Pop The Bubble

489. Join me in inspiring truly powerful people. Each day I will add a new thought, story or idea to support your quest and mine.

A few years ago I asked Carol what was the one thing I needed to know before going to Alaska. Her answer took me by surprise. She said, “Oh, that’s easy. When you go to Alaska you re-enter the food chain.” She was right. I had the same impression: a walk in the woods is never just a walk in the woods. Being lunch for a bear is not an abstraction. It is amazing how your priorities shift when you recognize that your position atop the food chain is an illusion. It is amazing how you come alive.

Sean told me that we are always in the food chain but society acts as a kind of bubble; it buffers us from the nature of things. Besides, within the bubble with our natures buffered we are highly efficient at killing each other and ourselves (with stress, cigarettes, etc.). A buffered nature spawns unnatural acts. A buffered nature – or a “culture of comfort” as Martín Prechtel would call it – distorts our story to the point that we forget we are part of and not on top of nature. The “on top” idea is lethal. It is the mother lode of comedy. It is not bears we need fear but the neighborhood watch, the rival gang, the other political team, the police, the banks, and those who are supposed to be governing and protecting our interests. I think I prefer the bears; they are upfront in their intentions.

I suspect the point of having a bubble is to feel safe within it. A city is nothing if not one big campfire. We are supposed to be safer together than alone so why does our bubble, our mega campfire, engender so much alienation and loneliness; all these individual bubbles walking around within the larger bubble? How many times have I met with groups in urban settings who want to “create community?” Too many – apparently proximity to millions of other humans does not a community make. Life within the bubble, buffered from nature, alienates us from…our nature and each other. Bubbles create smaller bubbles.

Outside the bubble, when I was aware that I looked like coleslaw to big furry animals, I wanted other people around. I wanted a lot of other people around. I like my big Seattle campfire – and I wonder what it might be like inside the bubble if we put down the ridiculous notion that we are separate from the natural order of things and stopped pretending that we were somehow above it all.

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