64 The Future of The Wuerzeltod (II)
A friendrecently asked: “Why do we always end up in a two-tiered society?”
My answer is simple and straight forward.
We have destroyed and disappeared the wood.
The wood—ever since the creation of humankind—has been humankind’s first line of defense with regard to human freedom and liberty.
The wood is the home of democracy. So-called democracy of the urban environment, the city, is nothing but utopian thinking in retrospect. Human beings did not become democrats in the process of social evolution, but they were born democrats, and democracy is because it began in the wood.
The wood and the individual tree stand as a shield against exploitation. Both the wood and the individual tree in the wood is the physical object that enables man and woman to defend themselves against any attackers of their democratic privilege.
Both now and in the long ago, many men became rich, wealthy, and ‘important’ by cutting down the wood. It was not always thought as an act of terrorists. To the contrary, it was often believed to be a creative act by pioneers (http://www.fiddleheadsbarandgrill.com/pdf/darlingtour.pdf ) and ‘smart generals’, as, for example, when the Roman General Varus lost three legions to the freedom loving Germanic tribes. The strategy of the men of the wood was a simple one, they attacked the Romans from out of the Teutoburg wood http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Teutoburg_Forest and then ran back into the wood to hide in the marshes and swamps there. After their defeat, the Romans always cut the wood about them when encamping or building a fort; and no number of brave and heroic wood dwellers could then dislodge or defeat the disciplined ranks of the Roman urbanites.
The tragedy for democracy and the wood began with the arrival of agriculture. Up to that time, human beings made their dwellings by clearing out a piece of land in the forest. The cleared land was used to grow various edible roots, berry bushes, and fruit trees, while the wood and its marshes were used as hunting and fishing grounds.
With the arrival of agriculture, which brought with it taxation (of grain) and hording by the boyars (originally probably ‘bully boys’). who built fortifications for their hoard. The fortifications used a large amount of lumber. In turn, this resulted in the clearance of sizeable areas of the forest. When some people of the wood found it convenient to build their dwellings along the outer edge of the wall of the boyars’ castles-forts, there arose the first towns and cities. Worse, there arose conceit among the “city” dwellers against the people of the wood and farmers. The conceit was most likely based on the ‘superiority’ of violence that the city people could bring to bear against the dwellers of the wood.
The cutting of forests continues to our day, We now call this cutting of trees “desertification”, because we can clearly see that we are not only destroying trees, but have created a whole culture of extreme resource exploitation along with it.
This brings us back to the question that opens this blog: “Why do we have a two-tiered society?”
Answer: Because we no longer have people dwelling in the wood. We no longer are protected by the wood. We can no longer ambush the Roman legions from behind trees. Our wood huts along the wall of the fort have become numbered cubicles in an “urban environment”. A modern American folk song called “Little Boxes” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2_2lGkEU4Xs&feature=related describes the situation well.
Speaking only for myself, I consider myself “terrorized” by all those who have terrorized the wood to extinction. In order to protect my interest in freedom and democracy, I have purchased a few hectares for myself in Latvia and have built there a “temple” dedicated to the wood. The centerpiece of the temple is not a God or Goddess, but the trunk of an oak tree with sawn off limbs. The “tree” stands on a concrete platform that has been built over the foundations of what used to be an old cowbarn and a hayloft.
This brings me to the literary critic, philosopher, and essayist Walter Benjamin. I am particularly interested in Walter Benjamin’s thought, because very possibly he helps to explain the thought processes of our forebears (and of course my own).
Writes Benjamin: “If the theory is correct that feeling is not located in the head …but, rather, in the place where we see it, then we are, in looking at our beloved, too [in this instance the wood and trees], outside ourselves.”
In other words, we experience our experience of the object in a sentient manner, as it beings outside ourselves. When we see a tree that commands our attention, we do not look at it as an actor may, with our head and conscious selves studying the tree in every detail, but as if the tree were that instant become a part of us. Such an entry of our self into the wood’s or tree’s self allows us to see he tree as copy of our selves. [I owe this latter insight to Michael Taussig’s book, re “Mimesis and Alterity”.] This is why sometimes the sawing down of a tree affects us with emotions that make us want to scream murder!
While a mutual blessing may occur every time that I (we) and the tree meet (as when it grows in my yard), the communal ritual of sacralization (with the whole community participating) generally occurs on the basis of a local tradition, among Latvians, specifically, on Johns Eve.
In Latvia, Johns’ Eve is the time when a man presents himself to himself and the community with an oak leaf wreath on his head, a symbol of strength, endurance, greening, and life giving. In the instance of the oak tree, its fruit are the acorns that feed bird and beast. The woman appears with an oak leaf crown on her head as well (flowers are for medicinal tea and fulfill the sentiments of modern city dwellers), and both man and woman wear loafers (pastalas) made of linden tree bark made pliable after having been soaked in water.
To break meaning down further, the oak speaks for mindfulness as if it were a hat, while the linden speaks for being in touch with Earth. When the linden is in bloom, she is visited by thousands of bees; and if the bees think not with their heads, but are sentient in their being, then the linden tree, bees, and humans together create an aura within a special sound space. Latvians call this sound “sann-eht”. This ‘sann’ sound may only be heard properly when we are standing under a blooming linden filled with bees and with you and me present. So, if one wishes to hear how the linden, its flowers, the bees, and we sann together, you and I have to go there, where we will meet in the here and now.
We can rebuild this planet and recreate an un-tiered (egalitarian) society when and if we start using our brain to create ways to live in the wood again. Presently, it is still a movement toward the city, yet the computer makes the city unnecessary--at least as far as communication and education is concerned. Factories need not be so large as to consume a landscape. We dont need cars. We do need a good monorail http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monorail system , bycycle paths, and a way to quickly attach a bicycle to the rail.
We also have to reinterpret history. That is why I have turned to Anatoly Fomenko as my orienter and guide in history. The current and popular version of history destroys our (my) sense of sentience regarding events by removing the events further into the background than they really are.
As recently as the 17th century, daily life was still enveloped by the wood. The machine, the great distancer of reality (television and the chainsaw being best examples), was not yet. Jesus on the cross (replacing Jesus thrown into a fire pit on the Hippodrome (11th or 12th centuries) in Constantinople did not yet fill the imaginary space with a phantasm better fit for the consumption of an urban dweller. Death by burning was a more sentient experience, the last victim of the Inquisition being Giordano Bruno in 1600, but the imaginary suffering of Jesus is made to appear more immediate.
In short, the current version of history (re: 2012 years since the birth of Jesus) denies, certainly handicaps Walter Benjamin’s theorizing and relevance. Propaganda takes precedence over sentience. The linden tree may as well be a linden in Unter den Linden http://www.ww2incolor.com/d/483493-4/1__007 c. Berlin, WW2.
Asterisks; Notes of Interest:
On material depravation in Latvia.
On the theme of “more-equal-than-others” Animal Farm.
An eyeball view of Latvia (and its forests) company map; satellite. While some sources claim that Latvia is 47% covered by forests, none of it is old growth forest. The Latvian news media provides little coverage of the rapid pace of deforestation. Anecdotal evidence of deforestation in progress from a neighbor: “There were fewer mushrooms this fall than last year. Forests we used to visit are gone.”
Google software to tell effects of deforestation.
Of great interest to me this and like articles like articles. It presents some of my reasons for supporting the cultivation of Johns Grass in Latvia.
Favored serendipitous click or “chronal mirage” on the internet. I was searching for a relationship between the burning of Jersika and heretics in Lanquedoc, France. You must read the text at near the end of the scroll, re image of “The Burning of St. Joan”, Monday, September 03, 2007, to get the point.
My most unappreciated work—so far, re “Tiresias’ Revenge”, my reinterpretation of Sophocles’ “Oedipus Rex”. I believe that Sophocles had to hide the true meaning of his play for political reasons. It is apropos of the political situation in the world today, also in Latvia. The play may be found at blogs 40 through 47. Start from Blog 40.
These blogs tend to be a continuum of an idea or thought, which is why—if you are interested in what you read—you are encouraged to consider reading the previous blog and the blog hereafter.
Partial entries of my blogs may be found at LatviansOnline + Forum Home + Open Forum –ONLATVIANPOPULISM vs LATVIJASLABEJIE. If you copy this blog for your files, or copy to forward, or otherwise mention its content, please credit the author and http://esoschroniclnes.blogspot.com/