Being with Nature – Ancient vs Modern People

By Sanjeevi Prasad

Is it possible that ancient people gave their fullest attention to Nature, captured the moments with Nature and expressed the moments through their artistic activities such as painting, sculpture, dance, drama, music etc. due to the absence of electricity, electronics, technology and capitalism? We need to understand the behaviour of the ancient people by exercising our common sense and by using realistic imagination.

Whenever we modern people see a beautiful natural scenery, we tend to take a camera / phone to take photos or record videos. But the ancient people did not have the technological gadgets we have been using for the past few decades. Hence, they captured the natural beauty by building monuments such as temples and pyramids, drawing pictures, creating paintings / sculpture / statues, composing songs / music, writing poems / literature etc. in order to record the moments spent with Nature. There was no newspaper, no magazine, no computer, no phone, no camera and no internet. Perhaps, their motivation was to just enjoy Nature and express their joy by artistic work. Obviously, we cannot directly know what was happening within them.

How can the modern people be attracted to Nature like the ancient people? Technology and gadgets can be avoided for a long duration only by a limited number of people.

It is unrealistic to expect everyone to live without technology and gadgets. Therefore, we have to come up with a way to link our daily living, career, technology and entertainment with Nature.

People, whose professions and daily work involve direct interaction with Nature, get to spend lot more time with Nature in comparison to the professionals in the conventional corporate world. Even if a corporate person goes to a natural locale, how much of the person’s attention is on Nature? Let us consider a CEO who plays golf regularly. Is the person’s attention on Nature? Or is the person thinking about closing a large business deal with one of the fellow golf club members from the corporate world? The priorities are certainly mixed and are not in alignment with Nature. If they are by chance related to Nature, it is only to exploit Nature for benefits. On the other hand, professionals like Indian Forest Service officers get to focus their attention on Nature as part of the daily work itself. Of course, they too have other priorities such as achieving targets, team management, preparing reports etc. But the chances of their attention being with Nature are a lot higher in comparison to the corporate professionals.

We can consider the other categories of the modern people and the common factor is most likely to be that their topmost priorities are not in alignment with giving their fullest attention to Nature without expecting any benefit in return. Even if a person goes for jogging or walking in the park, the basic motivational factor is health / fitness benefits.

Unless one derives specific benefits (real or imaginary), a typical modern person does not have the motivation to being with Nature. So the tendency to exploit Nature for one’s own personal Being with Nature – Ancient vs Modern People benefit is extremely high in the modern age. The obvious root cause is that a capitalist system has been running the world for a long time with focus on monetary targets and consistent revenues. Even a forest department cannot do anything useful without budget. This is the world we have created for ourselves and it is not going to change in the near future. There are glorious exceptions for sure but we have to consider the majority / average. If any change has to happen, it has to start within oneself. It cannot happen from the outside. One has to change oneself first in order to transform the external world.

One of the aims of SNHC Journal is to attract youth to Nature. In general, the modern youth is oriented highly towards career and entertainment. Therefore, being with Nature could be promoted as a career option and a mode of entertainment. They get to enjoy Nature in addition to the excellent career and health benefits. On the other hand, working on computers, watching movies, watching TV and using phone while being in enclosed air conditioned spaces only provide temporary benefits related to career and entertainment. We need to connect the current career and entertainment activities preferred by the youth with Nature. Advertisements on Nature based career and entertainment may be shown during the commercial breaks of live sports event telecasts. This type of campaigns may draw youth towards Nature.

Nothing should be forced on the youth because when one enjoys doing something, the work itself becomes entertainment apart from being highly effective. If one is forced to do something for future benefits without present enjoyment, it is not going to be enjoyable in the present. This internal conflict will manifest as disease later on. Periodic breaks, rest and sleep are certainly required to rest physically and mentally and feel rejuvenated. But the need for entertainment after work reduces significantly because the work itself is entertaining. When one does not enjoy doing something but is forced to do it, one pretends to do it to please others but nothing useful gets done because the work itself is not enjoyable. This is hypocrisy and we all know it by experience.

We should motivate the modern youth to emulate our ancient ancestors (not the recent ones). The historical and archaeological evidences clearly show that the ancient people lived as integral elements of Nature. The youth should realise that they are not isolated entities separated from Nature and that they are only parts of Nature. All of us should remind ourselves of this basic fact on a daily basis so that our thought process is aligned fully with Nature.

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