See link: Actual Footage of Abram’s Spider Cave
Dr. Larochelle’s question:
Relate to some of his focus on the senses and on the interconnectedness between humans and the more-than-human world. Have you had an experience at all like his with the condor or with the spiders in the cave? In response to his word of warning in his preface about how we filter so much through technology now….how do you think your relationship to the sensuous world around you would change if suddenly you weren’t attached to your smart phone?
The senses, touch, sight, taste, smell, vestibular, and auditory, are the ways that we choose to perceive the world. But we also perceive the senses. Can we trust what is merely a perception of a perception? I disagree with Abram’s assessment that the senses detect more than just the world around us. While we are able to observe others and the world around us, any emotion derived from those observations is a perception of a perception, generated not by our senses but by our own mind. I believe that any connection with the surrounding world is merely a matter of perceiving learned queues from others. However, I believe that a deeper connection can be achieved with nature. Unlike humans, queues cannot be learned. There are no queues to follow like there are in human society. Often, nature seems much more human and intelligent than any actual person could be. This applies to animals, as well as landscapes and ecosystems. I have had experiences like this before with many wild animals. The experience that stands out to me the most is an experience I had with a snake.
I was down by a river near my house, and there was a snake chilling out by a log. When I walked near it, it noticed me, and began to observe me. I stopped, and observed it’s behavior in turn. Every time I took a step towards the snake, it would dive behind the fallen log. After a while, it would poke it’s head back up again, scanning for danger. It would notice me, and we would continue our visual dialogue until I moved again. What surprised me was the intelligence, the humanity I could see in the eyes of the snake. It’s behavior seemed so logical and smart, from it’s peek-a-boo game to the way it would level it’s head. When I’m around humans, rather than being surprised by their intelligence, I am more often disappointed by their stupidity.
In respects to Abram’s warning about technology, I think that while unhealthy, it is inevitable. When humans first developed the capacity to imagine, they perceived life in daydreams. With books, they entered a literary, fictional world. Now, we do the same with interactive video games, online chatting, and VR. However, over time these technological lenses have increased in their capacity to encompass our lives. I believe that the consumption of the human experience in further progressing technologies is unhealthy. However, I also believe that a more technology-driven life also creates a greater appreciation for nature. I believe that without my smartphone, my connection to nature would definitely increase. However, without the dichotomy of technology and nature, could I appreciate or experience nature in the same way? I do not think I would be able to find nature without escaping from technology in order to get there.