use it.