May 22, 2013 § 7 Comments
Yesterday I had a long conversation with Richard Louv, author of Last Child in the Woods. This was for a story I’m working on – not the book, but another project relating to children and nature and education. It’s funny how this stuff tends to crop up for me.
Anyhow, my style of interviewing is pretty informal (goodness, imagine that!); I prefer to have conversations with the people I’m interviewing, rather than work from a script. The benefit, of course, is that you end up going places you might never have predicted. Such was the case with Richard, because pretty soon we weren’t talking about kids and education and nature. Pretty soon, we were talking about fear.
“You know, parents have such fear that their kids are going to be left behind in the economic race,” Richard said. “I never judge people for that fear, but we’re up against economic forces so strong, only a mass movement can stand up to it.”
He’s right, of course. Fear is an incredibly powerful motivator, whether it’s fear of death, poverty, social acceptance, or – perhaps even more affecting – our children’s death, poverty, and social acceptance. This is all entirely understandable, perhaps in part because these things really are worth fearing, but I suspect in some cases because we’ve been taught to fear them. We have been socialized to accept and even embrace these fears, and I think this is largely because these fears help fuel the economic race Richard speaks of and in doing so, generates profits for those at the head of that race.
Later in the conversation, we got off onto another tangent, about sensory perception. “You know,” said Richard, “it’s widely accepted in science that there are a lot more than five human senses.”
Oh yeah, I said, how many?
“Conservatively, 10. But maybe as many as 30. And the crazy thing is, a lot of these other senses are the ones we end up pushing away because we don’t give ourselves the freedom to experience them. We don’t give ourselves the ability to feel and to be fully alive.”
Later on, you know what I thought? Now, there’s something to be afraid of.