Putting the nature back in naturism.
Is that a novel idea? Is that a possibility? Is that an option? More and more people are attaching the word naturist to their photos on social media. Hashtags like #getyourassinnature #nakedinnature #sunsoutbunsout are all over social media.
A key element in the definition of naturism as defined by naturists not a dictionary is this
a way of life in harmony with nature … encouraging self-respect, respect for others and for the environment
I often see so called naturist sites, blogs and social media accounts with the label naturist naturism or nature posting pictures and subjects that don’t seem in harmony with nature at all. They are usually women posed in positions that sexualized the naked body interacting with a camera not nature. Observe the examples below. They subjects are all naked – check. They are outdoors – check? In harmony with nature and respect for environment? – FAIL!
One person we follow on twitter asked the following about the images below
Interesting to see 2 tweeted pics entitled ‘public nudity’. From a #naturist perspective I find them poles apart! One natural the other not!
Another of our followers on Twitter and IG whose approach to naturism I greatly respect shared this tweet.
A naturist is a nudist, but a nudist may not be a naturist. They may be bar hoping swingers, or an exhibitionist! Naturism happens in Nature
— Okanagan Naturist (@Ok_Naturist_BC) September 16, 2017
Simply put I think we need to put nature back in naturism. After reading a book The Earth Has a Soul by pioneering psychologist Carl Jung, I think this is important perspective for naturists in our highly technological society. Jung was one of the originators of the science of psychology. He also originated one of the first theory of apply psychology to modern life called psycho-analysis. Jung’s view of modern human beings and our relationship to nature was very wholistic.
Jung saw nature not as something to be used as a backdrop for sexy photos the way it has come to be expressed online. Instead he saw interacting with nature as critical to emotional health and well-being for modern human beings. He believed that in order to be whole emotionally and physically healthy human being we needed be more connected to nature. Our technological and industrial achievements are not sufficient to help us, we need a relationship with nature.
our Promethean conquest – may in the end not be able to serve us as well as nature.” (Carl Jung – Collected Works,8, par 750)
I think I see some of that in modern day naturism, particularly in the way we use social media and similar technology. Instead of being in nature to connect with nature some naturists use nature as a prop for their latest photo promoting themselves or a product they sell. We have been criticized on this site for suggesting a return to the “wilds” of nature. Here’s thought let’s put nature back in naturism.
How about we put nature back in naturism?
What I mean by that is, being in nature to observe and interact the natural world, rather than just pose for a photo. To develop our relationship with nature. Recently, I had the chance to spend some time doing just. I visited a naturist camp that had a great nature trail. The experience was so powerful that a visited several times just walk that trail at the end of my visit. I saw birds and snakes and deer (one ran right across my path). I listened the sounds the trees make talking to each other and us. I felt to dirt between my toes and the earth beneath my feet. It was a nourishing experience.
I also experienced this through social interaction with others in nature. There is a couple I will call L and G who I have encountered several times over the years at a naturist venue. In the course of our conversations I found they are more likely to describe themselves as nudists. However, I think represent the best expression of naturism. They spend a majority of their time clothes free, and can be regularly found camping at the clothing optional venue.
Sounds pretty standard so far, but that is not why I believe they represent the best expression of naturism. This unassuming couple actually spends a significant amount of time in nature. They kayak on rivers and lakes. They hike to do bird watching. They have become excellent at identifying local flora and fauna. They are naturists not just because they get naked in nature but because they intentionally interact with nature. They have a relationship with nature.
“We all need nourishment for our psyche. It is impossible to find such nourishment in urban tenements without a patch of green or a blossoming tree. We need a relationship with nature.
Carl Jung – The Earth Has a Soul
nu gymnosphy putting nature back in naturism
In the early days of modern naturism the practice was called gymnosophy. The term derived from the Greek language was used by Alexander to describe the naked sages (wise men) he encountered in his conquest of India. Alexander was so impressed by the way of life that these wise men lived in connection with nature that he brought the practice back to Greece. It eventually found its way into the original Olympic Games. The word gymnasium comes from the Greek noun meaning a place to be naked. The adjective was gymnos, naked.
“… the direct and personal enjoyment of nature can be attained to the highest possible degree only when unclothed, because then there is nothing artificial between man and nature. “Nudism in Modern Life – The New Gymnosophy Chapter: Maurice Parmalee
Modern European naturists claimed the term to reflect their practice of engaging in physical exercises while naked in nature. Nu gymnosophy as I define it reclaims this practice with a focus on interaction respectfully with the nature environment as well being physically active in it. Putting nature back in naturism to me means returning to the first gymnasium human being had before we started erecting huge facilities to watch others do sporting activities. It means a return nature to reestablish a relationship. Return to the forest, to the ocean, to the river and the mountain. Take pictures if you must but interact as well. Listen to the sounds of the forest. Observe the animals as they move about their natural environment. Splash in a stream or creek. Smell the flowers, climb a tree. Do it all clothes free!
How do you put nature back in your naturism? Be sure to leave a comment.