I’ve logged more experience than most with simplicity and the complexity you discover inside simplicity, minimalism and asocial behavior, endurance and landscape.
Here is the truth: I think some deep wisdom inside me (a) sensed the stress, (b) was terrified for me, and (c) gave me something new and hard to focus on in order to prevent me from lapsing into a despair coma — and also to keep me from having a jelly jar of wine in my hand.
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Renee Lertzman moved to Brooklyn, New York, last October to study environmental psychology. Her writing has appeared in The Sun, Speak magazine, Terra Nova, Parabola, and Orion Afield.
I don’t believe you can train anybody, especially people in business. You can only present and embody ideas. I try to help people understand the idea that valuing and conserving our stock of natural capital can lead to astonishing breakthroughs in processes, products, and design. Again, people move toward possibility. Once they see that we can actually improve the quality of life for everyone on earth by using radically less “life,” they get excited.
Many people, however, want to lose weight simply because they believe it will make them happy and stop their pain. So it’s not so much the weight they want to lose, but the pain. They are the main audience for my work.
In the opening manifesto for the Long Now Foundation, I wrote, “Civilization is revving itself into a pathologically short attention span.” Because of accelerating technology and global economics, the pace of change is so rapid that it’s both exciting and kind of disorienting. Because it’s exciting, we will probably keep doing it. And because it’s disorienting, we’ll have some questions about it. The Clock speaks to that disorientation.
The universe story isn’t just about human beings, but also about trees, for example. You can’t fully understand trees if you understand only their hundred-year life cycle. You’ve got to go back to the very beginning of the universe. Now, that’s what I mean by cosmology as empowerment. When we realize that the world we live in today is a creation of an energy and power that is that deep and that old, it helps us get away from the idea that we’re the managers of the planet and know all about what’s going on here.
When I feel so much grief over the woundedness and brokenness of the world that I lose the power or the desire to go on, I turn to members of my family for consolation. Another thing that moves me out of a state of grief is beauty, in all its forms: in nature, in the face of someone you love, in music, in language, in scientific formulas, and in images of remote constellations beamed down from the Hubble space telescope. Beauty reminds me that all the grief, all the loss, all the sadness that is terribly meaningful to me, personally, is just a dust mote in the grand scheme of things. It’s tiny, ephemeral.
We once did a show titled “Escaping the Box,” which opened with a story about Sylvia, a Mexican American girl. We completely downplayed her ethnicity. Instead, we said she’s an American who, like a lot of Americans, has immigrant parents. She’s had experiences typical of a first-generation American: Her parents don’t speak the language, so she’s translating for them. She is already more American than they ever could be. They want her to be a traditional girl, like in the old country — to get married and have kids at eighteen. But she wants to go to college. She wants to be an American girl.