If I look at a traditional old bench in the garden, I feel related to it. If I look at an old naturally broken tree stump, I feel related to it. If I look at a steel window or at a computer casing I feel less related to them.
Today, if I look at an apartment building of recent times, or at the parking lot of a big supermarket, I feel less related to these things. They seem vacant. The onset of the modern era has created a world full of configurations to which we do not feel related.
Intensive focus on this relatedness itself can lead to a level of understanding about ourselves and about matter that could altogether change the distinction between matter and self we make today. Consideration of an apparently minor aspect of our world — typified by the pleasant relationship between me and a tree-stump — can, as I hope to show, give us a new picture of the way self and matter interact. It will show us that, inextricably, we belong in the world.
Each of us, as we are, is connected to the world. We are connected to it in a concrete way. The character of this relatedness is not invented or concocted in our minds, but actual. I seek to demonstrate that the tree which stands is entangled with my self, and I am entangled with it. This entanglement exists in a fashion which — when I understand it thoroughly — will forever change my conception of my place in the world. Once we understand it, it will change our conception of the universe and our conception of the matter of which we are made.