A cat realizes its raining and thinks, “It’s raining, better go find somewhere cozy to snuggle up for the night and enjoy the sound of droplets hitting the ground”. The human realizes its raining, and muses, “I wonder how this is happening? I wonder if I could make rain and sell it? How can I recreate this?”. The cat spends the whole night cuddled up inside his cozy kitty-cubby, while the human, stands and studies in the rain, and catches a cold.
This was the beginning of the biggest argument Rebecca and I have had so far. While our banter was sporting and silly, the problem at hand held heavy significance to me. Why do humans do so much to change the world around us, instead of just enjoying the things mother nature has given freely? Why do we feel driven to create things to keep us entertained, when we could entertain ourselves with the simple pleasures of the earth? What causes humans to be so destructive, in the name of progress, and distracted in the name of boredom?
Our argument started with a simple question: are humans more intelligent than animals? My answer was a resounding no! Rebecca, astounded, pointed out the achievements humans have made over millennia to improve their living circumstances and the general longevity of the species. I argued that humans (stupidly) spent so much energy on trying to progress that they have forgotten to simply sit and enjoy the sunset. *I* think humans are smarter ONLY because we believe we are smarter. We can only be intelligent if we contrast our intelligence to that of other humans. (I’ll fight you tooth and nail on this. SUE ME!)
Whether we are more intelligent than other animals is unimportant to me. What IS important is that humans don’t take a moment to enjoy, rather than to improve. I’ve found, especially in the past few months, that it has become increasingly hard for me to sit still without looking at my phone, or reading a book, or watching the news. I seek to find some answers or some new step-by-step happiness guide. We crave answers, rather than embracing mystery. The happiest moments in my life are the ones experienced unhindered by the need to conquer or solve. On top of a mountain basking in a sunrise on a cool morning is true bliss. Uninterrupted communion with nature, and family are the pinnacle of ecstatic pleasure.
Humans also tend to overcompensate for their problems. Shoes are a perfect example. One day, a cave-man stepped on a thorn. He first yelped in pain, and then he thought, “I could make something to cover my foot with when I go hunting that way I don’t have to worry about thorns stabbing my feet.” His invention caught on. At first he only wore his shoes when he was hunting in the woods. He then began to wear his shoes while he was around the cave, because sometimes his cave-wife (or husband) was clumsy and sometimes dropped spiky rocks on the floor. Eventually, our cave-man wore his shoes all day, keeping them on from the moment he woke up, to the moment he went to sleep, even when it wasn’t necessary.
There are current scientific studies that overwhelmingly prove the positive health benefits of “grounding”. Grounding is the simple, (but apparently controversial?), act of taking ones shoes off, and standing on the earth. Getting some grass between your toes and dirt under your feet is proving to be one of the most overwhelmingly powerful ways to overcome minor depression. We have created shoes for work, shoes for playing golf, shoes for walking, shoes for hiking, shoes for walking to the bathroom from the bedroom, and in consequence, we have lost touch with the ground beneath us (pun intended?).
The next time you see a beautiful flower, don’t pick it, just let it sit there and do its thing. When you’re with your loved ones, don’t pull out your phone and hope to find spiritual or human connection through its 8 inch screen. Reach out and hug your family and friends and dogs and cats. I don’t intend to try to convince you that shoes are destroying humanity. I’m also not arguing that humans are inherently stupid. I only hope that you’ll be inspired to look at the rain, and just let it fall.