What is the most natural state? Some people would say relaxed. Yup, there’s a lot to be said about lying on a warm beach without a care in the world. Other people would say creativity is the most natural state. Yes, when we create we are reaching for our natural potential, there’s no doubt it. There are people who would say that being safe and secure is our natural state. Again, safety, warmth and security are essential to life, especially a comfortable life that’s worth living. However, there is a state of being that is more important than any of these other states. In fact, it is essential that this state exists before any of the other states are possible. What is this state? It is independence.
Everything that exists naturally exists in a state of independence. Freedom to grow, to move, to pursue sustenance are all non-negotiable pre-requisites to a full and healthy existence. What happens if you take a plant from its native soil and transplant it in a different soil under different conditions? Will that plant thrive? The answer is a resounding no. It will not thrive. Instead it will wither away and die. What happens when you take an animal from its natural habitat and confine it? Is that animal complete and whole? Is that animal happy? Again, the answer is no. We have all been to zoos and seen miserable animals in enclosures too small for their natural needs. They lie morosely or they pace endlessly from one wall of their cell to the other. It is not life for them, but rather a living death.
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– Lao Tzu
The same thing holds true for our species. We are naturally independent. We evolved in an environment where we lived by our wits and our instincts. We were at one with this environment because the choices of how we spent our time were entirely ours. Of course we were driven by our physical needs to seek food, water and shelter. However, we filled those needs as opportunity arose and as we saw fit.
Today, we are prisoners of our own cleverness. The simple tools that we first made to help us survive have evolved into an elaborate web of technology that ostensibly exists to make our collective lives easier. These technologies have made our lives easier, but they have come with a price. They have removed us from our natural state and have made us dependent upon them. In short, they have robbed us of our natural ability to be self-reliant.
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