A quiet weekend sees me doing nothing in particular but ruminating on how ancient man seems to have been inspired by nature, with some enormously beneficial outcomes:
1. Yoga asanas and martial arts inspired by our animal kingdom to tone the body and keep the mind alert. Cobra pose, monkey style kungfu..you get the idea
2.Incorporating a knowledge of the seasons, the stars, the plan and the animal kingdoms into taking holistic decisions (effect of watching “The Gods must be crazy” I guess!).
3. Meditation gleaned from understanding spontaneity and stillness (yes together!) of nature (think about observing a flower in bloom, a dew drop at dawn or the limitless sky). These have been perceived as doorways into the infinite for aeons…
Man has looked at himself and his relationship with nature to derive meaning.And while it has worked wonderfully well, for the most part the experience is limited to the practitioner.So while the yogic man can experience the bliss of relaxation gleaned from a reading of a cat in repose, and the man who understands the effects of an eclipse on his body and mind is at advantage.
For the unaware, this is of no help at all. You need to participate to reap the benefits for the most part.
On the other hand, Science and society seem to have partnered with a focus on objective outcomes as opposed to participant-centric-holistic outcomes (quite a mouthfull!). So aeroplanes allow people to get from destination a to destination b – which was the end objective – but the bird’s sense of freedom during flight was not important, and therefore not built into the experience. Categorisation was not on ability of a person to experience flight but on ability to pay for the journey and hence we have “business class” but not “athlete class”!
But I guess this is evolving again further. Participation is again becoming a critical component in newer models while keeping objective successes on the anvil as well – fuelled by science’s forays into immersive experiences and technology ubiquity.
A few examples:
A bunch of students recently Built a car that’s powered by likes and shares – a “social” car if there ever was one!
Airlines are speculating options of incentivizing passengers to lose weight.The Nike Fuel band is allowing people to take control of their own life habits. Your performance and not your bank balance will allow you a preferred membership status!
Wii and Kinect are transforming the video gamer from a couch potato into an athlete
Groups like the “slow movement” are teaching people to savour their life better. “Externalities accounting” ensures accountants can no longer take the environment for granted and push down one dollar burgers which cost our environments USD 200 in damage!
All of which makes me think that science and spirituality (for want of a better word) are coming together to make our lives (and our ecosystem) better and sustainable. Now that’s a nice thought?