One of my concerns as a parent and observer in the early 21st century is the anti-human climate we’re creating for ourselves and our posterity. It’s also a theme that drives much of my fiction. A recent article in the Independent Online reveals this is a concern to many others as well. As the article noted: “The modern world is radically at odds with the way human senses have evolved, helping to make us short-sighted, obese and depressed, scientists have warned.”
We live and work in artificial light, cut off from fresh air and a dynamic natural environment. We stuff ourselves with industrial food, then, instead of communing with friends and family, we slump in front of the television for hours of mindless distraction.No wonder we’re sick, physically and spiritually. Charlene Spretnak, a prolific and insightful writer on ecology, while attending a lecture on animals caged in zoos, heard one speaker conclude that a bear that’s not in the wild may still be a form of mammalian life, but isn’t really a bear. This evoked a painful but enlightening realization:
It’s not a bear.
It’s not a human if its felt connections with the unfolding story of the bioregion, the Earth community, and the cosmos are atrophied, denied, and replaced. It’s not a human if it can no longer experience awe and wonder at the beauty and mystery of life, seeing nothing but resources and restraints. It’s not a human if it is socialized to be oblivious to the unity of life, so lonely that it is vulnerable to all compensatory snares. Resurgence of the Real, p. 129
We’re living in a world that’s been reconstructed to cater to endless consumption and personal gratification. Little wonder we’ve turned into selfish, isolated consumers rather than engaged and informed citizens.
The good news is that the artificial constraints that hold and misshape us are self-made cages we can break out of anytime we choose. Nature’s power and beauty cannot be taken from us; we have only blinded ourselves to them. The healing comforts of regenerative nature are never out of reach. As John O’Donohue has observed, “The dawn goes up and the twilight comes even in the roughest inner-city place. And I think that connecting to the elemental can be a way of coming into rhythm with the universe that’s there.”
Literature can serve as a bridge to that realization. Not only does it teach us to empathize with the emotions and pain of others, it can remind us of enduring but forgotten truths. In my latest novella, The Genie Hunt, attorney Buddy Vuncannon must defend his friend Coot Pickard when eyewitnesses claim Coot is behind a series of robberies. The Genie Hunt blends in action, twists, and comic adventure as Buddy and Coot endure mutual distrust, self-doubt, and real danger. But old loyalties in a small town run deep, inspiring strength and mutual respect.
In the present-day toxic political and social environment we’re in, it’s good to know we can still summon up those qualities that make us human.
Find and follow Mike
About the author
M.C. Tuggle is a native North Carolinian whose ancestors arrived in the South in 1647. He majored in history and English, and completed his M.A. in English at Wake Forest University on a Wake Forest fellowship.
M.C. Tuggle’s fantasy, science fiction, and literary stories have been featured in Kzine, Bewildering Stories, Mystic Signals, Fabula Argentea, and Fiction 365. Novel Fox published his novella Aztec Midnight in December, 2014.
Books by M. C. Tuggle Available via Amazon.
Buddy Vuncannon, an attorney in High Point, North Carolina, and his friend Coot Pickard are heading out of town for a fishing weekend when they’re surrounded by a SWAT team. Three eyewitnesses have identified Coot as the gun man in the latest of a string of robberies. To defend Coot, Buddy must stand up to a bullying district attorney, uncover the identity of the real robbers, and battle a powerful genie who serves the robbers. Buddy’s investigation implicates an old friend, reigniting long-forgotten friction between Buddy and Coot. Old and new loyalties clash, leading Buddy and Coot to a desperate chase that forces them to seek the help of a madman they both fear.
When drug cartels begin vandalizing ancient Aztec sites throughout Mexico in search of the sacred obsidian knife of Aztec emperor Ahuitzotl, the Mexican government reaches out to the U.S. State Department for assistance. Dr. Jon Barrett, an archaeologist and pre-Columbian weapons expert, then journeys to Cuernavaca with his wife Susanna at the request of Eric Winwood, a high-ranking State Department official, to find and rescue the knife before the cartels can claim it. Locating the knife proves more challenging and dangerous than Dr. Barrett anticipated, and he and Susanna soon find themselves at the center of the cartels’ search. For Dr. Barrett and his wife to survive, he will be forced to apply his knowledge of ancient weapons in the face of an ancient power he never imagined.
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