I wonder what it's like to be on a space station for months at a time? Unique and unfamiliar would wear off after a while - then could human life develop indefinitely?
I have been reading and hearing a lot about humans' dependence on nature for their well-being. My father is a staunch believer. So much so, in fact, that he has devoted the last 15 years to the founding of a natural history museum in upstate New York. The Wild Center, in Tupper Lake, NY, is now a thriving testament to that conviction: the natural world of the outdoors is a treasure of inestimable value to the world, including to humanity. (You really must go some time - bring the whole family)
In Diane Ackerman's "The Zookeeper's Wife," a non-fiction story of World War II, the author used one woman's journals and lots of research to document Warsaw during the German occupation. Part of what sapped all of the life out of the Jews confined to Warsaw's ghetto, she writes, was their complete disconnection from the natural world - trees, grass, animals. They shriveled and turned gray and dull.
In order for human beings to thrive, to find their depth, to feel their connection to their mother Earth, they must have some contact with a growing, living world. But I wonder how that would apply to someone, say, who is born on a space station, and grows up there. Do we only need to feel connected to Earth if we live on it? Could humans survive, in some distant place in the future, without Earth? Hard to imagine.
As far as all of us who are living here on this planet, I am a member of the nature club. I think people lose an important element of themselves if they are too long deprived of contact with the living world. We lose our animal awareness, our sensory attention, our ability to feel and interact with the world intuitively. We become more like the structures of steel and concrete and electronic circuitry that we have invented, and lose touch with our breathing skin and our beating hearts.
Take a deep breath of the fresh May air. Hold onto a tree. Watch a bird, or some ants. Dig some dirt - take off the gloves and run it through your hands. Feel the breeze on your skin. You are a part of all of this.