On trees, deep ecology and poetry

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On trees, deep ecology and poetry

Birdtree
Birdtree by amelo14
1. Introduction

Flaming tree
Flaming tree by amelo14
Most of us, if not all of us, have a particular fondness for and connection to  living things. And since each of us is unique, we have greater connections to some living beings over others. This connection is very difficult to articulate. For example, some people have a fondness for dogs; still others for tarantulas. Dali was fond of flies, though most of us aren’t. I myself have always had a particular fondness for trees. I cannot tell you why exactly; I can only say that my adolescence was close to them. I was lucky, I got to know MANY diverse trees. But many other living beings were also close to me, and yet my fondness for trees stands out. This journal tries to articulate this connection.

But, fortunately, I am not the only one. Here at dA many people are fond of trees and flowers. One need only check out the photography category Nature to find thousands upon thousands of photographs being uploaded constantly. And I ask myself, what are all these deviants trying to say? Of course,  not all such deviations are artistic, but they DO show that artists and non-artists have a strong and deep connection with the living.

But for some, it is poetry which is THE privileged art that opens this connection with the living  more primordially than any other. This journal is also about this connection with poetry, with a poem that tells about our connection to trees. Once, one such  poem came to me. It is a poem about trees. I am sorry, I must correct myself. It is a poem about A very unique tree. These are the opening lines of this poem entitled A Refuge of Nocturnal Birds:

"High on a cliff there's a twisted pine;
intently it listens into the abyss
with its trunk curved down like a crossbow. "


(Salvatore Quasimodo; Nobel Prize, 1959.)

Poetry uses such deceptively simple words! I mean, I am sure most of us know each and every single word just read.  So much so, that we think we have understood these few lines. But then I wonder, why would Quasimodo receive the NOBEL prize if things are as simple as they appear? Surely there is a mystery brewing here. Perhaps our complex modern lives have made us a bit hasty. We know too much and rarely pause.

Instead, I propose we listen “intently” again to the poem as this peculiar pine listens intently to the abyss. But this is not easy; for I am not sure if our capacity to listen is at its best. How could we listen being surrounded, as we are, by so much noise pollution? How could we listen if we are always talking? Have we forgotten to listen in  our hectic age?

But much more importantly, and these are the VERY difficult questions which guide this  journal: if indeed we CAN listen to the world of living things ---–if we can listen to their Being--- what would it mean to be able to listen TO them? I mean something not too complex. I mean, in part,  this; the latest I heard, trees just DO NOT speak. Or, more to the point, how exactly can a poem speak for trees in an age in which trees are becoming extinct because of our technological encroachment? How can we humans –specially artists and philosophers--- let trees speak? Or, can/should  we just shed our technological understanding of the world, an understanding in which trees have lost their symbolic enchantment? How, indeed,  to let them speak without Imposing our anthropocentric voice unto them?

This journal attempts to be a very incomplete preparation towards new  types of encounters. Mainly, it is shared so that together we can listen more clearly to our fondness for trees and other living beings. But like the twisted pine in Quasimodo’s poem, before getting to the poem itself, we must ---unfortunately--- make some preparatory twists.

Earth tree star
Earth-tree-star by amelo14
2. A puzzle

Branching
Branching by amelo14
The previous questions carry with them a very perplexing puzzle; it is a puzzle which is of particular interest to us modern Westerners for we alone have brought about the demise of a mythological understanding of the universe and the beings which inhabit it. To this we shall return; but for now, how to express better this puzzle which I feel so intensely?

In one of the most beautiful Platonic dialogues –---the Phaedrus, which deals with erotic discourse--- Socrates says something altogether puzzling to us moderns. Phaedrus teases Socrates by telling him that he rarely leaves the city of Athens for the countryside. In the countryside Socrates seems to be totally lost. Socrates seems to not be much of a hiker, as we modern city dwellers in our polluted cities have become. To this teasing, Socrates responds:

“Very true, my good friend; and I hope that you will excuse me when you hear the reason, which is, that I am a lover of knowledge, and the men who dwell in the city are my teachers, and not the trees or the country.”
classics.mit.edu/Plato/phaedru…

Socrates is of the city, rather than of the countryside. What could Socrates be getting at? But, is this true? Don’t we have anything to learn from trees? Isn’t Socrates absolutely wrong here? We might think about this possibility: Socrates just simply did not foresee an age in which the very existence of the Earth would come into play because of the powers we have harnessed as humans caught in our technological grids. Of course, Socrates knew VERY WELL the Greeks could destroy themselves. But for US humans to destroy the Earth, that, I think, was a situation Socrates could not have foreseen.

And yet, might not there be some truth to Socrates’ important point? To see what might be behind his point just consider a very simple question once again: when was the last time you actually spoke to a tree, and it actually answered back? By the same token, recall the opening lines of the poem above. The tree in Quasimodo‘s poem is NOT the tree which I see through my window. I bet you, the tree outside does not actually listen to anything, for it just does not have ears! So after all, it seems, Socrates has a point. Trees cannot teach us much. But, is this true?

It is this ambivalent questioning which moves me to try to listen more carefully to what trees might say to us humans in an age in which trees are continuously fallen and seen as standing reserve ready to be cut,  rather than as the wilderness of which we are an integral part. This is why, in contrast to Socrates’ words, I must let you listen to Tolkien’s words. In particular, we listen with deep gratitude to how Pippin tried to describe his encounter with  the Ents, the oldest inhabitants of Tolkien’s symbolically rich world:

“One felt as if there was an enormous well behind them, filled up with ages of memory and long, slow, steady thinking, but their surface was sparkling with the present; like sun shimmering on the outer leagues of a vast tree, or on the ripples of a very deep lake. I don’t know but it felt as if something that grew  in the ground –asleep, you might say, or just feeling itself as something  between root-tip and leaf-tip, between deep earth and sky had suddenly waked up, and was considering you with the same  slow care that it had given  to its own inside affairs for endless years.” (BOOK II;  ‘Treebeard’, pg. 77)

How could we not learn from such creatures? How could we not wish to become like them? I mean ; “enormous wells with ages of memory of slow thought and a sparkling present as surface”, who does not seek something like this before death arrives? We moderns in particular; how could we not learn from beings whose motto, Tolkien tells us, is “do not be hasty”?

It is the pull of these two views, summed up in the contrasting words of Socrates and Tolkien,  that move me to write this journal. I am extremely fond of trees, but I do not want to  simply project my fears upon them. If they do indeed have nothing to teach me, I prefer to know.

Earth tree bird moon
Earth-tree-bird-moon by amelo14
3. Two understandings of trees; secular biology and sacred  wisdom.

Ascension
Ascension by amelo14
To better understand this puzzle, which I myself find difficult to grasp and even to share with you, one can bring to memory certain stories.  Think of the role trees play in two very important events in human history. One concerns the origins of Buddhism; the other,  the origins of our modern scientific approach.

It is said that Siddhartha, at the age of 29, was forever transformed when he came upon the sight of four very special humans: an old crippled man, a sick man, a decaying corpse, and finally a wandering holy man. The sight of suffering and the search  for a meaning to such suffering, became the meaning of his life. Years later,  it is said  that  while sitting in meditation under a bodhi tree Siddhartha reached enlightenment and became a Buddha.

“But, what does all this have to do with trees?,” impatiently you ask.  Very much. The Bodhi tree plays a central role in the story; Siddhartha could just as well have been meditating in the shower when he reached Nirvana. Or under an orange tree. But that is not how the story goes. Instead, there is something in trees, specially THIS tree,  which brings us closer to certain fundamental and sacred truths about ourselves and the universe. No wonder in Buddhism the bodhi tree is considered to be THE tree of wisdom; it is both sacred and its name literally means “supreme knowledge”. (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bodhi_tr… ) Scientific nomenclature itself has been so struck by this that it calls the tree, using its binomial  categorization,  ficus religiosa! en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buddhism…

(If you come from a Christian background, as many of us do in the West, you might ponder about our very own initial myth, that of the tree of  life and the tree of knowledge: “And out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Genesis 2; 9; For a consideration see Thomas Pangle Political Philosophy and the God of Abrahametext.lib.virginia.edu/toc/mod… )

But we modern westerns  also have another, very different  story about trees. It is the story of Sir Isaac Newton’s tree. ( www.oberlin.edu/faculty/mblech… ) It is said that the apple that hit Newton on the head allowed him to think anew our relation to the universe and its fundamental laws. The privileged realm above in  the heavens could now be understood by the very same laws which were applicable to the natural world right here in our Earth. Of course, this might not have happened exactly as the story goes, but the myth has greatly become part of our understanding. And I ask myself, can you sense how different roles the trees play in each of these two very important stories?  What Newton discovers is not wisdom in the company of a wise tree,  but his universal mathematical understanding over and above any tree. For ALL trees are covered by the laws of gravity. In contrast, in Buddhism, NOT ALL  trees are wise trees. Newton and Siddhartha sought the comforting shadow of trees for two VERY different reasons.   csep10.phys.utk.edu/astr161/le… .

What this story reveals then, if I am right,  is that we can no longer safely move without reaching into BOTH stories. Trees, in the West particularly,  have definitely lost the strong symbolic powers which once attached to them and linked them directly to the Gods. It would seem that this is simply a loss. But I do not think so. The story of yet another tree may help us to understand the necessity of both discourses. It is the story of the neem tree.

On the one hand, ayurvedic medicine has known for centuries of its multileveled benefits. They are so many that it is actually called the “village pharmacy”. So a pre-scientific understanding has already gained much. But the biological-scientific understanding seems to provide the possibility for this tree ‘s playing a central role in the defense of complex ecosystems themselves:

“Of primary interest to research scientists is its activity as an insecticide. Many of the tree's secondary metabolites have biological activity, but azadirachtin is considered to be of the most ecological importance. It acts by breaking the insect's lifecycle. Research has increased in the past few years as the desire for safe pest control methods increases and it becomes apparent that this tree will be able to play a role in integrated pest management systems.“
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neem

It seems, then, that both discourses have MUCH to gain from their interaction. And yet, at the same time, we are overly conscious of the destruction of trees and rainforests in our world.  We no longer have the confidence we once had that the solution to our technologically generated dilemmas can be cured by the use of technology itself. We recognize that something has gone wrong with this scientific-instrumental view of nature. We fear, rightly, that it does not have the tools to pull itself out of the dangers it generates.

And the tension of our initial puzzle, which I hope has progressively become clearer, returns. On the one hand it is WE humans who are disrupting the planet and therefore humbly must take into consideration the symbolic relevance of other living beings. But on the other hand, we somehow sense that WE alone have consciousness of the world and know what it would actually mean to SAVE or DESTROY this living world of ours. Perhaps if we try to understand more closely the dangers of instrumental reason we can get clearer still on this difficult puzzle. Here, the aid of some philosophers is much required.

The last tree
The last tree by amelo14
4.  Instrumental reason and deep ecology

Enclosure
Enclosure by amelo14
To see how deep we are into this scientific model of understanding nature, we can do an exercise in memory. Biology courses provide a great example. For, it seems,  we moderns take it for granted that the way we classify nature and seek to understand it,  is THE primary way of access to the world. A standard biological definition of a tree reads: “A tree can be defined as a large, perennial, woody plant. Though there is no set definition regarding minimum size, the term generally applies to plants at least 6 m (20 ft) high at maturity and, more importantly, having secondary branches supported on a single main stem or trunk.” en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tree

That we do not feel any uneasiness at this view of trees, should indeed make us a bit uneasy. This understanding of trees is quite unique and problematic. Don’t you see something odd here? First of all, it is indeed odd to even try to define trees. Of course, biology requires it. But, is this mode of access the PRIMARY  access to trees we must adopt? What this model emphasizes is not without problems. We classify, categorize, measure and analyze. Don’t you feel you are objectively being told what a tree is, as if the tree were being observed from above, rather than the tree being a participant in a complex ecosystem? And such definitions usually  continue by telling us what we westerners seem to love, they proceed to speak of superlatives. We are immediately told about the tallest, the widest, the oldest, constantly seeking in reality what we can quantify analytically. However, as for the height of trees, it is interesting that we are told: “the heights of the tallest trees in the world have been the subject of considerable dispute and much (often wild) exaggeration.”.  Trees serve our purposes for recognition by others; we want to have the tallest tree near US, so we can stand out much taller than we actually are.

But how to quantify what for others is the sacredness of  certain trees? The Bodhi tree does not seem to stand so much physically apart from all other trees as it does spiritually. To have been the one tree under which marvelous events occurred, what more could a tree wish for? A more comprehensive, a deeper,  understanding of trees is required. Trees must be allowed a voice beyond their classification. Poetry, as we shall see,  is such a possibility.

Many philosophers have likewise pointed out how strange this view of reason is; primarily because it begins its processing by severing our access to the world of living things. For it to work accurately and cleanly, it must begin by separating us form the world. This is a non-starter for many of us. This strangeness can be revealed as well in our modern maps. This type of reason is known in philosophical circles as “instrumental reason”:  It has a complex history of its own connected to the rise of the new science defended by Bacon and Descartes.  Among other things, when one speaks of instrumental rationality the idea is that we consider the means without thinking reflexively about the ends to which this means might lead us. Production must keep increasing even if there will in the end be nothing to produce with. We seem caught in this self-destructive dynamic. Underpinning this view of the world is the preponderance of a cost-benefit analysis and in general a utilitarian outlook to ourselves, others and nature.  Taylor sums up the issue quite well:

“Instrumental reason has grown along with a disengaged model of the human subject, which has a great  hold on our imagination. It offers an ideal picture of human thinking that has disengaged  from its messy embedding in our bodily constitution, our dialogical situation, our emotions and our traditional forms of life in  order to  be pure, self-verifying rationality. This is one of the most prestigious forms of reason in our culture.“ (“The Ethics of Authenticity”, a MUST read for ANY artist, pg. 102)

Disengaging ourselves from trees, easily we topple them. We might say to ourselves: “They cannot engage in dialogue; so much the worse for them.”

To this position the Romantics, among many,  revolted. They pointed out the dangers of this separation between humans and their natural world. Art became a way to bridge the disconnected parts which conformed a mechanical view of the universe. To make a very long story short, what has come out of such critiques is what is known as a stance called “Deep ecology”. This position stems from a reconsideration of what language reveals about ourselves and the world we inhabit. Under it, living things place a demand on us humans which moves us beyond our anthropocentrism into a view in which we  “let things be”. In an article entitled   “Heidegger, Buddhism and deep ecology”, Michael Zimmerman writes:

“Buddhism, Heidegger and Naess  argue that puncturing the illusion of permanent selfhood would alleviate the infliction of  such suffering by freeing  one from the illusory quest  for total control. Being liberated from the illusion of egocentrism also frees one from the spontaneous  compassion  towards other beings human and non-human alike. One ´lets things be´ not for any external goal, but instead  simply from a profound sense of identification with all things” (pg 263-264)

It is not by chance that it is Buddhism which leads the way here. Siddhartha knew much about trees, or so it seems. Now, this perspective in itself is not without problems, but it stands as a powerful critique of the anthropocentric view which sees humans as dominators of nature, rather than as one of the highest expressive possibilities of the natural.

Deep ecology reconsiders seriously the role language plays in our relation to the world. Instead of using language to classify the world, words become the way to disclose things and allow them a voice beyond our own. Having language center exclusively on humans likewise makes it impossible to hear subtler languages which open humans to realities beyond their own anthropocentric paradigm. Our initial puzzle seems to have found a possible  response. Although it is WE humans who have language, it is by changing the way we understand language, that we can hear the voice of the living things to which we belong. Something like this is what Taylor is trying to get at with the use of the term “epiphany”:
“what I want to capture with this term is just the notion of a work of art as the locus of a manifestation which brings us into the presence of something which is otherwise inaccessible, and which is of the highest moral or spiritual significance; a manifestation, moreover, which also defines or completes something, even as it reveals” (SotS pg 419)

Art in particular provides the human possibility in which epiphany  can be realized. Perhaps now we are  more prepared to listen to Quasimodo’s poem about a very unique tree.

An Ecological Atlas
An Ecological Atlas by amelo14
5. A poem about a unique tree: “A Refuge of Nocturnal Birds”

Resonance
Resonance by amelo14
Do forgive so many twists and turns. Now, finally,  to Quasimodo’s complete poem. A Refuge of Nocturnal Birds,  reads:

"High on a cliff there's a twisted pine;
intently it listens into the abyss
with its trunk curved down like a crossbow.

A refuge of nocturnal birds,
in the deepest hours of midnight it resounds
with the swift fluttering of wings.

Even my heart has a nest
suspended into the darkness, and a voice;
it, too, lies awake listening at night."


Let’s listen to it a stanza at a time. We must remain open to see what poetry can reveal and transform  as it reveals. It reveals complexities, even if made up of the simplest of words. As few other arts can, it reaches origins.
.  
First Stanza

"High on a cliff there's a twisted pine;
intently it listens into the abyss
with its trunk curved down like a crossbow.”


The poem opens by distancing us from what appears is its main character. High on a cliff, far away, one sees a tree. But this tree is not just any tree. It could have been a maple, or a eucalyptus. But no. It is a pine. “Why a pine?,” you might ask. Only later shall we see. We must be patient and not skip the lines of the poem. We must not be hasty as Tolkien’s trees remind us. But then we puzzle a bit. This pine is no ordinary pine; it is  instead,  twisted. But tell me: have you ever seen a twisted pine? Aren’t pines the  straightest of trees? Why does Quasimodo  do this?

Perhaps that this special pine is twisted tells us something. It is a pine which has undergone a transformation. Its nature is no longer what other trees of its species take for granted. It has mutated. It stands out. And we imagine all other pines blushing somewhat at the sight of such abnormality. In contrast, Siddhartha would not have mocked this tree. .

Having described the tree and its location, we are now told what it actually DOES. Trees aren’t really the most active of creatures. But this tree is special. It is a listening tree. It listens with its twisted trunk. How does it listen? This tree listen INTENTLY. It is an intense twisted tree. What does it listen to? It listens to the abyss. It listen to the depths; to the depths of time and the darkness of origins.  

And through the magic of words Quasimodo suddenly transports us from the distance on the high cliff afar,  to a certain closeness to this tree. We are moved , with a few words, to focus on the shape of its trunk. The tree trunk provides the solidity of a tree’s very existence. Just remember the biological definition of trees.  It is the trunk which holds the branches, not the other way around. Surely a tree without a trunk is like a person without a spinal chord. And this tree's trunk has a special form; that of a crossbow. And we puzzle at Quasimodo’s choice of words. A crossbow for what? This pine intently listening is both a pine and a crossbow. Now we suddenly understand why it MUST be a pine. For a pine has the form of an arrow. This pine listening intently  projects itself ready for flight as an arrow thrown from its very own being towards itself. But how can this be so? Have you ever seen a tree move? How can it move while remaining in its  place? Trees seem to have a certain magic to them.

Second Stanza

“A refuge of nocturnal birds,
in the deepest hours of midnight it resounds
with the swift fluttering of wings.’


Quasimodo gives us pause to rethink what has happened. And while we do so, we return only to suffer a move towards the inside. This fantastic tree, shunned by other trees in their upright  existence ---–which does not mean this tree is not itself upright, only that it is so in a very different way---  has a peculiar function. It is the tree chosen by the surrounding birds. It is a refuge for life. Bent, it can carry the birds which upright trees might not. These winged friends flock to it at night, when the light of day is gone and great perils arise.  Waiting in time, probably remembering its own rings, suddenly  this tree resounds in the darkest  of moments. And we look carefully at Quasimodo’s choices upon the many which opened before him while writing. This tree “resounds”. Why not simply say that this tree “sounds”? Why emphasize that it RE-sounds. Perhaps because this tree has sounded before, and will sound again at midnight as long at it lives and there are humans to tell the story. Other trees  seem soundless in comparison.

It resounds at a specific time; at the time in which  much of night has gone by, and still much of night is still to come. One needs strength to survive until midnight and great hope to survive afterwards. For dusk is long past, and dawn is far away.  How can we be sure dawn will in fact arrive?  This tree has no songs of its own, though its rings have the memory of countless singing inhabitants it has outlasted. This unique tree resounds with  the fluttering of wings. Swiftly the birds ------who take refuge in it as a home----- give it motion and musicality. Instead of simply lying asleep within the tree,  they keep  it close company. It is as if the birds ----in gratitude towards this special  tree---  want to take the crossbow which this twisted tree is, directly into flight. Unable to fly, this tree is now prepared, because of the  presence of fluttering birds, to fly. For we are truly grateful to refuges; particularly to those refuges which took us in the midnight hours of our lives. Specially those refuges who gave us shelter based on the DIFFICULT maturity of true generosity. Grateful as Siddhartha must have been before he became another; a much better other.  

Third Stanza

“Even my heart has a nest
suspended into the darkness, and a voice;
it, too, lies awake listening at night."


And we catch our breath for we are heading towards the end. We began far way, only to enter into the very branches which hold these birds within. But now,  suddenly, WE appear to ourselves for the very first time. The twisted tree OUT there in the cliff, the birds OUT there in the twisted tree,  becomes the tree IN which WE live. We are not the tree, but we are close. Have you ever been close to a tree? Quasimodo tells us that even our hearts have a nest here. But we KNOW we are not birds If you have doubts, try to fly into the abyss. And yet, a bit like birds, we create our nests from the twigs and small branches of our  lives. Furthermore, for Quasimodo the nest is not primarily for our brains, or legs; though it is ALSO nest for them. It is primarily a refuge for our hearts. This twisted tree is a refuge for artists who value our emotional human existence as a privileged way of accessing the world which surrounds us in constant immediacy.

Quasimodo is grateful as well; even HIS heart has a nest. This is why he shares this poem with us. He does not simply want a nest for himself, but rather a nest for US. But this nest, we are told, lies suspended. It lacks a firm grounding which guarantees total safety. Total and firm grounding is not a possibility for us moderns, as it was possible for earlier times. Our access to nature as moderns cannot have the grounding we once knew in earlier mythologies which allowed for a direct connection between trees and gods. We know of science and its understanding. This is why our nest lies suspended in the darkness. .A strong and compassionate refuge is required precisely in such times. It is in darkness that the generosity of shelter becomes a gift. Suspended in the darkness and close to the abyss, Quasimodo’s poem allows us to reconsider ourselves and our relation to the world of trees.

And then the MOST puzzling aspect of the poem appears as a lightning bolt. Quasimodo briefly adds “and a voice”. Not the tree’s voice. Not the birds’ voices. Not Quasimodo’s voice, for he could just as well have said “my” voice.  And yet it is A voice. This voice does not have the presumptions of possession, but rather discloses, in the darkness, the possibility itself of a language in which things are freed unto themselves for us to hear them. And what does it say? Nothing; for our human voice may perhaps have said too much. Instead, it is open to the difficult activity of listening beyond our own speech. This voice is open to the disclosure of nature in the very words of the poem we are reading together.

In contrast to so many voices, this voice lies speechless; it awaits the time to speak, to open itself in renewed speech. It listens, as once the twisted tree we  knew at the beginning of the poem did. Awakened, it has allowed this tree access to language. Our consciousness –liberated from pure instrumentality – becomes itself a crossbow which projects the tree as an arrow into the abyss. This voice, the voice of the poem itself, resounds ever again as we feel the pull to return to the beginning, to its origin. Perhaps in it, awake at night, we might feel the echoes of a faint refuge for us humans, specially of us artists. Instrumentality has seen the possibility of a depth beyond its dangerous limitations.

6. Conclusion

Weeping tree
Weeping tree by amelo14
This has been, once again,  a long journey. I am grateful if you have been a refuge to my weak words. Perhaps now we are more prepared to listen for calls which we might otherwise miss. Perhaps at least this call must be heard; the tree of life must be heard before we continue climbing up the tree of knowledge. For it seems we know much, but live well little. Perhaps together we are now better prepared to listen to Quasimodo’s deceptively simple words. Let’s listen intently:  

A Refuge of Nocturnal Birds

"High on a cliff there's a twisted pine;
intently it listens into the abyss
with its trunk curved down like a crossbow.

A refuge of nocturnal birds,
in the deepest hours of midnight it resounds
with the swift fluttering of wings.

Even my heart has a nest
suspended into the darkness, and a voice;
it, too, lies awake listening at night."


Moonlit mediation among birds
Moonlit Meditation among Birds by amelo14

Published:
© 2005 - 2021 amelo14
Comments13
anonymous's avatar
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ViandeFroide's avatar
for us, Corsicans, trees are like a part of our familly, we have so much respect toward them. I hope that, thanks to your journal, people will act the same...
amelo14's avatar
What a wonderful way to put it my friend. Trees as part of the family! :-)
oceanpeace's avatar
wow... this is an awesome lecture and insight you are sharing..... I love that search and discussion of the intellectual vs the mystical... science vs nature.... I agree we need both :hug:
I am not as familiar with Plato and Socrates, so it is so fun to read about the thoughts of these, and other great thinkers... and how you connect art with these concepts. Great job and wonderful research!

Along similar lines, here the book "The Tao of physics" I found so fascinating:
[link]

and here's a funny sermon on the "The Tao of Pooh":
[link]

Ponder on, my good friend! :highfive: :glomp: :D
amelo14's avatar
Hi Heidi, :wave:

Thank you for your kind words. I always appreciate each and every deviant who reads my journals.

There are some topics which touch me deeply and I seek to write about them. I try to share a little about some philosophical issues, but I try to remember that the issues I must deal with here at dA should primarily regard art. However, there are many issues regarding Socrates which I would love to touch upon. As you might know, Socrates and Plato provide very important and deep critiques of art and artists.

I looked at the information for Capra and found it quite interesting. In the understanding of my illness I have come close to several doctors who share many of his beliefs. Their outlook is quite important, specially as regards complexity theories. I have come to understand much thanks to them.

I think that the dichotomy science vs nature is not easy to bridge precisely because as moderns we cannot go back in time to an age in whic the universe was symbolically imbued. This is why for some it is poetry the primary area for the expression of Being. Heidegger has written powerfully about this issue in his anlysis of Holderlin.

I myself think that a recovery of a Socratic/Aristotelian way of life is of central importance in our conflicted times.

Andres aka treelover
oceanpeace's avatar
illness? You mean, your being possible the most well read intellectual walking the earth at the moment? ;) :confused:

I googled Heidegger on Environment Ethics..... fascinating. Yes, I do not know where we are all headed, but I think we will need some better visionaries for leaders, than what we have currently ;)

Hope you have a relaxing weekend, my friend! :hug: :glomp:
amelo14's avatar
I am glad you found the links to Heidegger and ecology. Must keep the discussion going. You always have such kind words for me; I am so grateful. Let's hope other journals come along, but many topics I love have little to do with art.


(By the way Heidi, did you not know I am recovering from a very serious problem in my back? I am not sure if I ever told you.)
oceanpeace's avatar
Life has become art to me, so all subjects apply... :highfive: :D

I did not know you were recovering from a serious back problem :hug: That must be very difficult :( .... many positive and healing thoughts your way, my friend... :love: I have dealt with chronic pain for over ten years, so I can relate a little to the struggle ;) Accupressure has given me some sense of personal control... I smile much to convince myself the experience of life is worth the effort :D
and it is.... :glomp:
amelo14's avatar
Art has played a crucial role in my life for many years, though I have not dedicated my life to it. And yet I have learned much from it.

Yes my dear Oceanpeace. Such long stories we all carry with us. Thank you so much for sharing your pain with me. I do hope your pain continually goes down and that your body is kind to you. I wrote a journal so time on the issue. You might be interested. I can only tell you I am beter each day, but the process will be quite long. However, I have come to think of illness as an absolutely AMAZING experience. It provides many opportunities such as, for example, a distancing oneself from the importance of material goods, among many other things. I wish the pain would be a bit less, but again I have been EXTERMELY fortuante to have met different brilliant doctors with whom I have exchanged many views on illness so that a more dialogical relation was once established. Besides I have been fortunate to have done many things before I got ill; this helps in now being able to focus on a reflection on a multiplicity of past activities. Here is the link to the journal: it which was "written" more than 8 months ago. I am much better now, but still far from ok: [link]
oceanpeace's avatar
wow, you really have been through a lot my friend, and have found the key.... I agree, finding the beauty in our aging process, whatever path it takes, can be very rewarding.... such irony... Life.....
I continue to look toward hope in my healing process... mostly healing the spirit ;) which, in the end is a blessing.... hope your week continues to go well! :glomp:
amelo14's avatar
Thank you Heidi. Will continue learning from this experience which is unique and extremely valuable. :glomp:
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BludonutKing's avatar
You have an amazing mind and I wish there was a way we could hear and listen to the trees...oh yeah and my fondness and connection to living things are ants. Ever since I was young, I was fascinated with everything about them and continue to be today and I cannot explain it.
amelo14's avatar
Your words are so kind. I am very glad that this writing has struck a chord with you. Thanks for sharing your love of ants. You know, you might want to find out why are you are so attracted to them. Who knows what you will find! :-) Thanks once again.
anonymous's avatar
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