Nature vs. Culture

Are you a child of nature, or are you a child of culture?

I was reading The Book of Awakening by Mark Nepo, and this is the question he asks. A child of nature is one who does something and then experiences the natural consequences of that action. His example is the child who touches the hot stove and then gets burned.

A child of culture, on the other hand, is the one who asks for advice on dating, who looks to the culture to guide their next move. Who brings thought and understanding into their actions. Who studies human nature to determine the best action.

Our goal should be to be a combination of each, as many of us are. But most of us weigh heavily in one direction or the other. For instance, a child of nature, without bringing thought and understanding to their actions, is wont to repeat their actions over and over again, missing the lesson provided by nature. On the other hand, the child of culture is wont to study life as an observer and never really participate in it. And thus, the lesson never takes hold either, because experience is our best teacher. Not having an experience only makes the lesson a theory.

I tend to be the child of culture, but I have been working toward balancing more nature in my daily living. I have a daily schedule that allows me free time to just “do” something, but I still have to force myself to do that. I tend to spend more time in my head, while I need to spend more time in nature.

Nature or culture? What is your preference? What is one thing you could do today to balance out your natural tendancy?


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