Saturday, February 21, 2015

Figuring Out my Cynicism towards Nature-Lovers

The Great Outdoors.

Or is it?

When I stated yesterday that today's topic was "valuing the environment", I probably should've clarified that I meant from a personal enjoyment sense, not a do we or do we not need to take care of the world around us from an ecological perspective. I think pretty clearly that the answer to that is yes and that we are so heavily dependent on the earth that we've been given that we can't afford to not take care of it and the current path of destruction we're on is not a good one. But, since that statement isn't up for debate really (at least not in my mind), I want to focus on the aesthetic beauty of the world around us and how much the average person should feel obligated to go out and enjoy all the world has to offer.

It seems like anybody who doesn't feel a sense of obligation to enjoy nature and the outdoors (not that I don't get at least some amount of enjoyment from it) gets a bit of scorn from most others and is looked down upon by the more smug members of society. I think the question I ask myself when given the opportunity is, "will I get more enjoyment from 8 hours driving to and from the adirondacks to go on a 4+ hour hike or from watching movies with friends or going to the local bar and shooting some pool." 9.8 times out of ten in my life I've gone with one of the latter options.

I think the majority of people of who feel the way I do come from vastly different circumstances which makes me feel a bit isolated. Typically, I think of city-dwellers or people who aren't in shape enough to really enjoy nature due to the physical aspects that it takes to do a lot of nature activities. Since I'm not particularly a city-dweller and I'm relatively in-shape, I wonder why I don't seem to 'get it'.

The cynical side of me wants to think that in the technology-driven, experience-sharing (via instagram and snapchat and whatever else) world that we live in, a lot of people want to go on nature adventures to do a couple things. 1) Have a shareable moment that seems 'genuine'. 2)feel like you're escaping the modern life for a day.

As for that first point, nobody want to questions anyone else's motivations for going on a nature excursion, and going on a hike and taking photos of the mountainscapes with some thoughtful quote is a surefire way to get a lot of likes and/or "oh wow, that person does cool things in their free time" thoughts from a lot of their 'friends'. The second one is more of a 'genuine' reason, but it's still caused by the same tech-driven instincts, oftentimes we feel shackled to our devices and nature is a great escape from the city sprawl. So in my cynical mind (which is like 85% of my overall mind), a lot of the reasons people my age go into nature are not purely for a love of nature but due to the addiction we have to technology.

Maybe that's just me trying to justify my own rationale, but I think there is something there. Or maybe I've just seen one too many picturesque lakeviews and mountainscapes with 100 "ooooh, thats amazing, im jealous" comments in my various social media feeds.

Side note, I kinda hate how cynical I sound of other people enjoying nature.

I dont know whether to steer this word vomit more towards myself or others, but I think one thing I'm realizing about myself is that one reason that I dont enjoy nature as much as I could is that I wrap it up and tie it together with so many other things that I can never just go out and enjoy nature in a pure unadulterated manner. I think my motivations tend to steer more towards what others think of my doing things and not purely what I think of them, which isn't the case when i do more secluded activities (like play piano.)

Maybe what I need to do to enjoy nature is to go out alone into nature with nothing but the necessary materials for the day and not tell anybody what I did. Kind of like what the idea for this blog is, do something for myself and not tell anybody I know.

Interesting conclusions, maybe once we get out of this deep freeze in upstate ny, I'll test it out. For 60-ish more days though, I'll stick with my cynical self.

'Til Tomorrow

Tomorrow: For the Love of Movies

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