In the 18th century there was one French philosopher genius, Jean-Jacques Rousseau. It was Rousseau who provided Europe with slogans for return to nature during the times of the industrial revolution when everybody was excited about machines and the power of them. Rousseau argued for a shift from reliance on the head, (that is reason) to a shift to the heart and pure nature and the simple life. Rousseau called for the human beings that are genuine in a genuine world. He advocated and kindled a novel appreciation of natural beauty, wild life, forests, landscapes, mountains and valleys.
Natural life, argued Rousseau, is spiritually fulfilling, enchanting and cultivating people.
Rousseau found the dominant culture and philosophy of Europe too cruel and materialistic. His idea of happiness was sentimental, peacefulness, social and private. The dominant philosophy of Europe or the western tradition and civilization is that happiness is something you earn and deserve and conquer. According to western tradition there are no individual rights to happiness: you can only be happy if you are successful living in a luxury. Note the fact that to live in luxury you have to soldier through, beating people along the way (and sometimes making them slaves) brushing them aside and winning in life. Happiness and successes is something you deserve and earn according to the western tradition. You can only access happiness by becoming successful in life. In this way, people lives are in state of war, fighting to achieve, planning, controlling, strategizing, and managing is the order of western way of living.
Rousseau is backed by one of the modern philosophers Robin Sharma. Robin Sharma in his book The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari speaks about a gentleman lawyer who was probably the most successful lawyer on the planet earth. This lawyer at the age of 53, as he was arguing a high powered case in court had a heart attack and collapse right at the center of the court. And what follows may be that he entered a near death experience and entered his life review. Life review is the process we enter into shortly before we die. In this process nature present us with a comprehensive review of our lives. The purpose is to see to ourselves as to whether we were good or evil while living here on earth.
At the end however this particular lawyer survived the heart attack and came back to life here on this planet called earth. But he becomes a completely changed person having had near death experience. He drop out from the law profession and gave away all his luxuries. He travels to India to live in the mountains of India far away from people and civilization. Living in the mountains in the forests of India where there is no technology or any so called advancements that comes with the western tradition. There this former lawyer mingles with people, who in the modern sense of the western civilization you can call savage and primitive and uncivilized, spending time communing with nature, walking in the woods a life completely opposite to the big life he lived in big cities as a prominent lawyer.
This former lawyer going beyond the appearances encounters people with impeccable wisdom, wisdom based on compassion, natural justice and goodness as opposed to western tradition wisdom of being strong willed and achieving happiness out there and becoming successful.
Also Leo Tolstoy wrote a short story called How Much Land Does a Man Need. The moral of the story in this short story is that at the end all the things we spend the best days of our lives chasing in the name of success really don't matter that much. All that we really need once our lives end does not amount to too much more than six feet dust and soil.
"Society has become a messy placed to be. We have neglected what it means to stand for something bigger than our lives and we have misplaced our ones by focusing solely on ourselves to win rather than passionately helping everyone around us win as well in a gesture of kindness and encouragement. " -Robin Sharma