I learned recently that the steps at Chichen Itza are no longer open to the public. I can’t fathom this as the very structure itself was created to be experienced. It exists for human experience. It is less when viewed from the base. It’s like closing off a historical hedge maze. What’s the point? What exactly are we preserving it for? Why don’t we care that the very experience of our world is being slowly lost? Is this the reason that despite our obvious progress in human rights, people always hunger for the past, when the world seemed so much better?
But it’s not just Chichen Itza. It’s every little thing that make up our daily first-world lives. We don’t talk face to face to each other most of the time. I’m writing this in a room alone. Almost every advance in technology has taken us further away from the origins of things. Even childbirth in the United States usually happens after the mother losing all feeling. I don’t even wear winter coats when I should because I’m not outside more than a minute or two total. It’s socially acceptable to run if you’re just practicing while wearing appropriate clothing, but not for ordinary locomotion.
We’re so far removed from reality and pay less attention to those of our most basic, human needs that cannot be quantified than we do to those of our needs that we can count, like quantity of food and length of life. We forget about how important the attention of a mother is or what the warmth of sunlight does for our minds. Sometime between the time we’re born and the time we start thinking we should feel grown-up, most of us lose the desire for constant tactile experience and trade it in for living in our heads.
Will this be our downfall? Our strong desire to become something we’re not? We pretend like we don’t need to eat plants that grow roots in the dirty ground. We don’t care about the farmer or the weather that contributes to the success of his crops. Natural corn isn’t good enough for us so we engineered a type that can withstand the reality of bugs and disease. We think this in turn makes us more resilient, but doesn’t it really do the opposite because we cannot engineer people that don’t have to depend on the reality of life, the tactile and actual experience of life. Doctors won’t ever give us immortal life and machines will never invent something that a man or woman doesn’t dream up first.
The reality is that all things are transient. Nothing lasts. At what point will our natural habitat no longer exist? Like a tiger in the zoo, will we might still have some token trees for scenery and take cat naps but we won’t be doing any of the things that really make us happy and healthy. We won’t be running just because we’re in a hurry or giving birth without a scientific representative present.
We need to stop living in our heads so much. We need to stop watching other people’s lives on television and live our own.
We should fight for our tactile world. Deliver your babies yourselves. Grow your own food. Be within touching distance of the people you care about. Cook from scratch. Give a gift and watch someone open it. Preserve an environment for your children so we won’t face essential extinction. Happiness can’t be measured or quantified, but it can be felt and I don’t see how removing ourselves from our physical world makes us feel any happier.