Natural vs Alien

I grew up immersed within nature. It was an incredible feeling because I felt like I knew who I was and how I fit into the greater scheme of things on this planet.

As I got older though and started joining the work force of society, that naturalness quickly evaporated to be replaced by a feeling of totally unnaturalness and alienation. For a short time, I was perplexed as to why business worked so unnaturally, yet eventually I just accepted it as “the way things were and had always been”. Today, however, I realize that this isn’t the case. We as a society have created this unnaturalness and alienation around us. And so too can we as a collective create a better and more natural future for ourselves once again, if we so choose to do so.

And you realize that during a moment
where they experienced a grievance
that anyone in this audience could imagine possibly
encountering or feeling themselves,
they felt alienated.

Jared Cohen, Thinking and Doing Around Radicalization

Isn’t alienation at the root of so many of our problems? Alienated individuals make an alienated society. And we are that — alienated from nature, from the Great Spirit of life, from our own souls and their gifts, and from each other. Isn’t there at the base of apathy, at the root of every mean and violent act, an alienated individual who feels powerless and adrift? Isn’t so much of the hostility we see reflected in our youth today simply a cry, a scream that says, “I can’t do it. I can’t express. I can’t make a constructive difference”? Perhaps as a society, we are better to encourage and develop the good within young people than to concentrate on answering their cries with greater punishment. People are good and will do good if they think they can. Youth look to their elders for the way, but they will not be deceived. There is no substitute for authentic examples.

Laurence G. Boldt, Zen and the Art of Making a Living

Lao Tzu believed that when people do not have a sense of power they become resentful and uncooperative. Individuals who do not feel personal power feel fear. They fear the unknown because they do not identify with the world outside of themselves; thus their psychic integration is severely damaged and they are a danger to their society. Tyrants do not feel power, they feel frustration and impotency. They wield force, but it is a form of aggression, not authority. On closer inspection, it becomes apparent that individuals who dominate others are, in fact, enslaved by insecurity and are slowly and mysteriously hurt by their own actions. Lao Tzu attributed most of the world’s ills to the fact that people do not feel powerful and independent.

R.L.Wing, The Tao of Power