Everything that we’re doing to try to improve the world was a success in the short run — made amazing initial improvements. But in the long run, we seem to be destroying the planet, by our very efforts to control and improve it.
And it strikes me that that is because we are really too simple minded to understand what we’re doing when we interfere with the natural world strongly and on a massive scale. We don’t really interfere with it, because that would suggest that we are something different from it, something outside, but I think what we’re doing is we are understanding it in terms of languages, numbers, in terms of a logic which is too simple for the job, too crude for the job.
To begin with, we understand everything in terms of words or numbers and they’re stretched out in lines, and our eyes have to scan those lines in order to understand them. But when I scan this view, I don’t do it line by line by line, I see the whole thing at once, I take it in as if it were a wide-angle lens. But when I try to understand the world through literature and mathematics, I have to scan the lines.
You know, that is why it takes us so long to get educated in school: I have to scan and organize miles and miles of print. And that takes us twenty years or more, to get through it. But life happens, changes go on too rapidly for that. Because, you see, in the world, everything is happening everywhere all together at once.
And meanwhile, we with our myopic little minds are working it out step by step.By Alan Watts.