This post is a collaboration by Wilson and myself. It is a culmination of many hours of conversations about these ideas. But it was primarily composed earlier today during our afternoon dog walk with Revel in his stroller.
The American Chestnut Tree
Around 1900 the chestnut blight came to america. Creeping in through wounds in their bark, travelling via wind and rain splashing from other trees, the fungal infection spread like wildfire from tree to tree. Within 40 years, the most abundant tree in the Eastern Forest, making up at least 1/4 of all the trees in that beautiful ecosystem, were dead.
Because when the ones making money off of the chestnuts, selling them for their prized wood, heard about the problem, they panicked that their bank accounts were going to take a hit, and started desperately cutting down ill, AND healthy trees in an attempt to stop the spread of the illness.
Had they thought it through and waited and watched they would have realized that SOME of the trees appeared unaffected. That their limbs stretched healthy and strong, even as the illness blazed around them.
They would have noticed that some trees had an immunity.
In any population, humans, animals, trees, plants etc. there are always some who show immunity to any particular disease.
For example, 1% of our human population living right now is immune to HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. Scientists discovered that this rare group is made up of descendants of individuals who lived in Europe during the height of The Black Plague. The immunity passed from generation to generation and now appears as immunity to HIV. Scientist are working on an HIV vaccine, based on the blood of these lucky few, and have even cured a man in the initial trials.
So, if civilization is a disease, a mental illness, a psychosis (remember we talked about the Wetiko psychosis a few days ago ala Jack Forbes) then it stands to reason that there have always been some who are immune to it.
And that immunity, to joining the culture of destruction lets say, has passed from generation to generation through our genes.
And now, here we are, some percentage of the population, surrounded by the ones suffering from the Wetiko psychosis, the sickness that is civilization.
And we are shaking our heads because we just DON’T UNDERSTAND, how some people can just go about their business, consuming and consuming, acting like nothing is wrong, while the world crumbles around us.
But then we remember that it is possible to create a vaccine, from the healthy ones, that could cure the sick ones. And the sick ones could become healthy too.
And then we know that we must INOCULATE the ones around us who are not lucky enough to be naturally immune.
And what does INOCULATION against civilization, against the culture of destruction look like?
It looks like reconnecting to ourselves, to each other, to the ancestors, to the land, to God. It looks like educating one another, learning together, cooperating.
It looks like regenerating our landbase, to raise carrying capacity and biodiversity. It looks like reclaiming our place in the grand scheme of things.
And it looks like rebellion.
A standing up, a joining together, and a turning towards a new way.
Thank you for listening,
And thanks to MARK N. for the brilliant guest post tonight. Thank you so much for your words and insight Mark!
Black- a color for all seasons. I suppose it has always had a meaning for me. Not always a positive one either. It is the color of the end, of humanities (and life in general’s ultimate destiny), the heat death of the universe. A return to a cold, dead quantum soup. Perhaps you glimpse where the Goth/Metal fan in me came from.
However, black is also the fertility of the soil and the sharp beauty of its obsidian heart. Out of it comes the full range of color, from daffodil yellow to the red of a wood geranium. Likewise the black depths of the sea, which were born the first seeds of life on this world. One could say black is a color that rebels against it’s own end, if only by being so filled with possibilities.
I enter the final half of life even more pessimistic, as instead of the life giving corn goddess or Brigid, humanity seems to be incarnating the Goddess of destruction, an apocalyptic Kali, breathing out coal dust, oil and radioactive poison into the air and sea, her hands collecting more trophies for the skulls already hanging from her great belt. Instead of creativity, it is destructive nihilism that we are incarnating here. We are building a world of cold uniformity, suffering and a bleak worship of authority.
Maybe the black flags of rebellion will fly en mass to turn back the tide, but mourning is an appropriate response as life itself becomes more imperilled, the shroud of war and pollution, covers us all, the vestments of a funeral procession. The nurturing hands of soil or the shroud of suffering and extinction. Two ends on an ocean of darkness.Today I fear the charted destination.
May all sentient beings achieve liberation.
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