Living on Top of the Past – Contemplative Practice

It is obvious that people once lived in a very different way than we currently live now, but it is easy to become oblivious to that. Through industrialization, we only physically see current developments, and we see developments of the past through photographs, museums, etc. We see black and white photos, and it seems that color didn’t exist back then. Famous black and white photos of influential figures or places separate their time from ours. Color is contemporary in photographs and television, but we forget that color has always existed, even before it could be recorded. What kind of world are we moving into? Are we moving into a world that will continue to bring new color, or has it always been the same colors, but looked at in a different light?

The contemplative practice during our class on oil provoked these thoughts in my head. As Karen mentioned in lecture, fossil fuels have given us gifts through the years, mainly that of food and industrialization. The question “what kind of world are we moving into?” was asked at the very end. As we use more and more of earth’s natural resources, we don’t have an end in mind. Our using will never stop as long as the human race continues to exist and develop. Our actions now determine our future, just as the actions of the black and white past determined our present color world and future.

Humans are in an odd position in the course of the natural world and advancement of time. We use things for our own personal gain and survival; mainly the earth’s resources in food and water. The ever-increasing demands of industrialization have placed humans in the role of an eternal “user,” and while the cycle of use continues, we may not be able to give anything back to the earth that would replace what we have taken away.

2 thoughts on “Living on Top of the Past – Contemplative Practice

  1. Jared Thomas Robinson

    This is actually very similar to the contemplative practice post I just made. It’s so interesting how, in such a short period of time, we as humans have managed to develop such a culture and norm of excessive consumption. We realize it isn’t sustainable, AND we know it will have negative impacts on our future, AND we know what we can do to mitigate those effects, but we don’t. Comparing this reality to the concept of a black and white past with a color present makes a really great point as well, because we often view our ways of the past as outdated and now irrelevant, but it seems like we could learn a lot…

  2. Ava Ruhi Rezaee

    This post is a great example of an individual “contemplating” on a very urgent matter. This type of deep reflection of the role humanity has played in the destruction of the environment is critical to helping our world move forward and put an end to this deterioration. This is the same kind of conversation and reflection that our policymakers must have in order for there to be an actual change in the way humans function. You have described humans quite well as “users” and you have perfectly outlined the frightening cycle we have invented based off of industrialization. It has not become clear to society that the resources we have on this earth are finite, unlike our economic growth models which are infinite. These are important aspects when it comes to understanding how to develop new ways of thinking.


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