Page 6 - Discover Summer 2023
P. 6

Editor’s Note

                                                              By Tim Ernandes

      It's Only Natural

         Some years ago, there was much ado about             applying governmental solutions to all of life’s
      a woman in North Dakota, who called a radio             problems. I’m reminded of a line from an old
      station to comment about deer crossing signs.           television commercial from the 70’s, in which an
      She complained that they were misplaced. In her         imposing ersatz-authority figure intones, “It’s not
      view, they were installed at the most inopportune       NICE to fool Mother Nature”. In truth, it isn’t
      locations, and seemed to result in more rather          really possible. Man acts, and nature reacts. Man’s
      than fewer deer collisions.                             attempts to “fool” Mother Nature are really only
                                                              stimuli to which nature reacts. Nature is what it is.
         Her position was that the deer crossings should
      be moved to areas where the deer could cross               So, in between guffaws, we uneasily affirm
      more safely, thus resulting, in her mind, in fewer      to ourselves that deer really cannot read signs,
      deer strikes, and a corresponding reduction in          even if the message is pictorial rather than in
      injuries and property damage. The audio of this         text. Moreover, we reassure ourselves that we
      call-in went viral on the internet, making this         understand that the signs were intended to warn
      woman an object of national ridicule.                   drivers, rather than to direct animals to an area
                                                              where it’s safe to cross. Nevertheless, how many
         Listening to her speak, one gets the impression
                                                              times do we less obviously fall prey to the same
      that this woman is of sound mind and at least
                                                              flawed conceptual thinking?
      average intelligence. Yet her stance on this
      particular issue evokes profound disbelief. How            The failing usually occurs when we try to
      could a seemingly rational human being possibly         separate ourselves from nature. Human conceit
      embrace the false concept that your average             has a large portion of our society believing that
      woodland creature pays attention to road signs,         somehow we are immune from the concept of
      much less has the intellectual capacity to discern      natural tendencies, merely because we are human.
      their messages?                                         Our elevated sense of our power and ourselves
                                                              frequently leads us to foolhardiness of thought.
         At the risk of sounding patently cliché, I
                                                              The Spanish-born American philosopher George
      believe that society is to blame.
                                                              Santayana is most often quoted thusly:
         My argument is that this woman has been
                                                                 Those who cannot remember the past are
      conditioned by society to become disconnected
                                                              condemned to repeat it.
      from logic and analytical thought. This is the
      result of the increasingly popular notion of               Rarely have so few words carried so much

      4      Discover Smith Mountain Lake  SUMMER 2023
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