Living and Learning

Life is a mystery.

It has no answer.

We are taught there is only one right answer and everything can be solved.

A mystery is never solved. It goes on teaching and healing at every turn of the wheel. This is the nature of the medicine song and story. Dance is a mystery. It nourishes the soul.

We are poorly taught in western educational systems. We are taught little about Nature and even less about Life. We may be able to name every bone and muscle in the body, but we are not taught to value one another. We are taught ‘there is no I in team’, and this is the depth of the wisdom our educational system imparts.

In Arithmetic there is more than one answer according to two digits relationship to one another. Are they to be added together, or multiplied, or divided one by the other and which of these divides the other. So we see there is not one right answer even for two figures.

It was no less a figure than Pythagoras himself who said ‘A figure and three steps, never a figure and three objects’. But objects are all we are left with today in our materialistic interpretation of the Great Wonder of the Universe and the Mystery of Life.

How many? How much? How often? The questions go on demanding to know whether one is getting one’s fair share. Economists have struggled to understand this. Marx attempted to formulate it as ‘according to one’s needs and according to one’s abilities’. But in the words of Rudyard Kipling his words were taken and twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools.

We are not taught to watch a seedling grow and leave it to flower and to fruit. We are not shown its beauty but asked to measure it to see how much it has grown. So all of Life is reduced to quantity while nothing of quality remains for us to nourish our inner selves.

Plants are developed for the hardness of their skins that they may travel well around the world. Not for the flavour or the delicacy of their flesh. All the time driven by this mechanical wheel they call free trade. It is nothing of the sort of course, as forests disappear and with them the butterflies they nurtured and the apes they housed. Even the distant lands, that these plantation islands serve as food stores, feel the consequences as rain becomes erratic as the Earth tries to balance herself, suffering the new conditions greedy humans make their aim.

Richard Saint Barbe-Baker, the Man of the Trees, said that trees are the skin of the Earth and that when one third of the skin of a creature is ripped away Life is no longer sustainable and the creature dies. Yet scientists choose to uphold the idea that Life began on this planet and is unique to this Earth, that it has no origin beyond the mechanical principles employed by industrial agriculture.

For the ancients and for many cultures around the world this is a fallacy. It has no advantage save to enforce economic exploitation of everything around us. Life is a gamble they say. It is not. Life is a solemn series of choices one makes to walk the beauty way, or to sell one’s soul for a pot of message. Or, these days, a potted message.

Don’t worry. You will not be extinguished, despite the western rhetoric regarding death. You will live again, though whether on this planet or another remains a moot point. Whether ever again as a human being is also left unanswered.

Life, in my considered opinion, is a gift to this planet from the Galaxy and far from starting on Earth as the modern myths perpetuate, has visited this planet and may as easily choose again, to leave.

Make sure you are on the winning side. Not the one that appears to hold all the cards.

Author: Keith Armstrong

Dance teacher, writer, film-maker, educationalist, enthusiast.