James MacKinnon Reads “False Idyll”

Author James MacKinnon reads aloud from his latest essay for Orion — “False Idyll” — about the need to view nature for what it is versus through rose-colored glasses.


  1. Many thanks to James for sharing a disjoint for which I’d not pinned down words. I believe the essence of relationship James points to is where the line is drawn between those who are choosing to touch soil, plant seed, and hunt full-time, and those who work to protect “nature” for beauty and escape from the harshness of “civilized” life that invites us to live as many boring and comfortable days as possible until all drugs and technologies finally fail us. Ironic it is that a desire to escape discomfort and death has led us here to this haunted land where death and struggle overwhelmingly exceed birth and enjoyment, a time when some like me speak with a touch of romantic appreciation for belonging and others are bold and courageous enough to belong. Had we been meditators all the while, though, we would not have sought escape from death and struggle in the first place. As long as the fires of industry burn, there will be need for the writer who reminds us to return home not to a land void of pain, but an honest land whole with the raw nature of birth and death in balance, a balance that we are ignorant to judge. We are called to return home not as a visitor but as a community member. Only here will we appreciate birth and death with equal and full understanding as if they are one. Still, we should be cautioned against falling again into the trap of good and bad, better and worse. Yes, what we experience now is a rather quiet, tamed world subsequently less brilliant on our senses. Recognizing the absence of an experience is a profound way to learn the fullness of that experience. We would not know the consequences of trying to escape discomfort and death had we not come to this point by way of attempt at escape. The big lesson is learned.

  2. Je pense que tout a été décrite dans le système, afin que les lecteurs peuvent obtenir un maximum d’informations et d’apprendre beaucoup de choses. Merci

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