“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 us feel big, strong, and in control. Enough data and computing and the world appears solvable. And a lot of important problems have been solved. But this leaves us precariously susceptible to hubristic, rampant techno-solutionism. And hubris generally proceeds the fall, as it’s said. That might be fine if the hubristic offenders felt the full weigh of their actions, endured the natural consequences, and had to learn the hard lessons. Unfortunately, the most vulnerable, those with the least power and resources, are disproportionately hurt by hubristic techno-solutionism. I spend more time in the tech-hubris camp than I’d like to admit.
But then there’s Longs. I’ve spent many nights camped here (figuratively and literally), too. Longs makes me feel small, fragile, and slightly out-of-control. At a formative time in my life, living at the foot of this mountain and journeying up and down its physical and metaphorical pitches confronted me with failing, awkwardness, disequilibrium, and ultimately grace. The journey started with a lot of false humility and ended with a little humility. Longs made me smaller.
I’ll probably spend much of my life exploring the complex ways in which technologies affect our identities, relationships, and ways of learning and knowing; finding ways for technology to support growth and solve some problems. More difficult, I think, will be the work of fully embracing how acute is my need to be small, to stay 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)