Biophilia

Modern human has walked the face of this earth for about 60,000 years. Since the time our race evolved into ones that walked, we’ve come a very long way. Our ancestors hunted, they discovered fire. Then the wanderers and gatherers began to farm for food. That was a major breakthrough for our race. Meanwhile they invented language. The ancestral humans colonized habitable places and civilizations were born. Then cities were built, trade routes were set. Humans started to write in their own scripts. Religions rose and so did shrines and places of worships. Wonders were built on earth as tributes to gods and kings. Kingdoms emerged. Wars were waged. Some people embraced ideas. Scientific discoveries were made. The sea was conquered. Governments, law and order were structured and put into practice. Industrial revolution happened. Businesses thrived. Manufacturing sector rooted in our world. Population exploded. Banks grew richer, so did some people. More revolutions passed by. Technology grew exponentially. Man stepped on the moon. Service sector entered the market. The internet was born. The earth became a global village. Social media connected all people of the earth. Hence, since the time humans began to walk, they’ve climbed through the ladder and now, are sitting at the top of the food chain becoming the dominant animal on the entire planet.

That’s quite a wonderful journey. Look at humans as just another animal. Every species fights for its place on earth against natural causes and either succeeds or fails on the attempt. The foremost purpose of any species is to reproduce and multiply in order to survive. On that account the human species have done quite well. Now, we are looking to colonize other planets in the solar system; still fighting for our place against the odds of nature. The only difference with us and other species is that the repercussions caused by our own actions have largely grown and are threatening/will threaten our very existence and of other species’ on this planet as well. That’s a whole different debate for some other time.

This is where I wanted to introduce the team, “Biophilia” to you (in case you haven’t heard it before). A gentleman called E. O. Wilson, who happened to be a biologist, in his theory, coined this term. It means “an innate and genetically determined affinity of human beings with the natural world.” It’s such a beautiful word. At a time when you were strolling in a park or sitting lazily at the beach or dipping your feet in the cold ripples of a river or watching the sunset from a hill top, have you noticed your mind and body making an intrinsic connection with the surrounding? It is worth the experience. That, precisely, is biophilia. If you had watched Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar, at one instance, when all the astronauts are aboard The Endurance, the space ship, Romilly seems exhausted and stressed. Then Cooper hands Romilly his MP3 player and asks him to listen to it. When Romilly plugs it in his ears, he is surprised to hear sounds of nature. It made him feel at “home.” That was an exceptionally smart depiction by Nolan — he highlighted the fact that humans, a species born, evolved and spread on earth, have just one home for themselves. There is a need, or more like an obligation, to protect it.

Recently, I came across an app called http://calm.com. The smart bunch of people behind it have put together a collection of natural scenes and sounds. I tried listening to them. I played them in low volume through my ear plugs while I worked. It was a marvel. I could not believe how calm I actually became! It helped me focus and cleared my mind. While being separated from the natural earth by concrete buildings and glass panes and dumped with electronics that project an unseen reality, it is quite difficult to feel that connection. So, I sought out for other alternatives.

It is a necessity for humans to connect with the nature and to experience biophilia at some point in their “modern” lives. It will become a habit. It will develop the capacity to appreciate the natural earth and hand us the responsibility to protect it. It teaches humbleness and reminds us that someday we would return to the nature at the end of our lives. We aren’t superior but just another part of this complicated circle who complete it, just as being a part of that circle completes us.

“Everything you see exists together in a delicate balance. As king, you need to understand that balance and respect all the creatures, from the crawling ant to the leaping antelope.”
“But, Dad, don’t we eat the antelope?”
“Yes, Simba, but let me explain. When we die, our bodies become the grass, and the antelope eat the grass. And so we are all connected in the great Circle of Life.”

Originally published at theemptyvessel.quora.com.