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Arts Life & Philosophy Nature

Adventure by design

A step into the wilderness with no path in sight, the only certainty is the next crunch of leaves.

One can’t see the forest for the trees without first seeing a tightly sealed version of the world. Each stick of bark aggregates into a sum of parts individually wrapped and bending into each other — passing signals above the shrubby floor.

Nature holds the strongest connection.

For better or worse, humans have the elemental need to keep moving on terra firma. Unlike water running effortlessly over rocks, we force progress by messing up the Earth that feeds us.

We put our minds in the void and bleed design everywhere. Restless, the mind and energy keep going. Life is one big party. 

We build societies, unplanned, over and over again on top of ruins, sucked into history. While humans may be disorderly, at least the cosmos tells the truth. Now we have to consider the unexpected and negotiate for a vastly more dependable calm. 

For every action, there’s a reaction. Thankfully, while the left brain remains fixated on the individual trees, the right brain plants new ones. Growth by giving back also flows from brain to brain, in accord with more universal vibrations.  

As they say, “the best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago. The second best time is now.”

Categories
Life & Philosophy Nature Psychology

How the mind designs itself

We are always making predictions about our future. When we infer, we ignite consciousness.

Within the complex system of our neurocognitive wiring comes transparency we can’t explain. The external world processes through a symphony of brain loops.

Thinking is on a mission to remain consistent, predictable, while wildly variable. To err is to make strides.

The mind’s chaos is why it works, just as New York City operates a clear system amid bustling streets.

Minds are a byproduct of evolution, structurally optimized to clean themselves out of their internal wiring kinks.

“Evolution depends on the existence of high-fidelity copying but not perfect copying, since mutations (copying errors) are the ultimate source of all novelty.”

Daniel Dennett

Design is simultaneously intelligent and unintelligent, devised to keep pace with our internal weather.

Categories
Life & Philosophy Nature

What are we missing here?

We either open up possibilities for inquiry or close them.

The open-minded tend to include those around them. The shallow-minded prefer to isolate others as a means to an end. Such subjectivity halts the evolution of ideas.

“Our view of the world is truly shaped by what we decide to hear.”

William James
‘Our view of the world is truly shaped by what we decide to hear’
Image via Deaf Hearing and Communication Center

Attitude predetermines whether we discover facts and establish truth.

We put our minds in the world, shaped by the rhythm of nuance and complexity and weave it into a geometry of thought.

We never know for sure when the old world passes away and a new one begins.

All that’s certain are the infinitude of blind spots.

Categories
Life & Philosophy Nature

A barometer of aliveness

Consciousness — “I think therefore I exist” — is not a prerequisite for aliveness.

The non-thinking plant is still very much breathing and communicating with its brethren through an interconnectivity of roots.

Meanwhile, the overly conscious octopus contains a half a billion neurons in its arms which allow the tentacles to function independently from its nine brains.

Programmed robots, aped after humans, may develop mentally but remain devoid of physical life.

Many humans, herd-following automatons in their own right, die with the music still in them.

The barometer of aliveness depends on how dead one feels, appears, and grows.

All things were once plankton. Now, a fish out of water — some of us are lucky enough to evolve like a baby caterpillar into a restless butterfly. 

Categories
Life & Philosophy Nature

Nature doesn’t care

Nature doesn’t care — it devours everything and moves on. The problem becomes when we try to control it.

Like the mind, the more we try to alleviate tension in the world around us, the worse it gets.

We are not directors of the environment. “It’s really the wand that chooses the wizard,” as J.K. Rowling writes in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.

We can’t rule nature. The force is too strong.

Instead of seeking to dismantle our surroundings, it would behoove us to make the most of the opportunities that come our way and adapt to the circumstances accordingly.

It is never an escape from the conditions but an expansion of our comfort zone.

Categories
Arts Life & Philosophy Writing

Tying together the world’s attention triggers

Walking with our steady cam, our eyes scan the world. See enough, we write it down.

The more we get down, the more connections we can make — the more disparate items we can intermix the better.

Should we not lace anything, we wait. We given the brain a night’s rest so it can untangle shaggy shapes into coherent bodies of thought.

All of a sudden the ideas come without asking for them, all by turning off.

Reality is a catalog of attention triggers. It is our job to draw analogies across divergent subjects.

Categories
Health Life & Philosophy Nature

Prescribing a walk in nature

Get yourself a prescription to nature. It’ll improve your mental and physical health. That’s according to doctors in Scotland who are recommending that people in the Shetland Islands get outside more often.

The program outlines a recommended outside activity per month. For instance, in January you can create a windsock to grasp the full power of the wind. In March, one can “borrow a dog and take it for a walk.”

Prescribing a walk in nature
via tw

We belong in the wild, unmoored from the tyranny of our seats. When we disconnect and move outside, we connect with terra firma and reconnect with ourselves. Take your body and thoughts for a walk.  

Categories
Nature Video

Penguins turn to a life of crime

Penguins can be thieves. They can also be nihilists

Categories
Nature Travel

The longest straight line you can walk without hitting the ocean

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If you were the next Forest Gump and wanted to walk Earth in a straight line without hitting the water, here’s your guide.

The path starts east in China and ends in Liberia.

Lace up those walking shoes, we’ve got a project for you. An intrepid cartographer has, with the help of Google Earth, tracked down the longest-possible straight land path on earth – and it starts in China.

Just start walking due west from Shitangzhen, a town south of Taizhou, in Zhejiang Province. Keep on moseying, and in about 589 miles you’ll hit Wuhan. You will then, eventually, pass just south of Xi’an and (sooner or later) hit Qinghai. Getting tired yet?

After a brisk hike (i.e. crossing the Himalayas) you’ll end up in Tajikistan. From there, it’s just a quick poke through Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Israel, Egypt (right through the heart of Cairo!) Libya, Niger, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Ivory Coast and, finally, hit Liberia.

via Amazing Maps

Categories
Nature Politics & Society

The link between rainfall and the duration of Roman emperors

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There’s an interesting piece in The Economist about the link between rainfall and the rise and fall of Roman emperors.

One such lesson is how drought affected the stability of the Roman empire 1,500 years ago. In a new paper published in Economics Letters, Cornelius Christian of Brock University and Liam Elbourne of St Francis Xavier University identify a strong association between rainfall patterns and the duration in power of Roman emperors. The academics hypothesise that lower precipitation reduced crop yields, leading to food shortages and eventually starvation for soldiers stationed at the empire’s frontiers. As a result, troops were more likely to stage mutinies and assassinate their emperor.

The data, collected from oak tree rings, shows hungry troops peaking in revolts around The Gordian dynasty from 235 AD to 285. Invasions and the economic plight brought on by droughts were also contributors.

The academics combine data on assassinations—some 25 emperors were assassinated, roughly one-fifth of the total—with precipitation data collected from rainfall-sensitive oak-tree rings across the Roman frontier in France and eastern Germany.

Today’s natural disasters in California, Greece, and Japan due to heatwaves may not lead to overthrows, but they don’t augur well either.

It might be easy to dismiss the lessons from 1,500 years ago. Ancient Rome had little ability to store grain for long periods or irrigate crops. Yet, to this day, dictators rely on an obedient army to retain power. And more broadly, it has been long established that adverse weather causes economic shocks that lead to unrest, and even to civil war.

Categories
Creativity Life & Philosophy Nature Poetry Video

Growing is forever

It was very quiet all the time because they needed to focus on their lives. It is not easy to grow so much for so long.

Growing is forever, they whispered.

A poetic take on some beautiful, giant trees.

Onward.