Yosemite Valley. 2065. If there’s one thing that never changed, that’s the iconicity of Half Dome.
On this sunny day, Devin, Chad and I hiked our way up Glacier Point, where the valley can still be admired in all its beauty. It’s one of the last unspoiled places left on Earth. Who knows how long before it gets destroyed too. Below our eyes, the proof that the action of every single one of us counts in order to save this planet, or just let it melt into pollution.
Beyond the already reduced borders of this National Park, nature struggles: every single day. Factories, synthetic materials and technology have just eaten everything up. And neural interfacing made it even worse. As if we were not already “connected” enough, everyone now is so ecstatic to connect their brain straight to internet with the help of implanted microchips, without the need of an external electronic device to do the work. So we slowly but inexorably went from being online to being on the line of complete and utter disconnection – from everything but something that does not even exist.
Can we really be with ourselves anymore? Do we still exist? Why did we choose this?
“Still so beautiful”, Devin whispers.
“Can you think it’s going to be gone too at some point? Can you imagine the big malls that are going to be built in the midst of the valley? The townhouse on top of the Captain, the supersonic highway for extrafast cars?”, I ask, hurting a bit at the thought of it.
“We will do our best with Parks Preserve to help this Park as much as we can. And hopefully everyone will do the same too. I refuse to think we have no love left for what represented us for over a century. I mean, tons of tourists come here every year to admire this. How could we ever?”, Chad states, sounding incredibly determined.
I’m tempted to reply that the same thing was true for many Parks and Preserves that don’t exist anymore. But I want to stay positive, because I still do think that, no matter how hard, you must never ever give up and leave alone the things you love and believe in. And we are not going to leave nature alone.
I’m from Italy, but I have no less affection for this magic place. Because before being Italian, or European, I’m a Terrestrial, and this means all nature is home to me: we should all take care of each other’s nature, no matter how far.
“Could you imagine it the other way round? What if nature was still unspoiled, and the environment safe and free to thrive in all its beauty. What if humans were actually living in harmony and respect with the Planet. What do you think the role on mankind on Earth would be at that point?”, I wonder.
Devin smiles a bit, eyes still fixed on the valley. Probably, he’s too all caught up in the beauty and incredible peacefulness of this dream.
“I think humans would play the role of keepers and adventurers”, he replies without hesitation. “They would focus on maintaining the balance they have with nature, and even improving it through processes like permaculture, so nature can maintain a better stasis with itself. And then they would explore. They’d relearn what it is to discover something unique and timeless, and how it feels to become unstuck in time while off the gridded path. Humans would cherish and engage the environment in ways that have been long forgotten about”.
Because that’s what we are: explorers of a planet we are part of. And that’s what life is made for. Despite the path we chose, there’s no way that the human-invented environment we live in is healthy, desirable and good for us. We have microchips in our bodies and we connect to a world completely disconnected from reality. We work jobs we invented to earn money we invented to pay for things we invented – and all of it is complete uselessness. Nevertheless, without all this, we just feel pointless. But is this really how you wished your life was when you started to dream and imagine and make wishes for yourself? Ask a whichever child, ask to yourself when you were a child. Could this possibly be the answer you get?
There’s a Native Indian proverb that says: “We do not inherit the Earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children”. It makes me think about Parks Preserve and about all the people who strive to save this Planet everyday, regardless the odds.
These guys know all about it indeed: “It’s engrained into everything we do. Both of us have turned the lights off while people were still in rooms just out of habit. Our children will inherit only one world, and everyday we must decide the legacy we want to leave them. We all must imagine a better future, not a bleaker one, and acknowledge everyday that this future lies in our hands”. We can either crush it, or lead it.
Actually, I just think the process should be completely inverted. We probably neither inherit nor borrow this planet, we are just part of it. And if there’s one living being that can actually show us the path, teach us better ways and lead us to brighter horizons, that’s nature itself. Nature is both the greatest master and the only chance we have.
Even though we switched our neural interfaces off, these guys seem to really read my mind.
“There are infinite lessons that can be gathered from nature, depending upon who you are and where you are in life. The natural wonder, grandeur, and scale of nature are inherently humbling. Combine that humility with a slower pace and less distractions, and we begin to examine the most important thing of all: ourselves”.
“Yes, but really, look at us…are we still capable of doing that? If we don’t take time to be with ourselves, how can we ever really get to know ourselves?”, I wander.
“If we switched it off, everyone else can. Emotional development is not an exercise in efficiency, and fulfillment isn’t a webpage with a url. If we completely immerse ourselves in nature, nature reintroduces us to our feelings, our fears, our anxieties, and our aspirations. Nature’s most inspirational attribute is reminding us of who we are, and what path we are on”. Nature connects us.
We think that without a virtual profile and an url we are alone. But isn’t it the other way around really? I’m a strong believer in choices: the point is not to be off-line, but to be on it with a purpose and an awareness. To connect to anything means to disconnect to everything. And life just disappears behind a whole lot of illusions and matrix-looking conceptions.
At this point, I have to ask: “Disconnecting from this invented signal can help us hone in on life’s real one. At the same time, if we got to know each other is because of this big net that both connects and disconnects us all. So how do we balance all this?”
Devin silently thinks about it for a moment.
“We cross the line when we use technology without intention. Aimless use of tech, where we do it for the dopamine and nothing else, for the short term gratification without any sense of deliberate improvement for our lives, that’s what keeps us disconnected rather than connected. It’s important to remember that technology is a tool, and tools aren’t meant to be used without intention. We use a hammer to hammer in a set of nails, but we don’t aimlessly carry a hammer around and use it because it’s in our hand. We should use these amazing tools when we need them, not between a meeting, before a show starts, when a friend heads to the bathroom in a restaurant, or in any other situation where people need to be alone with themselves and their thoughts”…so can you imagine to have it constantly in your brain?
…I’m sure we all can…
The reason behind everything we do, say, buy, sell, make, use and whatever other action you can think of is absolutely vital: no reason means no life, and no life means complete disconnection.
Like I always say, as human beings we are choosers. We can choose of every single thing we do and don’t do in life. Even when we don’t choose, we choose not to. It’s up to us. We can’t refrain. We must choose our reasons and stick to them.
Thank you Parks Preserve, and thank you Brandon Cooke for the photos.