An Excerpt from Jim Conrad's
NATURALIST NEWSLETTER
of April 22, 2012
written in the woods not far from Natchez, Mississippi, USA

ON BEING THROWN OFF THE INTERNET

Last weekend my entire website was thrown off the Internet. My service provider, FatCow.com, sent an email explaining the situation, but they'd blocked my email service so I couldn't receive any mail.

Someone at FatCow.com had seen our Newsletters being issued on Sunday morning, assumed that they were spam, and suspended my service. Maybe they'll do the same this Sunday. Eventually the site was reinstated after I was passed through a series of unsympathetic FatCow.com service representatives.

The experience is worth thinking about. For, we all know how the Internet, mobile phones, digital databases and the rest now profoundly affect our lives. What will happen when these systems break down, or someone takes control of them, reserving them only for the rich and/or powerful?

Our fast-evolving digital age so vulnerable to wayward electrons and unexpected interference has its analogy in Nature. For, human technological evolution is exploding and opening up new ways of being exactly the way biological evolution produces ever more highly adapted species for ever narrower ecological niches -- ever more novel ways of being. Also, the most exquisitely adapted of living organisms are the most vulnerable to environmental changes, just as people most engaged with technology are the most vulnerable to having their lives turned upside down.

Should humans abandon our technologies, then?

It seems to me that the Creator teaches through Her example of producing more and more biological diversity with ever more extraordinary adaptations that we thinking humans are being instructed to forge ahead with our own experimentation, our innovations and our evolution. But she also teaches us to hedge our bets: She produces tough, flexible, generalist weeds as well as exquisitely adapted orchids highly vulnerable to environmental changes.

This week as I did battle with FatCow.com I toyed with the notion of just walking away from this whole Internet thing, and spending my remaining years next to peaceful campfires, and wandering along isolated beaches, not bothering to tell anyone about it.

But, then I remembered the examples of coral reefs I've seen, of mountain meadows, of lush rainforests and deserts in bloom, and the pleasures of weedy roadsides, and I wanted to be like them. I wanted to be beautiful, too, and, like them, to live in harmony with the Creator's teachings.

So, here's another Newsletter today...