Globalisation, digitalisation, social media, rampant consumerism, the threat of terrorism and the seemingly endless debate about global warming intrude our daily lives and tend to discourage enjoying the natural beauty of our environments. Are we at risk of disconnecting from nature? For those such as farmers and naturalists whose lives revolve around the natural world, there is little risk. However, there are those at the opposite end of the spectrum who have effectively disconnected and live their lives wholly within urban and virtual environments. For those in the middle, perhaps it is time to think seriously about the role of nature in our lives, else we risk being swept further into the vortex of an artificial environment.
I recently experienced virtual reality for the first time and whilst I readily admit to enjoying the experience, I find myself wondering how this technology will impact on our lives. The technology is awesome and the scientific and commercial applications to facilitate forward planning decisions are obvious. I also know my limitations and that there are certain things I will never try, which I have come to accept. However, virtual reality will inevitably enable me to have those experiences without the risks (real and perceived) that hold me back. Even low risk experiences such as travelling to foreign countries or walking through a forest will be available to all by donning goggles and earphones. For some or many, which remains to be seen, this may become the mode through which they experience the natural world. What implications might this have for our ongoing individual and collective health? It is only my opinion, but I intend not to pursue virtual experiences where I have the opportunity to pursue the real experiences. What will you do?
Today’s selection of photographs have nothing to do with the above discussion except that they are real and remind me of the peaceful moments I experienced in gardens in Kyoto. Travelling can be hectic at times and it was always nice to find tranquil spaces where one could slow down, listen to the flow of moving water and the rustling sounds of wind moving through trees punctuated by birdsongs. Our green spaces provide this opportunity, not to mention the fundamental joy and benefit of being outdoors. If you read this and have not visited a green space in the past week, I challenge you to visit your nearest park or garden to maintain the connection that is surely fundamental to our existence.
(Please click on any of the following images for an enlarged view.)
October 13, 2017 at 6:16 pm
Hi John, Very thought provoking comments, I’ve certainly not had any contact w/ VR. The other day, the internet service failed & was unavailable for almost two days, it was incredible, totally at a loss, in what to do or more importantly what I couldn’t do! Thought, we are totally reliant on technology/internet & if terrorists really wanted to mess the world, to disable the internet & systems, we’d be in all sorts of strife! It’s frightening to think about!! But as you say, we have to enjoy the natural world around us & I think communicate with people on one to one basis, not through phones & other devices. We’ll have a generation of people who won’t know how to have a face to face conversation….
October 13, 2017 at 9:57 pm
We certainly have become reliant on the Internet and like most other aspects of life there is two sides to the coin or, as the Chinese might say, yin and yang. On one side is the enormous potential to improve our way of life and the other we have the terrifying prospect for destruction. Another tightrope to walk and worth keeping in touch with the simple things.
October 21, 2017 at 11:45 pm
Enchanting and very beautiful
October 28, 2017 at 5:58 pm
The gardens of Kyoto are indeed enchanting and beautiful.