It appears that all wisdom is enshrined in the storied lives and inspirational sayings and writings of all the saints, sages, philosophers, martyrs, divine incarnations, gurus, teachers, priests, monks and nuns, generals, politicians, and cultural agitators, and yet there is natural wisdom to be discovered in the numberless unknown, the featureless, anonymous and hidden lives of the always silent ones, who come and go, leaving no last words behind, no etched stone tablets, no painted cave walls, no domestic artifacts, no recognizable artworks.
Yet, leaving no sign of decipherable waves, ripples, or any hint of their treasures spilled into the deep ocean of our common life heritage, it is their wisdom hidden in plain sight which sustains us in our imagined superiority and through our alienated affections and enfilading distractions.
I speak not of the acquired and recorded wisdom of humans but of the natural wordless wisdom of unseen and unheard animals, insects, trees, birds, bushes, plants, stones, grasses, mountains, valleys, plains, streams, rivers and seas, and the infinity of untamed cathedral spaces in the hidden fastnesses of nature.
Even in the pacified greens of the city, this wisdom leaks through unremarked. Walking the dog becomes an adventure when not besieged by nagging or habitual thoughts. Walking with a clear and empty mind like a blue sky, the neighborhood becomes an active meeting of the flowing infinity within and the roiling infinity without.
To maintain life’s balance, as the indigenous worldview suggests, all elements of the natural world are our most intimate relations with whom we have a most urgent responsibility to nurture an ongoing reciprocal relationship.
Yet what is this “we” that needs to acknowledge its larger belonging beyond the truncating tribalisms of ethnicity, gender, income status, nationality, religious affiliation, and cultural posturing?
How can we as a species, destined to bring down the pillars of this world, survive the death of the web-of-life we seem to be rushing so blindly towards???
It is only by radically restructuring the cultural institutions which we live by that we can even begin to have any hope of surviving our own arrogance and willful ignorance of the true nature of what existential threat we face in climate catastrophe.
We have to walk away from the present “normal” and recreate a NEW NORMAL from the ground up. If we simply use the existing structures of societal interaction, no matter what new content we insert, the result will only be a continuation of the existing divisive and fatal polarities.
A New Normal will be a community-based vision of social coherrence where the common good informs the structural assumptions of the society we deliberately choose to be. Without that being our normal there will be no future for life as we know it.
All our relations will die with us in our stubborn refusal to change our point of view where competition and the violence are norm… May we dream a better dream for all!
All our relations.