I remember vaguely hearing about the big tree many long years ago. when we look at all of the life forms and categorize and organize them, we can see that life basically takes two paths and the two sides continue branching ad infinitum until one side looks like the roots and the other looks like the branches. This big tree helps us to understand that we are much more similar to algae, in fact we are far more like algae than algae is to blue-green algae. I know it sounds unbelievable, but it is true.
Just as there are two basic directions we can proceed along, there are two sides to a coin, two areas within the yin yang symbol and two modes of operation that are reflected in both modern society and ancient cultures. Ancient cultures have learned to secure long term sustainability through an ingenious method. There were provisions made so that the “experts” were not given much autonomy and certainly no better life than the “lesser” members of their number. we have organized ourselves in such a way as to defer to experts on virtually every thing! When you learn to brush your teeth, or to wash your hands, you get taught by people who know how to do it better than you do, this is to be expected. In some respects we learn well enough I suppose, but I was taught that washing one’s hands is more about the friction than the soap and science eventually proved that out. Now-a-days, anyone can claim to know the truth about hand washing or tooth brushing, but the individual knows nearly as much, until they start listening to the experts. I had the good fortune of getting to know a Native American woman who was in training to be a dental hygienist. She was motivated by the desire to bring back to her reservation better smiles through dentistry, so she studied everything that would lead to her desired outcome. She was only an amateur, but that only meant that she loved her discipline and had not turned professional yet. Her study had found that brushing with plenty of clean water alone was as effective at cleaning the teeth as doing so with any dentifrice on the market.What? I’ll say it again, Her study had found that brushing with plenty of clean water alone was as effective at cleaning the teeth as doing so with any dentifrice on the market. Now how many experts will tell you that?
Similarly, when we walk part way down the rosy path, it becomes harder and harder top renegotiate from our new position. The more committed we get to a certain way of thinking, the harder it gets to change course, without a sense of dislocation, stress and trauma. I am not advocating that everyone forsake soap and toothpaste, but I am trying to get you to realize that “experts” rarely know it all, even though they may want to give that impression.
As others have said about the recent economic collapse of the American economy, we cannot know what would have happened if the banks were not bailed out. We are told be experts that things would have been much worse. My theory is that large numbers of pencil pushers would have had to learn how to actually produce goods that were either useful or serviceable. People in suits from around our great nation would have had to actually produce things. Instead, we continue to exploit individuals for the capital that they can produce for people who just make a living from the management of capital. Keep in mind that we all just agree on what a dollar represents. There is absolutely no inherent value in the concept.
When we are at the nexus of the development of a strategy for life, we must develop in one way or the other. On one path, we may eventually amass great wealth at the expense of others, have lots of things and decry the “pull yourself up by the bootstraps” mentality that our culture tells us we must believe. The other path is toward voluntary simplicity, sharing what we have with others, and learning to be satisfied with a different kind of wealth, one of spirit, not things and enjoying the time it takes to touch others deeply and profoundly. Perhaps this is why there can be so great a gulf between those who actually run the planet and those who are “ruled” by their world view.
They are operating on opposite ends of the big tree, those in poverty are the roots, feeding the treetop that feels light years away, but in an actual tree, there is a fair exchange of resources that makes the symbiotic relationship possible. something is given back to the roots, and although they extract nutrients and resources that the foliage need, they are strengthened by the products of the upper most bits, the products of trunk, branch and twig. The big tree of all defunct civilizations looked very much like our own. The centralized power rested in the hands of a precious few who claimed to be “experts”, in fact they were not only schooled in the ways of self-aggrandizement, but in the ways of greed, hate and deception. The tribal cultures that survived knew that everyone was at least as capable as the headman, in many cases more-so. Political figures, diplomats and pushers of pencils have far less life experience on average than the typical unemployed factory worker. Especially when you take into account the fact that many of them never question the experts about anything. I understand that getting to the bottom of things at this point may seem like a daunting task, but for some odd reason, I have always wanted to try.
The first question I ask is where is this person coming from? What are their most basic drives and are they “developing” in a certain direction? Who do they trust? What lies do they rely on? Who do they serve? All of these questions deserve to be answered, but frequently, experts don’t want to talk about any of those issues and indicators that can help explain their positions. instead they point to pieces of paper or degrees “earned” that qualify them to be listened to. They actually believe their own hogwash because they have been listening to themselves for so long.
The real twist here is that both sides in our big tree, are sure that they are being sucked dry by the other part. Many who are actually rootlets think they are the top-most branches, and I dare say that a few of the top-most leaves think they are salt of the earth. However, just as the differentiation of different species has occurred over millenea, so too, the long scope of time has allowed us to segregate ourselves quite completely one from another. That’s how so many experts got power and control over the rest of us. as our ability to get by in the world diminished and we became more reliant on others for our continued survival, we had to count on those “others” watching out for us. what many of us seem to have given up in the bargain was the ability to think and reason for ourselves, yes and in some, even the ability to know how to study. Now is the time to get yourself up if you were mucking around in the dirt, dust yourself off, and strike out in a new direction, one that allows you to think for yourself, reason things out when given good information and commit to building a culture, not just abiding by what our society has deemed reliable because of the opinions given by experts.