Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Humility, Hubris, and Dorsal Fins

Humility and hubris are two different, and quite incommensurable, qualities.  The recent media (feeding) frenzy, if you will, with regard to shark attacks has me reflecting on how we respond to the environment we live in and are a part of.  My home state of origin, North Carolina, has experienced a lot of attention this summer for its shark activity.  And, most recently, there was the shark attack at Jeffrey's Bay where world champion surfer Mick Fanning experienced an intense close encounter of the great white kind.  Fanning's remarks and reflections were quite humble, however there has been some more insanely hubris-laden commentary shared in media.  Folks have actually called for shark decimation or hunting in an effort to rid the seas of sharks.

Fear and hubris aside, it often seems we've lost our ability and inclination to situate ourselves in relation to the natural world.  We've lost our humility.  We've lost our way to make sense of ourselves, life, and the earth by simply being humble.  I've written before about the detriment of ego.  Hubris and ego ride tandem just about always.  Realistically, what do these shark attacks tell us about what's going on in our oceans?  Importantly, what can these awe-inspiring animals tell us about our own mortality, and its spectrum of emotions...from utter fear to supreme joy and exhilaration?  But, to get to this awareness we have to be willing to be humble and honest with ourselves.

As I close this post out, I have to share one other piece that underscores our ability to watch and learn/listen to what our non-human others have to say to us.  Many weather models are pointing to a strong El Nino this year, as well as what that may mean for oceans, rain, temperature, etc.  I ran across this piece in Surfer that reminds us of how animals can tell us what going to shake down weather-wise (and otherwise) more definitely than computer models, hubris, or ego.  We just need to be able to humbly pay attention.

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