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Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Nature, Society and Individuals

Sometimes, the most beautiful scenes don't have any people in them.

This is the view from my front door, as it appeared last night around sunset. Nothing man-made can top that. People can make things ugly.  Not that I think man is essentially fallen. What I actually think is that most individuals are good, but they behave differently once they are in large social groups.  That's why committees composed of nice people can behave like tyrants. You never know what they might do, just based on knowing them as individuals.

The video above is of Bow grooming me and watching part of a book trailer I made. We often privilege relationships over and above individuals, and that's essentially what favoring the needs of society means.That's what the book trailer is about.

 If we could somehow separate people from the social ties that influence them, I think they would behave very differently. A pack of dogs acts in ways that each dog on his own would not. Many incidents of mauling involve dogs acting as a pack. A mob of humans is not all that different from a pack of dogs. Give them authority and power, and they can do a lot of damage.

Take the BLM. They are no conservationists.

They sell off public lands for fracking, plan to euthanize wild tortoises and ship wild horses to be slaughtered in Mexico. Private landowners would not behave that way, but the public has been taught to think the opposite. I bet that it's not because the BLM is manned by black-hearted individuals, so much as that mob rule is what happens when you give people power over things they do not own. Each of those bureaucrats alone, if he owned some of that land, would behave in a very different way toward the wildlife. But because they do not own it,  they feel no personal responsibility toward the land and no real stewardship.

I am not a landscape-loving kind of person. I actually prefer portraits myself. But when I feel that the landscape belongs to me, it makes a difference. I start to see how beautiful it is. Ownership does that. I can only hope that more people come into ownership of large, lonely plots of land, so they can see the light, too.


  1. I heard about what was happening to wild horses in the 80s. That is just wrong. I actually do love landscapes, but I like ones where animals wander into the view.

    1. Hi, Julia. I think we all heard about the wild horses being slaughtered, but I for one did not know it was the BLM behind it.

      I like landscapes with animals in the foreground, too, but I tend to think of those as portraits of the animals. However, lately landscapes have been growing on me -- even with no visible animals.