1. Illinois
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    02 Dec '07 18:01
    I was just wondering if anyone else on here has seen the BBC series, Planet Earth, narrated by David Attenborough? I know that nature itself straddles the dividing lines between all belief systems (or lack thereof), and I figured it'd be nice to discuss nature for once in the Spirituality Forum (please, no evolution talk). Share your relationship with nature and wildness, and your personal views on it. Thoreau once said, "in wildness is the preservation of the world." I tend to agree with that. What do you think?

    The Planet Earth DVD has floored me. True wildness has always frightened me to the core (at least initially). I think only insane people are fearless when mountain lions and grizzlies are on the prowl (e.g., that guy from the documentary, "Grizzly Man" ). I have a tremendous respect for nature's lack of respect for anyone. The dreadful beauty and brilliance of the natural economy is what impresses me most. In nature I see the providence of the Creator; i.e., in the perfect tilt of the earth, the placement of the moon, etc. Undoubtedly, nature itself is a bloody claw without a heart, but nevertheless its design instills in me nothing less than awe and wonder.
  2. Hmmm . . .
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    02 Dec '07 19:055 edits
    Originally posted by epiphinehas
    I was just wondering if anyone else on here has seen the BBC series, Planet Earth, narrated by David Attenborough? I know that nature itself straddles the dividing lines between all belief systems (or lack thereof), and I figured it'd be nice to discuss nature for once in the Spirituality Forum (please, no evolution talk). Share your relationshi hout a heart, but nevertheless its design instills in me nothing less than awe and wonder.
    Nature is not one-sided. Nature is the source of life as well as death, flourishing as well as decay, joy as well as pain. I think it is an error to believe that one ought to be exempt, that one species is by its nature entitled to an exemption.

    A number of years ago, my wife and I moved to the country to be more in touch with it. When you walk through the forest, you become aware of being noticed by the non-human creatures. I once walked a ways parallel with a coyote—until our eyes met. She had noticed me and I had noticed her, but it was only when she noticed that I had noticed that she broke into a trot and veered away.

    We have seldom seen the bobcat (and don’t know how large is his range); I wonder how many more times he has seen us. He once sat quite openly at the corner of our yard, where the ridge trail comes down.

    A red-tail hawk circles high in the sky. I point to it: immediately it wheels away over the ridge. You learn to watch for rattlesnakes; you learn that the black kingsnakes are your allies.

    I don’t want to press it too much. We are not living in a lean-to. We have our very human habitat within the larger habitat. We share. In the springtime, I have morning coffee while both the birds and myself pick and eat wild cherries from the same tree.

    A couple of years ago, a doe brought her wounded fawn each day to lie beneath the large tree just outside the kitchen (we think it is perhaps a cross between a Bradford Pear and a Hawthorn), so that it can could eat what had fallen from the tree while the mother browsed nearby at the edge of the woods. Each evening, she would lead him off; we could see that he had an injured leg. On the fourth day, the fawn was lying there, but the doe was nowhere to be seen. Late in the afternoon, I approached the fawn, and discovered that in the night it had had its hind leg torn away—possibly by a coyote or a dog; it tried to get up and run away, but couldn’t. I put it down, and carried the carcass up on the ridge. Nature’s clean-up crew takes care of the rest.

    How interesting that that doe brought her fawn there. We would go out of the house, walk around, do our chores, go back inside—all within, say, no more than 30 yards, and often within 10—and they paid us no mind.

    We had a cat who could stroll right through a flock of wild turkeys without the least disturbance: they had come to some understanding.

    The following excerpts are from a book I am reading, called The Blood Runs Like a River Through My Dreams, by Nasdijj.

    ____________________________________

    Nature gives. Nature watches. Nature evaporates and disappears. There is a relentless spirit to the beauty in nature. There is death, too. There is no waste in nature. Not a shred. Everything is food.

    . . .

    My Navajo map does not explain the why of anything. What is, is.

    . . .

    The wilderness always takes back what it creates. The wilderness can be a generous goddess, or she can withhold her favors. She can be avaricious when she wants to be begrudging. She is hard-handed and uncharitable. It is not incumbent on life to evolve into happily ever after. Take your happiness while you can. What you have are moments.
  3. Melbourne, Australia
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    02 Dec '07 21:47
    Originally posted by epiphinehas
    I was just wondering if anyone else on here has seen the BBC series, Planet Earth, narrated by David Attenborough? I know that nature itself straddles the dividing lines between all belief systems (or lack thereof), and I figured it'd be nice to discuss nature for once in the Spirituality Forum (please, no evolution talk). Share your relationshi ...[text shortened]... hout a heart, but nevertheless its design instills in me nothing less than awe and wonder.
    Yes, I've seen the series and am always impressed by the images of these sort of nature docos. I love watching them with my kids - everything's new to them and their wonder is illuminating.
    What always amazes me is the interconnectedness of everything - species dependent on and interacting with other species in really intricate ways.
    The wonder of life is truly breathtaking.
    (But don't start bringing god into it, please.)
  4. Illinois
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    02 Dec '07 22:11
    Originally posted by amannion
    Yes, I've seen the series and am always impressed by the images of these sort of nature docos. I love watching them with my kids - everything's new to them and their wonder is illuminating.
    What always amazes me is the interconnectedness of everything - species dependent on and interacting with other species in really intricate ways.
    The wonder of life is truly breathtaking.
    (But don't start bringing god into it, please.)
    (But don't start bringing god into it, please.)

    (Oops.)
  5. Illinois
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    02 Dec '07 22:16
    Originally posted by vistesd
    Nature is not one-sided. Nature is the source of life as well as death, flourishing as well as decay, joy as well as pain. I think it is an error to believe that one ought to be exempt, that one species is by its nature entitled to an exemption.

    A number of years ago, my wife and I moved to the country to be more in touch with it. When you walk through ...[text shortened]... evolve into happily ever after. Take your happiness while you can. What you have are moments.
    Very nice. Thanks, vistesd.

    You should write a memoir called, "Coyote Zen," or something along those lines.

    What do you mean by exempt? Who are those who claim exemption? Humans in general, or a particular group?
  6. Illinois
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    02 Dec '07 22:272 edits
    Originally posted by amannion
    Yes, I've seen the series and am always impressed by the images of these sort of nature docos. I love watching them with my kids - everything's new to them and their wonder is illuminating.
    What always amazes me is the interconnectedness of everything - species dependent on and interacting with other species in really intricate ways.
    The wonder of life is truly breathtaking.
    (But don't start bringing god into it, please.)
    My three-year-old daughter and I were watching it last night. We got a kick out of that New Guinea bird of paradise cleaning its turf in order to perform its hilarious mating dance. Priceless. I don't mean this as a religious allusion, but even while I was an atheist I was fascinated by the mystery of life. By that I mean, what inspired dirt to come alive and diversify and strive for the continuity of life? It seems there is an instinct in every species of life which is contrary to the basic laws of nature, namely, what is at rest stays at rest until put in motion. It's hard to comprehend why dirt didn't just stay dirt. The fact that the life force of the planet is so indomitable never ceases to amaze me. Why the struggle? What is so great about being alive as opposed to not existing at all?
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    02 Dec '07 23:05
    Originally posted by epiphinehas
    Why the struggle? What is so great about being alive as opposed to not existing at all?
    I am suprised that you watch in awe (as I do) and can still ask that question.
  8. Illinois
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    02 Dec '07 23:21
    Originally posted by snowinscotland
    I am suprised that you watch in awe (as I do) and can still ask that question.
    Yes, but is "awe" what drives the struggle for survival, even among humans? Perhaps an elephant is capable of awe, but is that what an elephant lives for? Give an elephant a bucket of LSD and see how well he gets along in the wild. Awe is the privilege of a relative minority on planet earth, confined to those having a self-reflective capability and enough leisure time to find it. But what drives life?
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    02 Dec '07 23:34
    Originally posted by epiphinehas
    Yes, but is "awe" what drives the struggle for survival, even among humans? Perhaps an elephant is capable of awe, but is that what an elephant lives for? Give an elephant a bucket of LSD and see how well he gets along in the wild. Awe is the privilege of a relative minority on planet earth, confined to those having a self-reflective capability and enough leisure time to find it. But what drives life?
    You should read Samuel Taylor Coleridge's poem Mont Blanc. It's about exactly the feeling you're talking about you get in Nature. He too saw God in nature, though I don't see the same myself at all.

    I think you'd relate well to it.
  10. Melbourne, Australia
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    03 Dec '07 00:24
    Originally posted by epiphinehas
    Yes, but is "awe" what drives the struggle for survival, even among humans? Perhaps an elephant is capable of awe, but is that what an elephant lives for? Give an elephant a bucket of LSD and see how well he gets along in the wild. Awe is the privilege of a relative minority on planet earth, confined to those having a self-reflective capability and enough leisure time to find it. But what drives life?
    I would guess that an elephant doesn't think too much about why it's alive - it just wants to keep living - much the same as every other species, although of course, I'm only speculating here.
    I think the drive to question our own existence reflects something of the spirituality that comes out of the human intelligence and reflection on our place in the world.
  11. Standard memberRajk999
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    03 Dec '07 00:32
    Originally posted by amannion
    Yes, I've seen the series and am always impressed by the images of these sort of nature docos. I love watching them with my kids - everything's new to them and their wonder is illuminating.
    What always amazes me is the interconnectedness of everything - species dependent on and interacting with other species in really intricate ways.
    The wonder of life is truly breathtaking.
    (But don't start bringing god into it, please.)
    I have trouble believing that all this happened without a ***

    That remindes me of a joke . What does a dyslexic, agnostic, insomniac do at night ?

    Lay awake wondering if there is a Dog.
  12. Melbourne, Australia
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    03 Dec '07 00:35
    Originally posted by Rajk999
    I have trouble believing that all this happened without a ***

    That remindes me of a joke . What does a dyslexic, agnostic, insomniac do at night ?

    Lay awake wondering if there is a Dog.
    Nice one.

    But on your first point, so what? I have trouble speaking Spanish and playing the violin. But people can speak Spanish and play the violin.
    Merely finding something difficult to believe doesn't mean that it is any less likely.
  13. Illinois
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    03 Dec '07 07:441 edit
    "I am the lover of uncontained and immortal beauty." ~ Emerson

    For your perusal, here is an excerpt from one of Emerson's best essays, Nature:

    "To go into solitude, a man needs to retire as much from his chamber as from society. I am not solitary whilst I read and write, though nobody is with me. But if a man would be alone, let him look at the stars. The rays that come from those heavenly worlds, will separate between him and what he touches. One might think the atmosphere was made transparent with this design, to give man, in the heavenly bodies, the perpetual presence of the sublime. Seen in the streets of cities, how great they are! If the stars should appear one night in a thousand years, how would men believe and adore; and preserve for many generations the remembrance of the city of God which had been shown! But every night come out these envoys of beauty, and light the universe with their admonishing smile.

    "The stars awaken a certain reverence, because though always present, they are inaccessible; but all natural objects make a kindred impression, when the mind is open to their influence. Nature never wears a mean appearance. Neither does the wisest man extort her secret, and lose his curiosity by finding out all her perfection. Nature never became a toy to a wise spirit. The flowers, the animals, the mountains, reflected the wisdom of his best hour, as much as they had delighted the simplicity of his childhood. When we speak of nature in this manner, we have a distinct but most poetical sense in the mind. We mean the integrity of impression made by manifold natural objects. It is this which distinguishes the stick of timber of the wood-cutter, from the tree of the poet. The charming landscape which I saw this morning, is indubitably made up of some twenty or thirty farms. Miller owns this field, Locke that, and Manning the woodland beyond. But none of them owns the landscape. There is a property in the horizon which no man has but he whose eye can integrate all the parts, that is, the poet. This is the best part of these men's farms, yet to this their warranty-deeds give no title. To speak truly, few adult persons can see nature. Most persons do not see the sun. At least they have a very superficial seeing. The sun illuminates only the eye of the man, but shines into the eye and the heart of the child. The lover of nature is he whose inward and outward senses are still truly adjusted to each other; who has retained the spirit of infancy even into the era of manhood. His intercourse with heaven and earth, becomes part of his daily food. In the presence of nature, a wild delight runs through the man, in spite of real sorrows. Nature says, — he is my creature, and maugre all his impertinent griefs, he shall be glad with me. Not the sun or the summer alone, but every hour and season yields its tribute of delight; for every hour and change corresponds to and authorizes a different state of the mind, from breathless noon to grimmest midnight. Nature is a setting that fits equally well a comic or a mourning piece. In good health, the air is a cordial of incredible virtue. Crossing a bare common, in snow puddles, at twilight, under a clouded sky, without having in my thoughts any occurrence of special good fortune, I have enjoyed a perfect exhilaration. I am glad to the brink of fear. In the woods too, a man casts off his years, as the snake his slough, and at what period soever of life, is always a child. In the woods, is perpetual youth. Within these plantations of God, a decorum and sanctity reign, a perennial festival is dressed, and the guest sees not how he should tire of them in a thousand years. In the woods, we return to reason and faith. There I feel that nothing can befall me in life, — no disgrace, no calamity, (leaving me my eyes,) which nature cannot repair. Standing on the bare ground, — my head bathed by the blithe air, and uplifted into infinite space, — all mean egotism vanishes. I become a transparent eye-ball; I am nothing; I see all; the currents of the Universal Being circulate through me; I am part or particle of God. The name of the nearest friend sounds then foreign and accidental: to be brothers, to be acquaintances, — master or servant, is then a trifle and a disturbance. I am the lover of uncontained and immortal beauty. In the wilderness, I find something more dear and connate than in streets or villages. In the tranquil landscape, and especially in the distant line of the horizon, man beholds somewhat as beautiful as his own nature."
  14. Illinois
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    03 Dec '07 08:18
    Check this out:

    http://www.pixheaven.net/geant/071129_7323-90.html
  15. Hmmm . . .
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    03 Dec '07 08:48
    Originally posted by epiphinehas
    Very nice. Thanks, vistesd.

    You should write a memoir called, "Coyote Zen," or something along those lines.

    What do you mean by exempt? Who are those who claim exemption? Humans in general, or a particular group?
    Thanks. “Coyote Zen”? Yeah, that’d be me. One might rather think of himself in terms of “dragon zen” or “bear zen”—but no dragons or bears around here. Well, even bobcat zen or hawk zen. But, yeah, coyote zen, that’d probably be me... LOL!

    What do you mean by exempt? Who are those who claim exemption? Humans in general, or a particular group?

    Well, I was generalizing, but I was thinking of particular humans who seem to be personally offended by death (my mother would be one); who believe that there is something about human nature that ought not to simply die like everything else; who have their remains, or the remains of their loved ones (or what remains of their remains after embalming) sealed up so nothing can eat it—that kind of thing. When my wife’s father died, whoever sells such things was talking about this top-of-the-line vault in which (quote) “the remains of your loved one will be safe.” My wife thought, “Safe!?! Safe from what!?!”

    Even that is still a lot of generalization, I know. And people get to do whatever they think best in such matters, whatever helps emotionally. I don’t want to die, but I am not personally offended by the fact that I will—I make no claim that I ought to be exempt. I have had loved ones die; I am saddened, but I am not offended. Nor do I philosophize from the depths of emotional grief.

    And I seek no “eternal life” exemption for my personal consciousness. Now, there are those who think that there simply is such an exemption (either given, or at least available); but I was referring more to those who seem to think that being human, as opposed to some other creature with some other consciousness, entails some “specialness” that makes it particularly awful if there is no continuing individual afterlife. As I think of it, I suppose this could be a natural aspect of basic, survival-oriented species identification, as it carries over into a self-reflective consciousness.

    Just my meandering thoughts. It would be interesting to ask the elephants...
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