Monday, October 4, 2010
Every year, autumn rolls around and for me, it's time again for the Transcendentalists. With people today spending upwards of 7 1/2 hours on electronic mediums per day, it's worth considering how Henry David Thoreau would view our attachment to the world and to each other. What do we miss while we are distracted in our multi-media, multi-tasking lives? The term 'nature deprivation' smacks of new age mumbo jumbo, but what if Emerson and Thoreau were right, that by becoming a transparent eyeball and communing with nature, we restore our moral compass. Most people see the outdoors as an inconvenient space between their hermetically sealed homes and their airconditioned cars. Being so removed from nature makes them less inclined to connect with its beauty and less inclined to protect it. Thus, I assigned for my 11th grade students to sit outside for 15 uninterrupted minutes. As I watched them dutifully write their homework in their planners "Sit outside for 15 minutes", the inevitable questions follow: May I listen to music? Make a video? Work on my pitch? No, No, and No. In our overprogrammed lives, downtime is a lost art. It's not to be occupied by a nap, tv, or a checklist. Kick leaves five times (check!) Study a rock (check!) No, it requires meandering mentally and physically. Now let's see if I can do my own homework. Try it yourself and let me know how you make out so I can give you an A+.