Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Each to His or Her Own

Funny -- I would rather the exact opposite.

One person who liked and shared this meme on Facebook is a coworker who loves to go camping.  But she doesn't go out into the wild, the real nature.  She and her husband take their camper to campsites that provide electricity and other amenities, where they're surrounded by many other like-minded nature fans.  (She's often remarked on the difficulty of getting a good spot, which must be reserved in advance.)  And of course, they don't go out during the winter.  Communing with nature has its season.

I like green grass, living water, and fresh air myself, but on the whole I prefer to be amongst city traffic and the noise of "man."  I live in a small (though growing) city, and my idea of fun is to travel to a city -- San Francisco, Chicago, Seoul, Incheon.  It's a bit ironic, given my loner tendencies, but even as I live alone I'm glad to know that there are people handy, and I like interacting with other people.  That kind of interaction is a benefit of city life.

Yes, cities have their dangers, but so does Nature.  Before "Man" wiped out many predators, a sojourn in the forest would likely bring you into the proximity of critters that would view you not as Man, but as Lunch.  It seems, in fact, that this cultivated nostalgia for a carefully modified-and-tamed-by-humans Nature is an artifact of modernity.  It's a luxury we moderns can indulge because we can keep Nature at bay.  (Most of the time, anyway.)

Ah well, each to his or her own.  The difference between a city-lover like me and a nature-lover like my coworker is a matter of degree rather than kind, I think.  I wouldn't want to live in a place where there was no greenery, but well-maintained cities should and do have plenty of plant life within reach; parks aren't "nature" in the sense meant by the meme, they're human creations.  Nor would my coworker want to abandon the technology of Man that she and her husband cart along with them into the greenwood.  I'm just a bit bothered by the contempt expressed in that meme for those comforts -- since the speaker in the meme is a human being himself, there's self-hatred in it too.  That can't be a good thing.