Reply To: Oct 20: Kenneth Worthy Seminar

Author Replies # Posted on October 21, 2014 at 12:59

Kenneth Worthy seminar 20th of October 2014
Ellen Lindblom

I will reflect on the question posted by Sarah on how to cope with dissociation in my daily life
Without going any further in to it, I really needed this book, it was healing to me. I started to reflect on my own life. What was healing for me in this book were the idea of us humans not separated unity’s but connected with everything in time and space even at a molecular level. We are connected in a web of relationship human and non-human. In an interconnected world with a mental heritage since Plato of separation and rationality we have a long struggle in front of us on multiple scales in space and time, according to Worthy, to change the direction of an unhealthy way of living for humans, animals and ecosystems. I can´t help but wonder (since my thesis interest lies in peasant dominated world in 1900-century Sweden) how much this mental heritage from Plato and onwards through the intensification of the Enlightenment, viewing nature as machine with bits and parts, were a part of the mental image of the world in peasant life? Since one of many solution Worthy is presenting is more organic and locally produced food. Is it with monetary wealth this mental heritage of the west comes into play and the disconnection to “nature” and other beings increases? If so, a large part of the human population on the planet has another metal heritage to lean on. Only two generations back and we in Sweden are closer in connection with nature, being more directly and visible dependent on its circumstances.
Back to me and my life, sitting with my computer mainly alone at home during the days, isolated in the sense of physical experience. I saw allot of resemblance with me and my neighbors life in the description of the fictive Joe. Worthy describes a friction-free living, “gliding over life rather than being enmeshed in it”, we slip by with minimal interaction in urban life. Just the day after I read about Joe my next door neighbor said to me: We do the same thing every night all the families on the street, but in our own houses. Let´s have dinner tighter someday! It is easy, we do it anyway. This statement form my neighbor was in perfectly harmony with what I just read in “Invisible nature”, also in relations to the “less modern” life – communities are living and organizing their life.
To put the relationships first instead of me as an individual and this sentence, “We can start by seeing ourselves more clearly as part of the larger natural world.” (273) is something I take with me from the book. Much of the thoughts in the book were not new for me but a reminder and I think Worthy puts everything I have read here and there together in a good, believable and inspiring way. Somewhere in the book Kenneth Worthy is writing about the void in people’s life, the book is almost an answer to existential issues at the same time as trying to solve the survival questions of our planet. Our actions matters in a seemingly fragmented world. Social fragmentation is underlined by and reinforced by a disconnection to nature. Worthy means that we, as humans, gets spiritual nourishment from nature and not only food, water and oxygen, (P.20.) I regard this aspects as interesting, thus if the conclusion is right that we need “nature” as well as social interactions for spiritual wellbeing, we are way off a healthy road in western society. If you feel connected to the world surrounding you, being part, can the connections, and in extension, how you think of the meaning of life become different?
This year I and my family have moved from the city center and closer to “nature”, a bit more like I am used to during my childhood. I hope I can give my son a feeling for nature and knowledge of how everything is linked together especially when we bike trough the landscape during the shift of seasons. We watch animals and we watch plants change, both the ones we grow and wild ones. When my son sees an insect and don´t like it I explain the importance of some bugs. I hope to give my son a feeling of meaning and connection to everything in the world, in a positive sense, not in a way that everything is in vain, because we sometimes consume goods that are bad for the world as we still are within the destructive system. Education and starting with the younger generation is the way to go to change the disassociation from nature, I think. It is a multi-stage process as Worhty told us, generations ahead. I guess that is my way of coping and focus on relationships of all kind, which also have made me during the years an aware consumer, to the extent that some people now and then thinks I am silly. Trough “Invisible Nature” I have gotten words on my actions – I in some extent already apply in my life.