Here’s a thought! Power has made it possible to sail against the wind: man no longer respects the tide or the changing currents and thus doesn’t hesitate to zip past in his motors. Gone are that days of hope, surrender, tranquility and the peace of contentment. Constant is the plague of MORE! And BETTER! That drive us past appreciating what in essence are gifts.
My thoughts drift back to a Novel I read over the last academic year (Seasons of Migration to the North by Tayeb Saleh) where the principle character after understanding the essence of a contented life, sums it up by referring to an elderly man who was never overtaken by ambition, but rather grew old in the same surroundings that his forefathers inhabited, becoming as much a part of it as the tree that stood in his garden.
With the reality of modernity as it is, such migratory silence is considered almost primitive. We live out the phrase “the world is your oyster” (especially true in the case of Londoners). More people cross the oceans daily than did over whole centuries in the recent past, and almost everyone I know has taken a flight. Distance, the space between our feet and our desires, is no longer insurmountable. What’s left is a very fast paced hyphen between birth and death.
So here we stand:
Power denotes an advantage, advantage – a gain, a gain – a loss (energy is neither created no destroyed but merely transfered from one form to another), loss – a looser. To sail against the wind is to stand against nature itself. We have broken Her (natures) borders at our own cost: flying over and motoring through her spaces to conquer time, the one true gift we have. In the rush we’ve ignored the beggar in the underpass at baker street station, walked past the homeless man desperate to sell copies of The Big Issue, changed the channel when the Oxfam add came on, and on hearing things such as Third World Debt, turned off the Television – tomorrow is a few hours away and we have to work (until we drop apparently) to eat.
What if power really isn’t where it’s at? If the BP spill has anything worth saying it is this: this isn’t it! What we stand to loose as a consequence of our inconsolable ambitions and the subsequent plundering of nature, as well as each other, is the irreplaceable space for humanity to flourish.
The sky scrapers and paved streets, Cathedrals, Mosques, and temples beautiful as they are, are stone altars, built by us to hide the depravity that takes place underneath the fascinating canopy of of streetlights, in the darkness that lurks within our hearts. They conceal the despair of routine, the fear we harbor for change, and like anchors to the past, keep us lodged in the struggle to outwit the winds.
Do not let ambition stop you hearing the whispers in the breeze, or pride will float you past your heart!