Isolation

This morning i came across this long read in the Guardian: Splendid isolation: how I stopped time by sitting in a forest for 24 hours.

I love this article. A few quotes.

A word he used a lot in talking about his work, and in describing the experience and value of the nature solo, was “re-enchantment”. He was of the opinion that most people, most of the time, lived life in a state of disenchantment. What he wanted to do, above all, was to help people strip away the layers of hard rationalism that accrued around the adult mind, so that they could return to a more childlike engagement with the world. And in reaching this state, he said, this place of re-enchantment, we could come to see ourselves not as separate from and in control of nature, but as part of it.

As weirdly counterintuitive as it feels to acknowledge, human beings are not naturally predisposed to think of life in terms of seconds and hours, of how they might be optimised. The development of mechanical clocks during the middle ages and, later, the advent of widespread precision timekeeping that facilitated the industrial revolution, fundamentally changed the way in which the human animal related to the world. Time became both an abstraction and a commodity, a raw material to be bought and sold, saved or squandered.

The mass adoption of this new conception of time, abstract and removed from the organic context of nature, was central to the rise of capitalism, and to the accelerating mechanisation of life. “Beginning in the 14th century,” as the American cultural critic Neil Postman put it, “the clock made us into time-keepers, and then time-savers, and now time-servers. In the process, we have learned irreverence toward the sun and the seasons, for in a world made up of seconds and minutes, the authority of nature is superseded.” To sit by a river for a day and a night is to experience the reinstatement, if only temporarily, of that authority.

I sat in the Kralingse Bos at the side of the lake. Looking out over it towards the shape of the city of Rotterdam. Following the birds swimming in the water. Closing my eyes and trying to hear all the songs the birds sang all around me. I loved it. Apart from the cars drowning out sounds in the far distance. And at the same time i was thinking of this article. Many thoughts popped in my mind. Most are gone now. It doesn’t matter.

I hope you will enjoy the weekend! Salute!

Published on February 7, 2020 at 6:00 by

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