Saturday, February 5, 2011

Can a Spirit Bear Exist In The Hyperreal?

So, I wonder about the meanings that are made, symbolically and spiritually, in our everyday "environments". I especially wonder about what epistemologies have been levied upon us due to technology fetishism and detachment from our natural surroundings in favor of consumerist built surroundings (think detachment from and abstraction of nature here). It's for these reasons that I like the narrative of the spirit bear. Do we have these narratives today, or does our technology-driven industrialized scam only allow for consumerist fantasies articulated in the hyperreal?


21 comments:

Duncan Shorter said...

I don't think we do have these narratives today, other than the commercialized Judeo-Christian stories disseminated throughout the world; except in areas where technology is not as prominent as the United States and Western Europe. It has been a long time since I've heard a fictitious tale or fable spoken by anyone, but I've heard multiple tales from countries such as The Congo's derivatives, and Central Southern America (Amazon Forest). There are no spiritual tales of how electricity or LCD's were discovered, but there are scores of stories recalling the mythical discovery/invention of fire.
At this point in time, I don't think much can be done about escaping the "hyperreal" within the tales of technology, it's like it is "too understood".

Ashley Klein said...

Can a spirit bear exist in the hyperreal? In my opinion, no. As long as our society is centered around consumerism and technology, our practices will lead to the destruction of the spirit bear's environment and will eventually lead to its death. Unless we drop our keeping up this the Jones' attitude, I don't see the spirit bear surviving mutually in this hyperreal that we, humans, have created. I would like to think that humankind is capable of exchanging these environmentally degrading practices that have become the "norm" for sustainable practices that can help create a sounder world for the spirit bear.

hilltaylor@unc.edu said...

A useful link with profile of the locale and suggestions for solutions...

http://www.raincoast.org/

Cameron Ward said...

I believe that people in general, not just Americans, have lost sight of symbolism and spirituality like what the spirit bear stands for. The foundation that made this nation so great was the idea of a nation where you could be yourself and through hard work and perseverance become part of the upper class. "The Nation on a Hill" that we were once known for is almost gone. In place is a system of lazy individuals who rely on technology to advance our position in society and not hard work. The result of this is a nation no longer the envy of the world as we once were. We need to change the direction we are heading and get back on the right path.

Annie Berrier said...

I believe that in today's society it would be hard for the spirit bear to survive. It seems like all anyone cares about anymore is having the latest smart phone or the coolest laptop or having a fancy car. No one ever seems to take notice when the need to be technologically advanced takes precedent over the effect we are having on the environment. The spirit bear is on the verge of extinction already and not much is being done to prevent the progression of their extinction. I think there should be stricter hunting laws and maybe even a wildlife preservation for the bears to live on. I think it's time for use to put aside our need to be technologically advanced and start paying attention to the diminishing world around us. the legend behind the bear says it is a reminder of the barren ice land the habitat used to be, and I believe that too many people are beginning to ignore that reminder.

Megan Williams said...

While watching the video, the comment that stood out the most to me was that the story of the spirit bear has been orally passed down in the the British Colombian culture for over 10,000 years. I cannot think of any narrative, one may not exist, in the technological world we current live in. I don't know what the Native American's stories are about the land I currently live on, but I can tell you how to update facebook in several different ways. This reflects our technological society that is separated from nature. I think our technology does not have to be detrimental to our relationship with nature- but that we should fine a way to use our technology to benefit the spirit bears and pass down similar narratives. The real trick is simply getting our society to care more about the spirit bear than telling the world via web what they're eating at the moment.

Thomas said...

Older societies had narratives like the spirit bear to explain the universe to it's people. That is not the norm of today's society but it is still found in areas around the world. It may not be in your own home or even in your neighborhood, but there are places, such as the middle east, that still rely on the narratives of their ancestors to tell the story of the world to their children. You may just have to look a little bit harder when trying to find the stories that explain the world. Within the world today, people are always thinking about the material things that are open for people to get or something that a person can achieve. But it is not always about who may have the better material items. Stories drive our lives and when we look back at a great time we had , we create our own narratives to share with others. People enjoy going out into the wilderness to get away from the hustle and bustle of the big city. It is better in some cases to step away from the technology that surrounds us and go out into the environments we have around us to see its beauty. Even if a small percentage of the population does this, there is a still a chance that we can save the things in the wild that we love, cherish, and respect, like the spirit bear.

Kendra said...

The "spiritual", "magic" is gone. No, today we do not have narratives like these. Today people explain stories through science, statistics, and facts. Industrialized society does not think about the "wild" or the "ecosystems" that made industries possible. On average more people would rather watch "jersey shore or keeping up with the kardashians" versus watching a short clip on endangered species or the history behind these animals. I do not believe that bears should be hunted anywhere, but that is not the belief or opinion of everyone. I have no idea how to go about stopping the killing of the Black Bear who create the Spirit Bears, nor any other animal that is endangered. If people would just take 2-3 minutes out of their busy "industrialized" lives and watch a video like this, maybe changes could be made. The unfortunate thing is that this video makes impact on only a few of many individuals. Put yourself in the Spirit Bears place, these bears have been around for longer then you, and you as a society are driving them to extinction. Am I the only one that sees something wrong with this picture?

Jenny Gough said...

Today's commercialized and technologically raised generation does not have narratives like the spirit bear to call their own. Because we have no narratives, people instead use the narratives of other cultures, that still have a cultural connection to nature, in order to illustrate the importance of wildlife and nature on the spiritual level. The is made apparent in the video where the narrator must cite the narrative as a "first nation narrative", a spiritual explanatory narrative that originated from the beliefs of another culture. Because of the disconnect between the ipod jamming city teen and the natural environment, the teen does not have an innate personal and cultural connection to the spiritual importance of nature and must find that importance through a foreign culture. In this process, a deeper connection is lost through the transfer to another culture - it is not completely understood, like how you can not see the importance of a scene to yourself and your culture if you must look through the tinted glass of another peoples spiritual experience.

eliane lopes said...

Our way of living changed with technology.People lost most of the interest in mother nature and all the attention is on technology. This video made me stop and think about the preservation of Spirit bears.Perhaps more videos similar to The Spirit Bear should be brought to our attention and technology can than be used as helpful tool.The movie made me wonder why we are so destructive.

Gokul Shankar said...

I think our technology-driven industrialized scam and our consumerist fantasies overpower any narratives that may exist because there is no profit in these narratives. By looking at such tales as the Spirit Bear in purely scientific views, their significance is downplayed as opposed to looking at the tales in a spiritual way. People will be more likely to destroy what they understand because once you understand something, the hold of the mysterious unknown is released. The advancement of technology also calls for destruction of such narratives, because technology can only grow with the growth of new ideas, and narratives are nothing but old thoughts and stories passed down throughout the times. Old information set in place cannot survive for long in an ever developing society.

Katie Zimmer said...

I thought the narrative of the spirit bear was informative yet somewhat depressing. It talked of the environment in which the bear lives and the history behind its origin. However, I found it sad that our need for expansion and deforestation has caused the environment in which this bear lives to be destroyed. The video stated there were only about 400 of these sprit bears left. I believe our technology-driven industrialized society has been neglecting the destruction they cause in other habitats. Over the years, our generations have been changing from communicating via talking in person, to using the landline, and now we just use email or cell phones. Our obsession with technology has most likely led to the deforestation of many animal habitats and I find it sad people have become so detached from our natural environments. I told a few of my friends that I was going to be spending two weeks in a cabin in Minnesota without internet or cell phone coverage. They could not believe how I was okay with being disconnected from the world, let alone Facebook. I believe many people in the younger generations will never know what it was like to live without technology or learn without technology. I do not believe our society today allows for narratives like the spirit bear.

Heather said...

I do not believe that we have narratives like that of the spirit bear. Instead our society has become so obsessed with technology and what we can do with it. Looking back at how our parents, grandparents, and even their parents lived, one can see that it is a startling change from how our generation lives. They were concerned with the well-being of their family, while most people in this time and place are worried about whether or not they have the latest cell phones or computers. Older generations would believe in something without needing to have cold hard facts, while many people nowadays want to have scientific proof for everything. Life would be so much simpler as well as more enjoyable if people could just believe in something like the narrative of the spirit bears, which has been passed down for thousands of years. Looking back at how people lived years ago one can see just how detached we have become from our natural surroundings. People used to thrive in the wilderness and this is where they lived all the time, and now the only time that people may be surrounded by nature is if they go on a camping trip or nature walk. Eventually at the rate at which technology is improving and with the growing population there may not be a place for us to go camping or take a nature walk. At some point we are going to have to resort back to the original way of living to some extent in order to preserve what little we have.

Brittanie Moore said...

The attachments of western developed societies to the natural world have been corroded over many centuries by a myriad of advancements and cultural changes. But I contend that the loss of a spiritual emphasis on the wild and natural world stems equally, if not more so, from the drastic reduction of our susceptibility to the natural world. The powers present in the natural world such as weather, environment and animals had much more influence on all humans in the time that the narrative of the spirit bear originated than they do now. Technological advancement has served to cushion us from the extremes of weather and has by and large pushed the threat of other more physically powerful animals to a narrow and remote margin. The forces that influence our lives are no longer natural, and so spiritual difference is no longer given to naturalistic forces. Cosmic power has instead gone through anthropomorphism. Humanistic deities are a hallmark of every current global religion, because as a cultural group no one accepts the possibility that a humanistic force is not, in fact, behind it all; and the past and future of Earth and our existence on it depend on the whims of the wilderness. It is almost a necessity of the current human condition to believe that true power rest in the hands of humans and human technological innovation.

Jonathan Ingram said...

After reading this blog and watching the video I began to feel that we dont really have narratives like this one in our society and it made me wonder why. With all the technological advances more and more resources are becoming depleted and used. Also like stated in the video logging is ruining habittats so much that it takes away the resources needed to house these wonders such as the spirit bear. With that said I dont personally believe that if todays society continues as it is a spirit bear couldnt exist except in the hyperreal and with industriliztion increasing day by day the chances of the bears survival will continue to go down and down Many people in our country know nothing about the spirti bear and with their lack of knowledge and care it will be too late to even save them and by the time people know what is actually going on they will simply be a memory rather than a reality.

Ashley McDonald said...

I believe we have these narratives today but that most people don't think about them. Because of how advanced we are in this century we don't really remember about nature and things or animals that were here before us. People don't realize how important things like the spirit bear might be to the environment and what they help to sustain because were to wrapped up in ourselves and the next technological thing and how we can continue to live like we do and what other advances we can make at any cost. We don't stop to realize that were destroying habitats, a way of life for some animals, and a special species. Native Americans lived off the land, treated it with respect and treated animals as another creature deserving of the same treatment we treat other humans with. We have come a long way since then and we have lost those same thoughts and way of life and now we don't care if we are killing off an already small population because people are hunting them either legally, illegally, for food or for sport. The lumberyards are cutting down their habitats and that which sustains the Great Bear Rain Forest and that has an effect on the environment. Many people don't see the Spirit Bear as specially as the First Nation does and I'm sure there are many other narratives that are out there that many other people don't bother to consider because they believe it doesn't effect them or that they have no control or say in the matter.

Gwynhwyfyr said...

A long time ago there was a flood that covered the whole world. Only a few animals survived and nature had to start all over again. At least, that's the narrative that exists in several monotheistic religions worldwide, and that narrative is connected to the world. There are studies that suggest there was a flood in the Fertile Crescent that greatly depleted the biotas in that area of the world. Scientific narratives are just a frame of reference, they are not necessarily any better than the preceding narratives; they are just a method of understanding given the new information we have gained. Every method of knowing is just a way to understand the world. Not all technology is going to have positive effects, and then the course of action to follow is to acknowledge that it doesn’t create enough benefit for the cost and move on. The world didn’t become less magical or mystical because of science and technology, people just kind of got lazy and decided they could just stop right there, they stopped asking why things ended up the way they are, or why they were created the way they are. That is what created the real disconnect from the environment. There are plenty of scientists who are immersed in the hyperreal who still get a thrill from looking at genetic code and understanding that these few base pairs are what make us different from The Spirit Bear. Every generation has to struggle with what is important, this is the struggle that we're facing now. Instead of having to worry about how to keep our infants alive during the winter though, we now have to worry about how to connect back to nature.

William Swanek said...

Today's society does not have narratives to call its own like the societies of old. However we do have access to numerous surviving narratives, so in a sense we have narratives still. For some this is enough. They are glad to be separate from the natural world that once spawned narratives such as the one of the Spirit bear. Others wish to have closer ties with nature and find our current obsession with technology to be a cheaper way of living. It is not just our separation from nature that has lead to a decline in such narratives, but also our scientific advancements. As out knowledge of the world around us expands we find that we have less of a need for stories to explain the world around us. Sure, saying that these bears are white because of recessive genes passed down from the parents may not be as romanticized as saying that they are white because the raven created them to remind us that the land was once white from snow and ice, but it is grounded in reality. Like it or not these stories are likely never going to be created again in our current society due to our expanding understanding of the world around us.

Cooper Hatch said...

When people think of society today, the technology-driven industrialism, most people don’t really think about narratives like the one about the spirit bear. Do narratives like this still exist in our society? I believe they do. Just because we live in an area like this, it doesn’t mean that we are detached from the environment. I mean we may not be surrounded by giant rainforests or animals like the spirit bear, but we can still watch the sunset just the same and we can still see the treetops go on for at least 5 miles if you’re up in the stacks at the library. Small things like that, even if they aren’t as powerful as the spirit bear, make me think about the environment we live in and how it needs our help to save it.

Carly Earp said...

The video about the spirit bear shows once again how the environment is changing due to human existence. When humans hunt black bears that carry the “white” bear gene the chances of the birth of spirit bears are less likely. The narrative of the spirit bear has been around for about 10,000 years. If the spiritual effect of the spirit bears no longer exist because of industrialization (hunting, deforestation, pollution), what is in the future for the rest of the animals or environment or even spiritual narratives?

Kiatra Frink said...

Unfortunately, our society has become so industrialzed that I do not believe the spirit bear can exist in the hyperreal. Due to technological advancements and other "cool" inventions, less people are concerned about the environment and what is happening outside of their daily routine lives that has no direct effect on them. It is hard to believe that this story has been passed on for 10,000 years, and I had never heard of it, or even considered such a spiritually enduced story until now. I do not necessarily agree with the symbolism, such as the raven creating the spirit bear as a symbol of how the land was once white and frozen. I think that as in any culture, stories get changed over time and symbols get twisted into different meanings. Take today's society for instance. I'm sure that we have millions of christians, but yet they all have different interpretations of the Bible. Me and mom go to the same church, and read the same Bible, and we both have different interpretations of symbolism in the Bible.