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Mountains and the canvasses of insignificance…

Great Himalayan National Park, Himachal Pradesh, India

The rote on our cosmic insignificance is a couple of millennia old… religious discourses use it as a tool to ensure social order, for the philosopher ‘tis the bedrock of existential thought… the myriad lord almighty are an attempt to ascribe a finiteness to this infinite… it is a thought that is more overwhelming than comforting most of the time, this insignificance, and hence is deliberately suppressed within the rodomontade of evolutionary dominance and socio-economic development…

Feeling of insignificance in a winter landscape, Garhwal Himalaya, India

One can reclaim a sense of this insignificance, and the insecurity it brings, in the wilderness, more specifically where most vegetation respectfully retreats and leaves one rather face-to-face with the elements… the oceans and deserts are bare-bone yet powerful, ruthless symphonies, constantly shifting landscapes that seem to transcend directly from the individual to the infinity… their immensity is characterized by a shapelessness, one guided by the chaotic order of fractals if one takes a bird’s eye view…

Feeling of insignificance in the mountains of Ladakh, India

From this perspective, mountains take a kinder approach towards instilling insignificance… sojourns to their apex are as daunting as other landscapes, but there a degree of finiteness that they offer… the valley, the ridge, the summit are all approachable, achievable targets… if one is willing to negotiate the troughs, the crests are on offer as the rewards, and even vice-versa… there is gratification tucked in between the undulations that can be dug out through humility…

Insgnificance of existence... the ice fields near Kalihani Pass, Himachal Pradesh, India

It is this very insignificance, realized through isolation, that ironically brings one closer to their own brethren… the sense of awe and grandeur inspired by the mountains evokes empathy and realigns the moral compass… watching a human disposition slowly disappear into the mountains makes one feel a part of the natural fabric, an emotion increasingly lost in the throes of modern civilizations where it has become more about observation rather than assimilation… once past the pain of effort, this insignificance offers reconciliation, answers to the riddles lost in the melee of subsistence… the value of existence goes beyond perpetuity, maybe, and with that comfort one saunters carefree across the fields…

Saketi meadows, Great Himalayan National Park, Himachal Pradesh, India

Musings on the feeling on insignificance in the mountains…

Author: Parth Joshi

Allured by the outdoors, the author is made up in parts of that quintessential lost soul wreathing under the pangs of biophilia in a desk job, a wannabe elegist mostly ending up in dungeons of poetasters and an optimist waiting for the senility of the modern world to fade away while sampling shoots and leaves. In saner times, he has a keen interest in areas pertaining to tourism, history, agriculture and climate change, especially with respect to historical interpretations, emerging technologies and future livelihoods. An avid trekker, runner, cyclist, birder and photographer, he is more often than not found gloating over anything hinterland, on foot or over computer monitors, and fantasizing solutions that can foster inclusive growth and sustainable livelihoods for communities at the grassroots.

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