So finally…

… after years on the web, I’m actually starting to see a few themes in my work.

There are actually quite a few, and it’s amazing I haven’t noticed it before. A blog allows you to drift along and write about anything, really, so it’s taken a lot of drifting before I figured anything out.

I’m still learning, but here’s one thing I’m seeing: I learn from nature.

What does that mean? Well, Trust Agents was about how communication was changing, but more importantly, it was about how humans aren’t changing at all.

When I write now, I write a lot in metaphor, like talking about being a leader by talking about geese. Again, we can absorb a lesson by noticing it in nature and applying it to ourselves.

It’s so strange how humans have absolutely no idea what we’re about, or what we need to do aside from feed ourselves, have sex, and take care of our families and friends. Beyond that, we don’t truly know how to be happy, or to spend the drastically increased lifespan we’ve gained in the last century.

No one has taught us this, so the only way we learn it is by hearing other people’s stories about what they did. Our mistake is that, instead of being inspired by them, we have a tendency to just copy them, which I’m not sure works well.

Whatever the case, what behaviour I copy I pick up from plants and animals, almost never from people. I don’t know why that is, but I honestly feel I can learn more about love from a dog than I can from a human. I feel like they know instinctively something we may have forgotten.

Do you agree? I’d love to hear why, or why not.

Photocredit: texaseagle





12 responses to “So finally…”

  1. John McLschlan Avatar

    Right on, Julien. I think the “forgoetting” part is so true.

    Along similar lines and not as profound, I have watched my dog in the last year and see just how much I am like him. Somewhat tongue in cheek, but I wrote about it last week.

    I’m fairly new to blogging, but I like what you said about themes that develop, that at the time, you don’t see but after, you see the patterns. It’s kind of like the arc of one’s life that probably becomes a lot clearer at the end than at the beginning or as it’s happening.

  2. Ross Hill Avatar

    This is increasingly true for me too. There are of course many perspectives and reasons that we could talk about – but one strong one is that over the last 50 years most humans have been consuming broadcast one to many content streams very heavily. If we’re all getting the same exposure then of course we are going to act similarly. The birds flying past my window right now haven’t been watching CNN all day though, they see all sorts of things. Same goes for the trees, and the ocean. There are also so many complex patterns that you can really read into them whatever you want to – they will show you what you want to see, if you are ready to see it. That said, we wouldn’t recognise the value of natures patterns if we hadn’t gone through the broadcast process – so it is a required step of the evolution. The edge web platforms that are emerging now like Twitter are giving us access to this complexity again, if we want to sign up for it. It’s an exciting time ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Lisa Yallamas Avatar
    Lisa Yallamas

    Totally agree. Animals are what they are meant to be. There are no layers to peel away from their true nature. Tai Chi and yoga use metaphors of animal movement and forces of nature. Global warming shows a lack of balance with nature.

  4. Judy Helfand Avatar

    It is funny, last evening I was attending an HOA meeting and the landscape committee chairperson was explaining that we need to pay attention to the “understory”, as it applies to the ecological balance of our desert enviornment. Are you familiar with the palo verde tree? They serve as “nurse” plants for saguaro cacti by providing a canopy รขโ‚ฌโ€œ in effect, a microhabitat รขโ‚ฌโ€œ which offers warmth in winter and shade in summer. The slower-growing, longer-lived cactus will eventually replace its one-time protector. This is incredible to witness.
    You are correct, we learn so much from animals and plants. Today my dog, a basset hound, got out. People always tease that this breed is not very bright, but he spent over an hour wandering this pretty wild enviornment (think javalina, bobcats, on the front porch). Eventually he found his way home!
    Some of my best memories are of the farm animals I raised in NH. The real shyness of sheep when they have been newly sheared, the love of a Jersey calf who will respond to her name five acres away, the piglets that will prep their stall for living and even though they may go to visit the neighbors…they will find their way home.
    Last night I thought about the “understory”…and tonight I am thinking that what we learn from plants and animals is the “understory”. With a little effort we grow, do the right thing and learn not to stand below a bird’s nest!
    P.S. Tonight’s discussion, metaphorically speaking, is more enjoyable than the fire, water, and boulders of your “Fight Club” post.
    Also, here is a link to a post my son wrote last year. I think you will like the photos.

  5. King Sidharth Avatar

    Most of us think that what we live is a result of our actions, so we try to copy the result by copying the action. When, truly, it is result of how we feel, beacuse how what we feel is what we live, like you said.. it is the feel of inspiration that we should seek, not copying the action.

    Loved it.

  6. Tim Kastelle Avatar

    I’m very much the same way – I learn a lot from nature, and I use natural analogies a lot in my posts as well. Science analogies too, so it’s not all animals.

    I think that the basis for this is that people are prone to observe and copy – it’s a pretty fundamental part of our nature.

  7. Rufus Avatar

    “I honestly feel I can learn more about love from a dog than I can from a human”

    Welcome home, Julien, welcome home ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. Ken Slade Avatar

    I’m flattered that you like my photo well enough to use it in your blog, but… shouldn’t you attribute it to me?

    Ken Slade (TexasEagle on flickr)

  9. Helen Antebi Avatar
    Helen Antebi

    I had the privilege of growing up learning how to communicate, how to be respectful and how to love, from my relationships with horses. They have a purity of communication far beyond us humans. Current and mounting research proves their value in this domain, as does their increasing use in corporate training and coaching.

    And as for happiness, I have long considered this question…..I like to think in terms of maximizing our ability to experience pleasure as much of the time as possible. When I chased happiness, for some reason I was always disappointed, because it was so illusive, subjective and vanished often as quickly as it came. But reframing happiness in terms of actually ‘experiencing pleasure’ holds a ton of potential and can be measured on frequency and intensity – and for some reason it is much more achievable and sustainable….at least for me. Thanks for the stimulating blog and the 34 minutes (intermittent!) of pleasure mulling it over:)

  10. Denis P van Chestein Avatar

    I’m just discovering you, Julian, and I have to say, I love the way you write. This said, we, humans, are, first and foremost, storytellers; that’s how we have evolved and transmitted our knowledge from generation to generation for the last… well, you know…

    The sad thing is, although we have been publishing and creating more data in the last decade that since writing wasa invented, we are slowly loosing this ability…

    …and God knows, we all love a good story!

    1. Julien Avatar

      Thanks Denis– I’ll try to keep at it. ๐Ÿ™‚

    2. Julien Avatar

      And by the way, I agree with you about storytelling. I’m trying to figure out how to get better at that. ๐Ÿ™‚

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