Welcome to September 2022 edition of the Xth volume of Carnival of Quality Management Articles and Blogs.
The theme for the Xth volume of our Carnival of Quality Management Articles and Blogs is inspired from the editorial of the January 2022 special Issue of Prabuddha Bharata (The Awakened India) – Living a Meaningful Life in a Digital World.
For our present episode, we take up the article, Nature Connectedness: An Avenue to a Meaningful Life in the Digital Age by Sravanti Thutupalli.
Here is an excerpt from the article:
Cleave not the sky. Injure not the mid-space. Be in the harmony with earth.
This sharpened axe has led you to the great good fortune.
Therefore, O you divine Lord of forests, grow with your hundreds of branches.
May we also grow with thousands of branches.
Beneath the forest floor, lies a network that connects – often called as Wood Wide Web – that connects nearly all the plants on the earth. This network, made of mycorrhizal fungi, shares resources preventing neighbouring plants from dying and other parasite resources.
This example that reminds us of inextricable links between all of life, is strongly similar to the internet of the present digital world. This natural network is repository of huge amount of data that emanates from, and controls, the exact cyclical happenings in the nature. So is our generic makeup in the form of DNA. As far as we know, DNA is the source code for all life. Like binary coding in the digital technology, DNA has four constituent digits – A, T, G and C. This digital nature of DNA code enables us to take genes from one and transfer it to another organism. This unifying language of DNA is translated into the wondrous diversity of life on earth.
However, there is an inherent interplay between the underlying digital character of nature and our experiences with its many analogue forms. Although our experiences with the innumerable analogue manifestations of natural phenomena are being recorded as information stored and transmitted in the digital form, these cannot be always broken down into the simplifying codes.
The Panchakoshas elucidiated in the Taittriya Upanishad mediate our experiences –
- Annamaya Kosha – expreinces of our gross body
- Pranayama Kosha – our life energy
- Manomaya Kosha – our mind
- Vijnanamaya Kosha – the intellect, and
- Anandmaya Kosha – the state of eternal bliss
Nurturing and transcending the Kosha from the grosses (Annamaya) to the subtlest (Anandmaya) provides the path towards meaningful experiences into a subtler and more pervasive substratum until all are resolved into the pure awareness.
Thus, our body and its senses, are valuable sources of knowledge of the material world and as the vehicles for action that provides the means to travel inwards more meaningful experience.
The sustained engagement with nature (gardening, family-get-togethers etc.) and digital technology (long hours of work on digital devices) require our total attention and hence lead to some degree of temporal dissonance causing us the lose the track of time.
However, there are important cognitive and neurocognitive differences between the two experiences. There are some activities during which happen with ‘smooth and accurate performance with an acute absorption in the task’ to the point of time dissociations and dissociative tendencies. Such a state is also called the ‘flow state’ and is achieved during self-fulfilling activities.
Flow experiences strongly diminish identification of Self with the body and thereby provide the means to transcend the Aannamaya Kosha.
The challenge of our present lifestyles lies in getting rid of the constant distractions (social media notifications) that require low levels of skills and challenges.
Truly identifying the unity of nature’s mycorrhizal fungal network and the digital internet can provide the route to transcending the material and physical world and nurture the pranamaya kosha.
It is this loss of nature connectedness – identification with nature – that is said to have led to the disconnect with the purpose of our life. Ecological self-theory proposed that nature connectedness and spirituality are strongly linked. This positive link is what leads us to attain optimal psychological functioning and our true potential. The nature connectedness helps in removing our false notion of dualism – looking upon God and the world as two distinct or different things – to realise our true nature, to realize that basis of human existence is not set apart from the nature.
When the digital technology seems to intrude into every nook and corner of our lives. It becomes imperative that we do limit ‘digitisation’ of our many experiences simply for the sake of either ease of doing something otherwise felt difficult or for the sake of storage of information.
Such a perspective lends itself to cooperation and harmony – both found in abundance in nature – with the nature. The conflicts of interests also do exist in the nature, but nature operates by ‘a set of rules for negotiating conflicts in a way that resolve them’. Unfortunately, as the mankind has made more scientific progress(?!), it has led to conditioning of its Vijnanamaya kosha that demonstrates in our investment in our bodies and lower mental functions, further manifested in the self-perception that nature is for the us to exploit. It has been growing so unchecked that we have brought the nature to the point of extinction. The inventions and innovations that solve today’s problems create more complicated problems of tomorrow. If one needs any corroboration, just look the way digital technology uses rare metals and, in the end, creates mountains of most hazardous wastes.
The way human creativity is cultivated, the self is positioned in the heart of the object (the entire external reality), and yet stands outside it. However, the fact is that creativity is a thread in the very fabric of what it means to be human and a path to the subtlest of the koshas – the Anandmaya kosha. While making any new developments, we need to ask ourselves a simple question – whether we are bringing ourselves to the nature. If we put it spiritually, the question should be – our nurturing our creativity to further nurture the sheaths of Panchakoshas to ensure our progress from gross to the subtle.
The nature’s nature has so incredible, awe-inspiring experiences to offer, that we ‘stand on the shoulder of the giants.’ It is for us to find the meaning of our lives that support the giants of tomorrow on our shoulders.
- Can we really feel the benefits of nature through a screen? – Rebecca Jones
- The relationship between nature connectedness and happiness: a meta-analysis – Colin A. Capaldi, Raelyne L. Dopko, and John M. Zelenski*
- Birds Do It. Bats Do It. – JEREMY ADAM SMITH, ALEX DIXON
We will now turn to our regular section -.
We now watch ASQ TV episode on –
- Cloud Advantages And Aligning To Business Objectives – Alka Jarvis, the co-author of Successful Management of Cloud Computing and DevOps (ASQ Quality Press), sat down with ASQTV to discuss the benefits of cloud storage and how to align your cloud computing strategies with the business objectives.
We have taken up one article from Jim L. Smith’s Jim’s Gems:
- Elusive Quality: Quality Doesn’t Just Happen – it’s time we got back to basic quality principles. We talk about getting to the root cause of problems. Well, we need to get to the root results of our actions by ensuring all projects include measurements to ensure quality. It’s critical to measure the level of customer satisfaction, improvement in mean time to failure (MTTF), reducing percent defective, preventing product recalls, and lowering return rates – not just focus on dollars saved, inventory turns, or process performance.
Quality just doesn’t happen; it must be nurtured every day with every action and project. The real quality objective is to achieve increasingly better products and services. As many organizations have discovered, without focusing on quality, the wrong measures can lead to negative results!
I look forward to your views / comments / inputs to further enrich the theme of Living a Meaningful Life in a Digital World.
Note: The images or video clips depicted here above are through courtesy of respective websites who have the copyrights for the respective images /videos.