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Rabbit Holes 🕳️ #45
From reconnecting with nature through culture to designing for circadian rhythms and moving from a focus on productivity to focusing on love
THIS WEEK → 🎵 Reconnecting With Nature Through Culture 🌅 Designed for Circadian Rhythm 🥰 Stop Being Productive, Love Instead
Rabbit Holes 🕳️
Here are three perspective-shifting ideas that I’ve come across lately, plus some fun extras. Enjoy!
#1 🎵 Reconnecting With Nature Through Culture
How should we embrace or even prioritize nature more if we have continuously decreased its appearance within our cultural products? As this article explains, since the 1950s and the increasing use of technology & home entertainment, nature has continually lost its relevance or mention in music, art, novels, and movies. So, as the article notes: “Artistic creations that help us connect with nature are crucial at a time like this, when nature seems to need our attention and care more than ever.”
It’s hard to overstate how much good nature does for our well-being: Study after study documents the psychological and physical benefits of connecting with nature. People who are more connected with nature are happier, feel more vital, and have more meaning in their lives. […]
We stand to benefit tremendously from nurturing a strong connection with nature. Yet our connection to nature seems more tenuous than ever today—a time when our children can name more Pokémon characters than wildlife species. […]
It is widely accepted that we are more disconnected from nature today than we were a century ago, but is that actually true? A recent study we conducted suggests that it is—and that may be bad news not only for our well-being but also for the environment. […] To find out how the human relation to nature has changed over time, […] we turned to the cultural products they created. Works of popular culture, we reasoned, should reflect the extent to which nature occupies our collective consciousness. […]
Across millions of fiction books, thousands of songs, and hundreds of thousands of movie and documentary storylines, our analyses revealed a clear and consistent trend: Nature features significantly less in popular culture today than it did in the first half of the 20th century, with a steady decline after the 1950s. For every three nature-related words in the popular songs of the 1950s, for example, there is only slightly more than one 50 years later.
A look at some of the hit titles from 1957 makes clear how things have changed over time: They include “Butterfly,” “Moonlight Gambler,” “White Silver Sands,” “Rainbow,” “Honeycomb,” “In the Middle of an Island,” “Over the Mountain, Across the Sea,” “Blueberry Hill,” and “Dark Moon.” In these songs, nature often provides the backdrop to and imagery of love. […] Fifty years later in 2007, there are only four nature-related hit titles: “Snow (Hey Oh),” “Cyclone,” “Summer Love,” and “Make It Rain.” […]
Our findings point to a different explanation for our disconnection from nature: technological change, and in particular the burgeoning of indoor and virtual recreation options. The 1950s saw the rapid rise of television as the most popular medium of entertainment. Video games first appeared in the 1970s and have since been a popular pastime, while the Internet has been claiming more and more leisure time since the late 1990s. It stands to reason that these technologies partially substituted for nature as a source of recreation and entertainment. […]
It’s worth remembering that cultural products such as songs and films not only reflect the prevailing culture—they also shape it. […] Artistic creations that help us connect with nature are crucial at a time like this, when nature seems to need our attention and care more than ever.”
» Greater Good Magazine | How Modern Life Became Disconnected From Nature by Pelin Kesebir & Selin Kesebir
#2 🌅 Designed for Circadian Rhythm
I believe that the topic of time and how we define, perceive and manage it is an extremely important one and lies at the core of many problems we are facing these days (esp. burnout). As I’ve already shared here, here and here, we’ve become so disconnected from our natural rhythms that there’s a huge opportunity in helping people become more in sync again with their natural “time”.
“Over the last few years, there has been a groundswell of podcasts, wellness apps and self-improvement social media videos alerting a mass audience to the potential of applying circadian science. It was a slightly non-PC meme in which an anxious party attendee plans to head home “to protect my circadian rhythm” that made me think new, younger audiences were taking note. […]
For example, a viral YouTube video entitled “The Optimal Morning Routine – Andrew Huberman” by After Skool animates advice from the wildly popular Stanford professor, who recommends viewing outdoor light within an hour after waking, even if it’s cloudy. This is because light exposure is by far the most powerful way to “entrain” the cybernetic complex of clocks within our bodies. […]
If those in authority grasp the power of circadian science to improve our lives, we might expect to see changes in how we design buildings to encourage or block light at different times of day, or labor laws that mandate health-oriented benefits and appropriate compensation for valuable shift workers. […]
Over 270 years ago the Swedish botanist Carl Linneas proposed a “flower clock” in which different species would be arranged according to the time of day at which they opened, closed and released their unique scents. Though the plan remains unrealized, various horticulturists have tried to revive it over the years, lured by the dream of ecological synchrony.
This fall Apple Watch users will see the number of hours they spend in daylight incorporated into their health app. Meanwhile, trends suggest that people of all ages are shifting social activities to earlier in the day. As with Linneas’s imagined garden, principles of chronodesign, chronotherapy and chronoethics applied in hospitals, schools, homes and workplaces could offer a universal baseline, more in tune with our biology, to help us orient ourselves.
It’s safe to assume that life will find ways to knock us off schedule — and there are plenty of worthwhile reasons to get a poor night’s sleep — but it will be far easier to get back on track when the built and natural world both know the time.”
#2 🥰 Stop Being Productive, Love Instead
Linking back to what called the Optimization Sinkhole, the short article below explores the disappointment and pain that comes from an emphasis on productivity and optimization. I really like the suggestion of “falling in love again” with one’s work and the details of it, like a painter that cherishes every brushstroke she makes.
“In an anxiety-inducing competitive world, productivity promises safety and success. The underlying belief is that the more we get done, the more ahead we will be. While it does make logical sense, it traps us in an eternal race.
In a day timeframe, it results in incapacity and disappointment, for we could have always done more. In a longer timeframe, it depletes us and makes us cynical. We get so caught up in doing and moving that we forget where we want to be and why.
For example, consider a student on the verge of an exam period. We can imagine a sliver of the stress he carries. […] Since he cannot bear all that pressure—most of which is unconscious—he uses productivity like a fight response. He charges right into the action. His willpower, fuelled by fear, is enough to sit down and open the course notes. But he can bearly concentrate; all his energy goes into stifling his procrastination. He ends the day exhausted and despaired, only to do it all again tomorrow. […]
In work and relationships, we need to fall in love again and again, admiring the fine details that sparked our passion in the first place. Each time our love becomes more mature, more gentle, more intimate. We get closer to the universal ideal of love. This is an active process.
True love is when the consideration for the self vanishes in the light of grace, and we devote ourselves to good.”
👁️ Femmetopia: How the future will look like when feminity becomes a valued driving force in the labor market by Lydia Caldana & Maria Clara Pessoa
💡 Movement Economies: Building an Economics Rooted in Movement by Steve Dubb & Rithika Ramamurthy
📁 Sustainable Food Trends 2023 by Impact Hub Berlin (This is a report I recently had the pleasure to work on 😉)
📕 How to build a low-tech internet by Kris de Decker & Marie Otsuka
🚿 Shower Thoughts
That’s it for this week!
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