Robert MacFarlane on our estrangement from the dark

“Our disenchantment of the night through artificial lighting may appear, if it is noticed at all, as a regrettable but eventually trivial side effect of contemporary life. That winter hour, though, up on the summit ridge with the stars falling plainly far above, it seemed to me that our estrangement from the dark was a great and serious loss. We are, as a species, finding it increasingly hard to imagine that we are part of something which is larger than our own capacity. We have come to accept a heresy of aloofness, a humanist belief in human difference, and we suppress wherever possible the checks and balances on us – the reminders that the world is greater than us or that we are contained within it.” 

Robert MacFarlane: The Wild Places

Feels like an important perception….so many of the issues we face now, arise through our disconnectedness with the natural world – and therefore inevitably also with ourselves and our own bodies, in relationship, in community. We live in cultures that value and expect summer solstice levels of manifestation all year round: we have value if we are young, beautiful, materially successful, if we achieve and produce. We are invited to Yang our ways through life, and taught to think of ourselves as failures or even ‘mentally ill’ if we are unable to sustain this. We do not move with nature’s rhythms, and we are invited to devalue or ignore age, death, stillness, rest, unknowing,  the vast dark landscape of surrender, receptivity and Yin: dreaming in a cave to replenish and give new seeds a chance to emerge and germinate. Every day brings us this invitation in miniature, in the form of the dark and the night. There is no better way to move beyond our daily littlenesses and disconnections, deeper into humility and vastness, deeper into ourselves and the world, than to stand in a woodland (or anywhere without too much light pollution) and look into a clear night sky.

Here’s the book link:-

Palace Gate Counselling Service, Exeter

Counselling in Exeter since 1994

This entry was posted in awakening, beauty, community, consciousness, creativity, cultural questions, cultural taboos, Disconnection, dying, embodiment, flow, identity, immanence, interconnection & belonging, meaning, metaphor & dream, natural world, organismic experiencing, perception, presence, Robert Macfarlane, self, self concept, spirituality, surrender and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.