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Yatin Kaushal

Deepening Essay First Draft


The sun sets behind the massive Mandhir, casting an enormous shadow onto
the people surrounding me, who may or may not have had the same reasons I did
for going to the temple. I found it difficult to leave a place that I had invested a part
of myself in. Its funny to think that I wouldve glanced over the idea of going to a
temple for a vacation in India. There are so many temples there, what makes this
one so special? However, I found myself happy with what the temple provided me.
Interestingly enough, the temple gave me nothing materialistically, instead when I
left, my mindset was changed and left feeling cleared, almost as if it were reset. To
think that the day before I couldnt get off of my phone/iPad because I simply had to
check up on how my friends were doing back in the states. Then there I am,
standing in front of this massive Mandhir stripped of any thought of technology and
focused on my life and what it means to be Yatin Kaushal. Ive decided to contribute
the effect the temple had on me to the sense of nature in one of the busiest capital
cities in the world. The sharp contrast in the two environment left my mind in
habitual shock.
I had all my gadgets with me, ready to take tons of pictures as any tourist
would. However, the guards at the entrance set up a system that took everyones
devices and placed them in lockers for us to come back later to get. Immediately
the temple had taken away the very thing that prevented me from noticing its
beauty from the start. Being stripped from technology, I was standing barefoot on
hard stone walking towards a massive temple surrounded by crowds of people with
their families. The temples natural beauty had a profound effect on me that I cant
seem to replicate being back here in the United States. It makes me sad to think
that the only time I felt at peace and clear-minded was when I was in an entirely
other country that some may argue is years behind in technological advancement.
The temple had subtle uses of technology, such as the light bulb that lit up as day
turned to night and the musical fountain show. This may be the very reason why it
was easy to place myself in a circumstance that allowed for a profound thought
process and a closer alliance with the force of nature. I suddenly began to think why
so many people close to me in the United States felt tired all the time whereas for

the first time I felt livelier than ever before. Could it be that as creatures of nature
we need to stay in close contact with nature and clear our minds more often as
opposed to contributing to its deterioration by solely focusing on Facebook statuses
and new iPhones.
I can feel my attention span begin to shorten and my energy be drained as I
charge the device that I spend time on day in and day out. However, I feel that
technology does not have to limited to devices that rely on batteries and internet
connections to function, but even the technology that amazed mankind hundreds of
years ago.
Technology used to serve a much more fundamental purpose around the time
it first began being implemented. Mankind used to consist of cavemen that would
have to figure out a way to survive in small groups of people on a daily basis.
However, these groups would get much larger, therefore, more sustenance was
needed. In Ann Zwingers A Desert World, she states how the boost in population
and constant amount of resources cause the archaic people (415) to launch a
period of innovation, invention, and change (415). So evidently the origin of
technology was based on survival. Being so fundamental, its strange to find how
technology has become the source of deliberate time wasting and energy
consumption in both senses. Zwinger uses the analogy of the Great Basin Desert,
which was once the Great Salt Lakes, to describe how the advancement of
technology has affected the relationship between man and nature.
When archaic people ruled the world, the desert was the Great Salt Lakes, but
now its a Great Basin Desert. Despite any scientific reasoning behind why this could
have happened, in the context of Zwingers essay we can place the emphasis on
the people. When technology was at its lowest point of impact, the desert was most
likely the lively and sustaining Great Salt Lakes we know of. However, I believe that
the declination of water, which is symbolic for so many things including life and
purity, may have correlated with the advancement of technology. Therefore, in a
sense technology has an extremely negative impact on nature and its relationship
with mankind.
This beautifully attuned world to which [mankind is] not adapted makes the
small creatures an object of respect (415). Zwinger was trying to describe how

animals that do not depend on technology have come to adapt to some of the
worlds harshest environments, which is a clear example of a close relationship with
nature. Although I am not trying to advocate that we attempt to implement the
concept of survival of the fittest, we should try to acknowledge that technology has
limited our relationship with nature. Weve come to fear nature and have inhibited
the adaptive abilities that all other species have come to acquire.
Our current technology has allowed us to become lazy and complacent with
how everything is. We are not driven to expand beyond what technology offers, and
this seems strange coming from a Computer Science major as myself. However,
Zwingers points make sense to me. We no longer feel as connected to nature as
mankind once did. I understand how technology has almost entirely limited our
relationship with nature; however, I know that the worst thing to do would be to
keep a narrow mindset. There are in fact many ways many people feel connected to
nature more so than others. Through outlets such as music and paintings, the
audience can experience a similar kind of revelation of peace from the hectic world
we live in. A valid argument can be made that technology in some ways can help
build a relationship with nature and contribute to clearing the mind.
My visit to the temple in New Delhi gave me a strong feeling of peace and
satisfaction that I could not contribute to any other medium. However, I have found
peace in classical music. As a result, I have found a temporary method of finding
peace. Listening to classical music has helped me to somehow replicate the feeling I
received while visiting the temple. However, I feel that in order to use technology to
feel close to nature, one has to have experienced nature without technology. In
order to feel a relationship with nature, people would have to have an idea of what
nature is for them individually.
Nature can be represented through technology through its careful use. Nature
may not be expressed properly in a new videogame or gadget, but rather an object
that has a clear significant representation of nature. Perhaps a material object can
help develop a relationship with nature if it is relevant enough to the viewer. John
Berger, in his essay The White Bird, discusses how our lives are basically centered
on the concepts of hope and evil. He states that we have to confront the evil (8) in
this world of suffering (8). In this sense, we all need to find a way to relate to the

power of nature. Natures power is vast, ranging from its ability to make someone
feel on top of the world to being homeless and completely destroyed. The evil
that Berger refers to may be the obstacle between nature and mankind.
The fatigue we feel on a day to day basis that we often complain about may
have to do with how technology has taken over our lives. However, Berger
emphasizes that this very technology may be the solution to the problem. Although
Berger does not mention technology specifically, he focuses on aesthetic objects
and how they are always man made. These aesthetic objects are able to create the
strong feeling that I felt when at the temple. He explains how these objects can
provoke an aesthetic emotion (6). The fact that an aesthetic object, such as a
wooden white bird, seems realistic enough to make someone feel closer to nature
and the creatures that inhabit it. People often pass by nature daily in favor of their
smartphones; however, these aesthetic objects can as very well be the solution to
the problem of ignoring nature.
The aesthetic feeling that Berger mentions may as well be a form of what I
felt at the temple. Although it seems to me that the feeling I had cannot be
replicated, there are many different types of people with different types of
mindsets. Therefore, my revelation can be experienced by someone else through
whatever medium seems to work for them. It seemed as though technology was the
very obstacle in achieving union with nature. However, there are several ways of
interpreting what nature is to someone.
The nature I experienced was one where there is no technology for my mind
to get latched on to and preoccupied with while being physically outside in the
environment. Such a feeling is hard to replicate in a busy city environment;
however, its not impossible as shown by the location of the temple within the busy
capital city of New Delhi. The concept of nature is different for everyone; therefore,
how can there be one way of feeling close to the world around us by using the very
objects that distract us? This partly has to do with how one interprets technology. I
feel as if technology is anything man-made and that has been created for the sake
of convenience on the users part.
Zwingers approach to how animals other than ourselves are physiologically
more adapted to the world than we are helps give an understanding as to how

mankind has digressed in terms of evolutionary adaptations. This in part has to do


with how far mankind has advanced in terms of technology and understanding. As a
result, we humans are far less connected to the world than any other being on the
world, or are we? If abiding by Bergers train of thought, it is this very technology
that is being questioned that can and does bring us even closer to nature than
another creature. As humans we are faced with the concept of evil (Berger 8) on a
daily basis; therefore, we need this man-made technology to fend off against this
evil which seems to be only applicable to humans themselves.
After having made my trip to India and visiting the temple, I was left with an
imprint that I could not shake. The world has so much more to offer and I feel our
technology is blinding our ability to see that. However, in order to be reminded of
this very beauty, I use my laptop and phone to listen to the music that keep me in a
calm and collected state, similar to how I felt after leaving the temple. However, the
concepts of nature and technology are completely different for everyone, therefore,
theres no way to say that this is how it is for all of mankind. So how do we come
close to achieving union with nature? We have to begin by seeking it.

Works Cited
Berger, John. "The White Bird." The White Bird: Writings. London: Chatto & Windus, 1985. 5-9. Print.
Zwinger, Ann. "A Desert World." Occasions for Writing: Evidence, Idea, Essay. By Robert DiYanni and Pat C.
Hoy. Boston, MA: Thomson Heinle, 2008. 415-16. Print.