I know this week we’ve been mostly talking about hybrids and what the ideal characteristic would be… but I was browsing Outside Magazine online, when I found an interesting question. “What is the number one skill people should learn in case they get lost in the backcountry?” was the question asked. The answer, was put in two parts. On a physical level, they said fire. On a mental level they said mindfulness or situational awareness. Today in class, we talked about the ideal characteristic for any animal, and we defined things like knowledge, security, freedom, or power. Interestingly, Outside Magazine seems to think that the ideal characteristic for survival is mindfulness, something that did not even come up in our discussion. At first, I decided this was because Outside Magazine is looking to a very specific case–getting lost and figuring out how to survive with the tools we already have, not the tools we wish we could have. But then I was thinking about it, and I realized that maybe we can’t even begin to strive for anything else without situational awareness or mindfulness. I decided that situational awareness or mindfulness is the most basic skill we have to have before we can achieve things like power, knowledge, or security. When we talk about striving for knowledge, striving for power, do we assume that we already have mindfulness? Do other animals have it as well? I don’t think it’s something we should take for granted, but is it instinctual for everyone? Clearly Outside Magazine seems to think not, since they think that most people are constantly looking in front of them, but around them at the natural world. I think all animals have it instinctively, but that doesn’t mean that we’re not striving to use it all the time.
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