Greetings all; it's been a few days, a few crazy-busy days, as my household gears up and dives into end of the school year happenings. We've hit the weekend now, though, not just any weekend, but THE weekend, that 3 day stretch of fun and freedom, Memorial Day weekend. Not just for beach and barbecue fun, though. Let us not forget all those currently serving, those waiting to be called up, and those that have done their duty to family and country. Thank a veteran if you know any, and if you don't, take a moment amid your weekend revels and spare a thought for all of those who have, and are, giving themselves for their countries.
In my last post I shared a summer reading list; I have commenced, and in fact just finished the first part, namely Ralph Waldo Emerson's incomparable essay Nature, which is not about nature, as one might expect, but rather the human mind, and how it relates to, and relies on nature for its completion and wholeness.
What are we, who are we, in relation to the world around us? This is what Emerson wishes us to understand: "The beauty of nature reforms itself in the mind, and not for barren contemplation, but for new creation." It is only through an appreciation of nature can mankind achieve wholeness. And if we fail to properly observe and appreciate our interconnectedness and reliance upon nature we, as well as the world around us, will be doomed: "The problem of restoring to the world original and eternal beauty is solved by redemption of the soul. The ruin of the blank that we see when we look at nature, is in our own eye."
There is a sickness in this world, a sickness of greed and violence, and it's destroying us, and our world with it. I don't mean pollution or deforestation, or any of the other very valid environmental concerns the planet is facing. I mean the world around us, humanity itself. We live in a world where children are abused and mistreated; Emerson, himself a father, recognized in children the world's saving grace: "The sun illuminates only the eye of the man, but shines into the eye and heart of the child. [...] ...in the thick darkness there are not wanting gleams of a better light...with reason as well as understanding. Such examples are...the miracles of enthusiasm (which can be perceived as hope -NKP); prayer; eloquence; self-healing; and the wisdom of children." Children are our greatest hope, and yet perhaps one of the least-treasured aspects of this world. We live in a world where gentle creatures are raised for not greater purpose than to become food (and I'm not placing any blame of those of you who love a juicy steak--my husband is one of you), and are raised in horrific conditions and maltreated, simply because they can be. People of this world are living in abject poverty and filth, unable even to have clean water, only in part due to their circumstances, and largely due to pollution. Entire species of animals are becoming extinct as I type this; children are dying of starvation. Our world, our very humanity, is diseased, and there doesn't seem to be a cure.
People care, I know they do. We see evidence of this every single day. Unfortunately, there aren't enough of us to fend off the growing threat of soul-sickness. More of us have to be willing to try, to give, to believe. It's difficult, I know. We have obligations, we have our own problems, we have our own needs, and we have to take care of those. Somehow, we have to find some kind of balance, before it's too late to save all of us.
"The reason why the world lacks unity, and lies broken and in heaps, is because man is disunited with himself. He cannot be a naturalist until he satisfies all the demands of the spirit. Love is as much its demand as perception. Indeed, neither can be perfect without the other." ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1836