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Who Do We Think WE Are?
April 6, 2014 - Ernest Hohmeyer
Why should people come here – really?
And I am not talking about the problems with the pot-holes in our roads or there is so much slush on our driveways you need a tank.
I mean it’s such a ridiculous question isn’t it? Of course we know why. They come here to ski, hike, bike or paddle.
We sell the great outdoors.
But what is this thing about being in nature?
C’mon say it.
You know that being outdoors is a good thing for us humans. It invigorates us – until we have to shovel; it brings us peace and reflective moments – until we see the water rising in our basements.
No, we know being with nature is good. And we think nature in the Adirondacks is special.
And we want to keep it special. How we do that begins the sometimes not so friendly discussion. Whatever we think the problem or the solution is though, do we believe WE are the only ones that can fix it?
In a wider context do some folks think along the line we went from the earth to being the center of the universe to the sun – to humans? When we search for “intelligent life” – do we mean human?
Fix our Mess?
Isn’t that what this “new age” thinking is about? We have to fix what we are doing to the planet – and only we can do it? After all, aren’t we are the most intelligent species?
Or are we?
What if there is no such thing as "we" are humans and "that over there" is nature? And no, I am not talking about some John Lennon song.
There is discussion, some of it old but much very new, that we are all a part of the same “energy” or consciousness from a plant to a human to a star. Or, that intelligence is more than IQ.
What’s that got to do with us, our businesses and communities?
There are new ways (and some old) about how to become more profitable and how to enhance community wealth with this thinking.
It may be time to throw out the old paradigms of “green’ and think eco-conscious. This idea of “balancing” man vs. nature may be out of context. The triple bottom line may be old news. It may not only be about only physical things you can do with your business – it may be about how you think – and that thinking can be a new source of energy for yourself – and dollars.
And it is not just the folks who “are on the fringe” thinking about this, it is leading businesses such as Google.
So what is this?
USA Today recently ran an article, “Why We Explore Starry Skies” by Michael West. “One of astronomy's most profound discoveries” he writes, “that we humans are made from the ashes of stars whose fires burned out billions of years ago.”
I’m starting off slow because the ending will be a big bang.
National Geographic Magazine in their March edition ran an article “Black Hole: Star Eater” by Michael Finkel. In the center of a black hole is a “singularity” he writes. And they are small. “Enlarge a singularity a trillion trillion times, and the world’s most powerful microscope wouldn’t come close to seeing it” Finkel states. What singularities are exactly is speculative but it has given rise to interesting theories that “our universe is not all there is.” Finkel talks about “multiverse – a vast collection of universes.” And these universes that are being created started off as an “infinitesimally small, massively dense speck – a singularity.”
A “singularity,” okay…
Small then Big
In another recent edition, USA Today ran a series of cover photos on their March 18th edition titled “Waves Could Be The Big Bang’s Smoking Gun.” "General relativity predicts that cataclysmic events will release energy that ripples across space and time in the form of gravitational waves.”
This of course relates to Albert Einstein, who is pictured on the front cover who was also “attracted” (okay, a physics term) to the Adirondacks.
There is a further article in this USA Today edition entitled “In ‘profound’ find, scientists prove how universe grew” by Traci Watson. "In the thinnest sliver of a second after the Big Bang,” Watson writes, “the universe was smaller than the end of your pinky finger.” It then expanded “violently” causing “tiny ripples in the universe.”
So here we have something so small we can’t see it, which grew so big we can’t comprehend it.
A New Perspective?
Does this put a new perspective on how small, and large, we are? If the universe started off as a speck we can’t see, what does that mean about how big the potential each of us human beings have?
What, if as human “beings” we are connected to other “beings.”
West references Carl Jung who “believed that we share a universal memory, passed from generation to generation, which he called the collective unconscious.” Finally, what if “intelligence” is more than IQ?
Hold on, Google, yes Google, is suggesting this indeed, as part of its world-wide “Search Inside Yourself Leadership Institute.”
Take Our Own Medicine?
And what about this “get out in nature it’s good for you!”? Besides the poets such as Ralph Waldo Emerson (you remember him – he too was “attracted” to the Adirondacks as part of that famous 1800’s Philosopher Camp) and his philosophy of transcendentalism, there is a new science that supports the notion of nature’s intelligence.
There now exists nature-connected learning tools to assist communities and businesses improve.
We are fond of saying in business, “put smarter people than yourself on your team” to get great results. The whole point of democracy is that multiple voices will find reason and better solutions.
We can learn not only new things by tapping into our own potential, but others as well. And the solutions to our own business, community and worldly problems may not be ours to bear alone.
To find enhanced success, stronger communities, greater business profitability and personal wellness we may need to understand we are part of a larger community. Some of these answers can be found in connected partners such as nature – perhaps the greatest teacher.
I mean what are we saying when we tell folks to come here? Is there a way our "nature" - human and natural - can help us too?
We will look at some examples next week.
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