Thursday, July 05, 2007

Then and Now

Then: "Love the Creator, not the creation"
Now: "Love the earth."

Bro. Clarence was fit as a fiddle at the break fast table, and after several weeks in the secular world, he had one overriding observation, the news seems to have turned the words of Thomas a Kempis (Love the Creator, not the creation) into "love the earth." He went on to explain how few in the modern world actually experience "the earth" when they are insulated by all the trappings of modern life. And then he went on to say that maybe if we were living in the 15th century world of Thomas a Kempis we would have very different ideas and experiences about the "creation." Since that time, those living the modern life in the modern world have since birth been protected from that "creation." This evolution of modernity has produced humans that are insulated from the reality of the natural world, and that insulation allows us to view the "creation" in a totally different way than dear old Thomas did. Most modern folks are so insulated from the natural world that they come to think their flower garden as nature. Bro. Clarence went on after telling of a popular television series called "Man vs. Wild" where a super survivalist is "dropped" into the wilds and the viewer watches as he struggles to survive. I think Thomas was closer to the nature of "Man vs. Wild" than we moderns are, and Thomas experienced the harshness of nature, a harshness that in the television show sends the survivalist breathlessly scampering for his life. In the modern community we have reached a stage where one can be born into this insulation (and apartness from real nature) and live an entire life, and perhaps only experience real nature on one's deathbed. It is this insulation and apartness that allows us to be fascinated with the "creation" and to marvel and probe and dissect it in the comfort of the lab, or even the comfort of bringing our artificial environment with us when we trek in the wilderness. Modern outdoorwear, portable and ultralight this and that, freeze-dried food, and an SUV full of stuff. And we read in horror when someone makes a wrong turn on a desolate mountain road, and the car breaks down, and a young family suddenly finds themselves in raw creation -- somewhat like the 15th century of Thomas. I'm sure if Thomas were wrapped in the insulation of the modern world he too would look differently at the "creation", for in the comfort of modernity, he could be like God (or the scientist) and admire the creation, a creation that is viewed, and not experienced.

1 comment:

Lucy said...

I often think we can only succeed in romanticising something once we have rendered it harmless, which very largely means securing its destruction...
I loved the i-can.