Famed Danish author Hans Christian Andersen once said, “Just living is not enough. One must have sunshine, freedom and a little flower.” These marvelous words refer to the importance of nature in our lives. We can make our lives more pleasant, substantial and sublime if we take a little time to look around to view the bounties nature has sprinkled around us like flowers, lakes, birds, trees, mountains and so on. We cannot return the favors we receive from nature. Rather, painfully true that, we continue to destroy natural resources for materialistic purposes. But we forget that nature is our ultimate friend, philosopher, guide and resort, to sound slightly similar to one of the greatest English romantic poets William Wordsworth.
Technologies have turned us into highly mechanized beings. We are stuck with technologies wherever we go. Spending too much time on cell phones, internet, social networks, laptops etcetera has augmented depressive sickness among millions of people. Lots of youths around us are suffering from depression for this reason. A little detachment from technology is essential to sustain our psycho-physical health.
There was a time when monks were highly honored. That was because of some ancient religions which laid much emphasis on giving up worldly attractions and luxuries in order to reach the supreme level of spirituality. Monasticism always had a very close attachment with nature because monks used to pick a calm, quiet and placid spot for meditation. With the passage of time, the more we became civilized, the more we isolated ourselves from nature. Our detachment from nature was not just moving away from trees, jungles and hills in search of urbanization, it was tantamount to a truant schoolboy’s escape from his classroom where he could have learnt a lot of things for his life ahead.
Similarly, nature is a perpetual institution wherefrom human beings could have gathered valuable lessons on harmony, balance of consumption, munificence, purity and many other vital qualities. But we didn’t care for these didactic attributes of nature. All we have so far cared about is consuming natural resources on excessive scales which have today pushed the world on the verge of losing its ecological balance. We have been so blindly absorbed in industrialization, we have totally become oblivious of the fact that, earth is not just a planet, it’s our home—the destruction of which will obviously imperil our own existence as well. Materialism has robbed us of our far-sight which is why we are even unable to figure out the near future when survival in the middle of this polluted, poisoned atmosphere would be no less horrible than living in a gas chamber the liability of which goes on to nobody but our own shoulders.
So, a modern form of monasticism should be promoted by nature-lovers worldwide in order to find a spontaneous group of philanthropists. Loving nature is another sort of theology. It’s a sublime practice of piety to preserve the bountiful environment God has awarded us and has shown us the right way to take care of it besides meeting our requirements. Primitivism needs to be revived to some extent as a contemporary philosophy to curb the sense of destruction of natural boons while building up industries. On the other hand, when we become aware of saving the environment, which not just aims to preserve natural beauty and to reduce the level of toxic gases--it will further instill stronger humanitarian values in our hearts which will motivate people to love each other, not to hate. The current war-torn, maladroit world is craving for a message like this. The more we get closer to nature, the more it purifies our visions. To recall a few words from Ralph Waldo Emerson, one of the pioneers of American Age of Enlightenment which glow with the caressing traits of nature, “There I feel that nothing can befall me in life, — no disgrace, no calamity, (leaving me my eyes,) which nature cannot repair. Standing on the bare ground, — my head bathed by the blithe air, and uplifted into infinite spaces, — all mean egotism vanishes. I become a transparent eye-ball; I am nothing; I see all; the currents of the Universal Being circulate through me; I am part or particle of God.” Nature expands our thoughts and eliminates meagerness from our minds—that’s the reflection we get to view from these lines cited from Ralph Waldo Emerson.
Nature has instigated invincible poetic creativity from famed bards. The beauty of autumn spellbound John Keats while the verdure of spring sparked off an exhilarating approach to life in the poetry of PB Shelley. The snowflakes of acute winter moved Robert Frost leading to some fabulous poetic creations. The calmness and sanctity of nature in English villages charmed Thomas Hardy persuading him to illustrate the profound and exquisite spectacles of countryside in his books. There are many more examples like this referring to nature’s power to ignite hidden literary talents from the pit of people’s minds.
Weird it may sound though, I dream of days coming up in near future when exhausted, disillusioned urban dwellers will rush out of cities to reach for the green, tree-laden countryside to buy a piece of land there in the middle of a calm, noiseless hamlet far from urban din and bustle. Real estate companies will run colorful advertisements on TV channels promoting flats with a pond at the backyard, birds chirping on treetops at daybreak, fireflies flickering across meadows after sundown. Concepts once ridiculed by people had to be later on turned into reality as an indispensable prerequisite—history abounds with such instances. This is how self-transformed hermits will someday restore the true essence of life beating the spell of materialism. Let’s all look forward to that time.
Mahbubul Islam is a lawyer
and former Secretary of
World Peace Council.