Escaping the entanglements of technology in nature

Carol Wright

By A Contributor

I wish Richard Louv was running for President of the United States. Maybe, if he were to be elected, the author would show us just how much we need a high dose of vitamin “N.”

In this case, vitamin “N” represents Nature. Without vitamin “N” there would be no mind-body-nature connection. We would suffer. Everything within the environment would suffer along with us, which would mainly be due to our neglect, carelessness and insensitivity.

If we yearn for a better life, if we want to live longer, be healthier and happier, we need to listen to what Louv says in “The Nature Principle: Human Restoration and the End of Nature-Deficit Disorder.”

Louv believes that the world outside our doors and windows can heighten our senses. It’s never too late for any of us to re-acclimate ourselves and continue to sustain this bond with nature. It isn’t easy to do. Although technology can cause more harm than good, Louv believes that it is possible to achieve a balance among nature, technology and human relationships. He, in turn, achieves this goal by providing readers with his own personal experiences as well as recording the experiences of others.

It can be said that we have allowed e-mail, fax machines, iPhones and iPads to take over and rule our lives, which takes us away from nature. Sometimes Louv himself gets tangled up in the frustration that technology can bring.

But there is something outside his office window that breaks the spell for him. “[A] spotted towhee dancing in the leaves, doing its comical back-kick in search of bugs.” From his observations and studies Louv concludes “the more high-tech we become, the more nature we need.”

He admits that some technology is useful such as,  the Internet, wind-generated power, machines of convenience, but it can be taken too far.

Louv introduces his readers to Larry Hinman, professor of philosophy and director of the Values Institute at the University of San Diego. Hinman, who has been involved in studies of the evolution of robots, interviewed a scientist who believed that machines without “entanglements” were to be considered a positive feature.

From that perspective, Hinman could see a connection between the environment and human entanglements.

An example of this can be seen in Japan. Louv writes that demonstration robots are becoming “eerily humanlike” there.

A life denatured is a life dehumanized as Louv and Hinman observed in Japan when one robot newscaster reads the news on television and “virtually no one noticed.”

Another example of an evolving dehumanized world occurred when a different scientist created a basic prototype with features belonging to his own young son who commented, “Aren’t I enough, Dad?” Naturally, it was offensive and devastating.

Much of “The Nature Principle” picks up where “Last Child in the Woods” ended. In that publication, Louv discussed the disconnection between children and nature.

What developed is now known as the Leave No Child Inside movement. Louv stresses the importance of children playing outdoors and encourages them to be more than a couch potato.

This movement has been adopted in nearly 30 regions in 21 states, including Canada, Australia, Holland and Great Britain. People in these areas have come to respect Louv’s concern that direct exposure to nature is essential for the physical and emotional health of children and adults.

Of special interest to some readers is what Louv defines as a natural remedy for mental illness.

Being ‘in nature’ is self-healing, and those with a mental illness can benefit from a connection with nature. The connection is quite strong and, in some cases, it might help lessen the side effects that people can get from taking certain prescription medications and over-the-counter drugs.

Nature can help refresh our minds and bodies. Humans can only take so much anxiety,  depression and stress. We can learn a lot from what the environment teaches us. But we can’t leave everything, all our problems, trials and errors, up to nature to solve.

  That vitamin “N” is right outside our homes. Why rely totally on the daily ritual of taking vitamins and other supplements, forgetting the most essential vitamin that could save us from a lot of physical, emotional, and mental pain?

  After reading Louv’s insightful work, is it any wonder why nature rebels against us. The animal and plant species understand more than we do.

  Think about it. By connecting and reconnecting with nature, we can reap a variety of benefits. All of us might actually get along for a change.

  “The Nature Principle” is about the power of living in nature. Louv convinces readers that through a nature-balanced lifestyle we can grow socially and economically taller.

Carol Wright is a freelance writer who resides in Winfield.

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