The name of this blog, Rainbow Juice, is intentional.
The rainbow signifies unity from diversity. It is holistic. The arch suggests the idea of looking at the over-arching concepts: the big picture. To create a rainbow requires air, fire (the sun) and water (raindrops) and us to see it from the earth.
Juice suggests an extract; hence rainbow juice is extracting the elements from the rainbow, translating them and making them accessible to us. Juice also refreshes us and here it symbolises our nutritional quest for understanding, compassion and enlightenment.

Tuesday 30 January 2024

Nature Disconnect – 4 “Simple” Lessons From Hindsight

The last three blogs have considered Nature Disconnect in 7 “Easy” Steps. This blog asks: If we know what the steps have been, then are there any lessons to be learnt from hindsight?

Oscar Wilde once aid, in his typically acerbic manner, ‘Experience is the hardest kind of teacher. It gives you the test first and the lesson afterwards.’ The same could be said of hindsight. In this case, are there lessons to be learnt?

Yes, there are.

1.     We mess with nature at our peril.

The Agricultural Revolution, the Scientific Revolution, and the Industrial Revolution were all supposed to “improve” the world towards human benefit. Most of these “improvements” involved disrupting, tinkering with, or obliterating nature.

Yet, this desire to “improve” things has often led to damage to our own health and the health of the planet. The Covid virus is a good example of this, as had been the many plagues and viruses over previous centuries.

The Industrial Revolution initiated our love affair with energy available from fossil fuels. Nowadays we are witnessing increasing global temperatures, more severe heatwaves, flooding, and hurricane devastation. These have resulted in crop failures, massive infrastructure damage, and loss of life, both human and non-human.1

2.     Learning to Apply Foresight.

Hindsight, if considered conscientiously and consciously, can provide insight. And insight, in turn, can lead us towards foresight. We cannot just assume that hindsight will automatically imbue us with insight We have to work at it. Hindsight is much like the learning available in experience.

The prominent community educator, Myles Horton, had this to say about experience:

“You know, people say that we learn from our experiences.  I say that we don’t.  We only learn from the experiences we learn from.”

The learning must be consciously taken in and applied. It is the same with hindsight. Once that lesson is learnt, then insight and then foresight can be obtained.

3.     We Are Not Exceptional.

One of the myths that we have taken onboard is the myth of human exceptionalism. Whether this came from religious notions of dominion over the animals, or from early ideas of evolution as humankind being at the apex of the tree of life, human exceptionalism is a dangerous belief.

Setting aside our notions of superiority and exceptionalism would be a powerful lesson to learn from hindsight.

4.     Sapient Teachings

As noted in the series Nature Disconnect in 7 “Easy” Steps many of the steps along the way were taken because they seemed like a good idea at the time.

We innovate and invent with little regard for the future consequences. An oft-quoted saying is, ‘He or she who says it cannot be done should get out of the way of the person who is doing it.’2 It is a quote that bears interrogation.

That something can be done is no justification for doing it. Wisdom comes in deciding not to proceed with something, because the (often unintended) consequences can be harmful. In scientific circles this is known as the Precautionary Principle.

Hindsight could provide us Homo sapiens with some sapience. Such sapience (wisdom) implies that we ask not; can we? or how do we? but, rather, should we?

In each of the steps along the path of Nature Disconnect there were those asking; Should we do this? Even during the early years of the Agricultural Revolution the question seems to have been asked.3 However, eventually, those taking a precautionary approach were drowned out by the voices of opportunity, ignored, and then ceased to ask the questions.

Today too, there are those asking; Should we do this? And, just as in previous centuries and millennia, the voices of progress at all costs drown them out. Now, as then, these questioners are being ignored.

Yet, if we are to learn one of the lessons from hindsight, it would be that those questioning the opportunism of innovators and inventors just may have some very pertinent questions to ask.

Undoubtedly there are other lessons that could be drawn from the hindsight available to us when we map out the steps of our journey of disconnection from nature.


1. In late 2019 and early 2020 massive, and extensive bushfires raged through many parts of Australia causing millions of dollars worth of damage with 33 people dying. The loss of life for non-humans was almost unbelievable, with an estimated 2 billion (yes, billion, not million) animals being killed in those fires.

2. This quote is often attributed to Confucius, yet there is no evidence that he ever made such a statement. Indeed, it is a statement that Confucius, in his wisdom, is likely to have disputed.

3. One example of this occurring is that of the builders of Stonehenge. Having initially taken up the farming practices of continental Europe, it seems that from around 3,300 BCE, they gave up the cultivation of cereals and returned to hazelnut gathering as a staple food source. See: Graeber & Wengrow, The Dawn of Everything, Penguin Books, UK, 2021, pp 105-106. 

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