An Excerpt from Jim Conrad's
NATURALIST NEWSLETTER
of June 22, 2007
Issued from Sierra Gorda Biosphere Reserve Headquarters in
Jalpan, Querétaro, MÉXICO

WHAT TO DO WHEN
THERE'S NOTHING TO DO

During last weekend's hike I passed through three or four little settlements that were as dusty, odoriferous and hangdog looking as can be imagined. Though I tried to avoid gawking sometimes I'd hear someone in or outside a hut next to the road and it was good manners to look in that direction and greet whomever was there. Again and again I got this mental snapshot: A young woman very well dressed and made up would be just standing there doing nothing, or young males might be lounging about with their shirts open, airing their bellies.

So, how do you spend your time if you're in a place where there is no employment, it's too arid for decent agriculture, fruit trees grow pretty much on their own and wandering chickens, pigs, goats and cattle don't really need much attention? Or you're part of a culture structured so that most needs are taken care of automatically by machines or professionals doing their jobs, and for one reason or another you don't have one of those jobs?

Trogons and iguanas spend most of their time just sitting, doing little beyond digesting. It seems to me that Mother Nature doesn't mind Her creations having long stretches of "doing nothing." Certainly I'm not automatically against it. In fact, compared to activities such as stripmining coal, logging old-growth forests, or recreational shopping, "doing nothing" amounts to enlightened behavior.

Still, if you don't exercise your body, you get weak, sick and you don't look good. If you don't exercise your mind and spirit, even worse things happen. Therefore, what should one do when confronted with a lot of free time?

Building on last week's notion that if we are to save Life on Earth, "Only thoughts and behaviors blossoming from art, science and spirituality can save us," I think that the most appropriate pastimes are those rooted in art, science and spirituality (not religion). Develop your artistic gifts, try to understand something that's a mystery, keep thinking about the meaning of it all...

But, here's an even more engaging question: Why bother even discussing these matters?

One reason that lately I'm reexamining my own life, sorting my behaviors into those which are programmed and which arise from free-will thought, and figuring out how to spend my free time is this: In my home state of Kentucky a large museum has opened with displays asserting that 6000 years ago humans coexisted with dinosaurs, and that evolution is a lie. Over 4000 people visited it on its first day. The museum's website is at http://www.creationmuseum.org/.

So, worldwide, well funded forces supported and directed by powerful people are at work to confuse the masses by discrediting science, and to replace artful, evolving, adaptive thinking patterns and behaviors with rigid, dangerous fundamentalist dogma.

"Basic training" for participation in the war against this darkness begins with first getting our own heads straight about what we ourselves believe, why, and what difference that makes.

That, and developing artistic gifts, trying to understand something that's a mystery, and keeping thinking about the meaning of it all... that's what to do when there's nothing to do. Facebook Icon.