" If you will stay close to nature, to its simplicity, to the small things hardly noticeable, those things can unexpectedly become great and immeasurable." Rilke
The gathering storm
"The Sung masters were pre-eminently landscape painters, creators of a tradition of 'nature painting' which . . . shows us the life of nature . . . The Western eye is immediately struck by the absence of symmetry in these paintings, by the consistent avoidance of regular and geometrical shapes . . . Western science has made nature intelligible in terms of its symmetries and regularities . . . As a result we tend to see nature and to deal with it as an 'order' . . . But this order is maya, and the 'true suchness' of things has nothing in common with the purely conceptual aridities of perfect squares, circles, or triangles--except by spontaneous accident." Alan Watts
I just read this and for us philosophical types it's too delightful not to send on:
Eliot Weinberger: "Confucianism taught that when the government is bad, one should head for the hills. (Taoism taught that, regardless of government, one should head for the hills.)" I like that little joke about Taoism, but the whole thing seems particularly relevant for right now . . .
The quotation yesterday is from Mary Oliver and the one below comes from Thomas Berry:
"It is truly astonishing that we have such insight into the functioning of the universe, that we know Earth and its bio systems and the mysteries of genetic coding, that we can manipulate Earth and biological organisms so extensively, that we can deal with electronics and micro-engineering at the atomic level . . . Yet in all of this there is something that eludes us. There is something completely out of proportion, since our knowledge has not led to an expansion of our emotional feeling, our aesthetic appreciation, or our sense of the sacred. Nor has it increased our wonder." He gave an example of what he meant here: He was at a conference, where behind "the speakers' podium was an enlarged reproduction of the photograph of the planet Earth as seen from space--a blue-and-white globe majestically sailing through the dark . . . (a member) of the symposium remarked to me with a certain concern that this was not the planet Earth in any meaningful way . . . it occurred to me that it was the very physical splendor of the Earth as presented that he somehow found inadequate. It did not present the soul of the planet. It did not show the grasses, flowers, or meadows of the planet; it showed no deserts, rainforests, rivers, lakes, or vegetation. There were no trees, no soaring birds or butterflies, and no animals moving about on the plains or through the woodlands. Instead it was a colorful marble hung in the sky . . ."
In other words, the meaning of the Earth--our actual lived experience of it, day by day by night, was lacking.
" How wonderful that the universe is beautiful in so many places and in so many ways . . . its intonations are our best tonics, if we would take them. For the universe is full of radiant suggestion. . . . Over and over in the butterfly we see the idea of transcendence. In the forest we see not the inert but the aspiring. In water that departs forever and forever returns, we experience eternity."
And, heaven knows, many of us need a good tonic this morning . . .
"(T)he wonder and beauty of the natural world is the only way in which we can save ourselves . . . we are losing our world of meaning through our destruction of the natural world . . . The more we are absorbed into our own selves, the less competent we become in our patterns of communication with the outer world. So too the more shriveled we are in our inner world." Thomas Berry
I think of this when I watch people with their faces buried in their cell phones or pads, unaware of the world (or even that there is a world) around them. And the future will be worse as "virtual reality"--really think of what that means in terms of contact with Reality--becomes more prevalent.