“Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out going to the mountains is going home; that wilderness is a necessity; and that mountain parks and reservations are useful not only as fountains of timber and irrigating rivers, but as fountains of life.” ~ John Muir, Our National Parks (1901)
See also THIS POST.
Technology can make one feel big, strong, and in control. To the technocentrists and techsolutionists, technology appears to be the answer to all that ills mankind. To this the contrarians retort, “sure, go ahead, to save everything, click here and see how that turns out.” The answer lies, as it almost always does, somewhere in between, “it depends” as the postmodern refrain goes. It is true that with technology we appear to shrink the world, bend light and shape, and alter reality. And then there is Longs.
Longs Peak makes me feel small, fragile, and out-of-control. That’s not surprising considering its millions of tons of rock tower almost than 7,000 feet over the nearby Estes Valley (itself at an elevation of 7,500 feet) helping to direct weather patterns and water flows for a thousand miles. What’s more, on a whim this mountain (and many like it) thrusts helpless souls off its face, no matter how much technology they have strapped to their back. This mountain shrinks and punishes your average jane/joe hiker. I think it also has the key ingredients needed to tame the hyperbole and shrink and free the willing.
I’ll likely spend much of my life studying the ways in which the affordances and constraints of technologies interactive with social psychological processes. More difficult will be the work of fully embracing (and carving out time to embrace) how acute is my need to be small. I think I’m more useful when I’m small.
“Lie down among the pines for a while then get to plain pure white love-work to help humanity and other mortals.” ~ John Muir, The National Parks and Forest Reservations (1896)