Our lost sense of self.

 

Proprioception from Latin proprius, meaning “one’s own”, “individual”, and capio, capere, to take or grasp, is the sense of the relative position of neighbouring parts of the body and strength of effort being employed in movement” – Physiology of behaviour.

Despite not being in my word processor’s dictionary, proprioception is perhaps our most ever present sense – were you for some reason floating weightless in a pitch black, silent, dark and scentless chamber you would still be receiving constant sensory feedback from within your own body. We could not function without it and yet we take the fact that we can feel our own body’s internal movement very much for granted. Research is beginning to show however that some of us are much better at it than others. Also that some of us are much more adept at feeling some parts of our bodies than other parts, and that we can even lose this sense completely from some parts of our bodies. In fact most people today suffer from some degree from what Thomas Hanna called ‘sensory motor amnesia’ or the loss of the sense of what it is we are actually doing with ourselves. Continue reading

Nonservation

Anyone who is familiar with Taoist philosophy may have heard the term wu wei before. Often literally translated as ‘non-doing’ the concept is an integral part of martial arts like tai chi and bagua and is also vital to the sage Lao Tzu’s idea of good government. The idea that more can being achieved by not doing something than doing something is difficult to grasp when we’re raised in a culture that is based on the opposite assumption. Modern nature conservation is very much based on our society’s belief that to get things done we need to expend a lot of time and effort. Taoists take a different approach, that by stepping back and allowing things to take their natural course – then everything that needs to be done gets done, with no redundant or potentially damaging activity. Continue reading

A sense of place?

I sometimes think that one of the reasons the ecological destruction of this planet has been allowed to advance this far is that as a species we have become largely oblivious to the reality of the world around us. In fact maybe this ignorance could go beyond enabling the degradation of our habitat to being a driving force behind it. Continue reading

Re-wilding our ethics

Despite the lengths we have gone to set ourselves above it, as human beings we exist as part of the ecological community of our planet. We crawled out of the same primordial soup as everything else on earth and when they stop crawling so will we. National park visitor figures alone attest to the need of citizens of modern metropolises to connect with the rest of nature at some point. This eco-tourism is a growing industry and a double edged sword in the hands of nature conservation. Escape from urban environments is essential for our well being, and the revenue generated from such tourism can do wonders for the cause of protecting species and rural communities. However, our appetite for wild experiences – as a contrast to our domestic existence – often results in the taming of the wilds we visit, rather than the wilding of our own lives. Continue reading

Plasticity

So fluid of form,

adaptable in nature.

Innate intellect


is not gained nor lost.

From one state to another,

it shifts like the dunes


moulded by the wind

rolling in off the ocean

of the outside world.

Saw.

As I speak the timber weeps,

tawny tears falling on the leaf litter.


Sticky sweet sap runs down my cheeks

mingling with the spittle from my gears.


The grinding of my teeth tears through bark,

heartwood and bristle,


bringing tumbling the towers

of the kings of wing and whistle.