Teaching Children the (Hard) Way

When water systems are used as reservoirs …

N0000295.RAWRosemund Lake, Flooded

… people move between the trees, and are dwarfed by them.N0000303.RAWHere’s how we teach our children that…

N0000436.RAW

Children’s Playground, Chief Joseph Dam, Washington

The plastic is the way a petroleum culture can talk about natural forces. Here, children get to be the water flowing over the dam (at least in their minds). Then they land on the artificial volcanic cinders (in a  land of volcanic cinders) made out of petroleum-based rubber and bounce. That is what they experience. Children learn this lesson well. When they are adults, they are likely going to have to find a way to undo the damage.Maybe, if they’re lucky, they’ll get in a kayak and pass among the trees and be small…

N0000299.RAW… and suddenly realize that they are approaching something they have no words for, and for which symbolic representations don’t exist. They might choose to keep moving into that realization. I hope so

 

 

Irony in the Garden

Here’s my front yard. Note the flowers I have planted instead of a lawn. It has been a very exciting place lately. Dozens of species of bees and many species of beetles have been working it for weeks. They’ve all come down from the grassland up on the hill. A big neon-green toad has made her home here, and seems to be getting rich on it. Today, though, was special. Check out the pair of American Gold Finches feeding. They were there for an hour.
P1420041Now, here’s the thing: they were eating catnip seeds. Perhaps they were getting a nice buzz from it, I don’t know, but, um, the neighbour’s cats hang around this stuff. I’m not sure how wise all this is. Still, no harm done, and an hour of beauty. No mowing. How many acres of denuded grasslands have I replaced for these birds and insects in 300 square feet? Lots! Here’s the environmentally approved way of reclaiming grassland after invasive road construction. Note the species diversity.

P1420004

People aren’t meant to live alone on the planet. We’d all die of grief.

 

The Thing About Einstein (and Heisenberg)

Yesterday I spoke about the social nature of the scientific systems of both Darwin and Goethe and how their examples gave us the freedom to choose new paths of science to match our contemporary needs for healing a rather broken earth. These two great scientists both lived a long time ago. The nature of structured inquiry into the relationship between humans and the earth didn’t stop with them, no matter how profound their contributions were. So, I think it only fair to dip into newer worlds as well. Today, Einstein (the theory of relativity) and Heisenberg (the uncertainty principle).

Albert_Einstein_Head

Einstein, Who Said “God Doesn’t Play Dice”

The strain of trying to make opposites cohere shows, doesn’t it.

Einstein added the concept of relativity to a system of absolute science, or science that claimed to have found laws that did not change with circumstance. He presented the mathematics that encapsulated the idea that notions of time and space are not absolute but are related to the particular circumstances of an observer (or an observing mode of enquiry). That’s a very jewish observation. It comes from a jewish sense of relational ethics, such as both Abraham and Job, not to mention Abraham’s nearly sacrificed son Isaac, learned to their consternation in the Old Testament.

synagogue erfurt

The Erfurt Synagogue

One of the few ancient houses of jewish worship surviving in Germany — a place in which a man could be both a German and not a German at the same time, and it wouldn’t be clear which was at play at any given time until circumstances unfolded themselves. Would one be a jew? Or would one be a German? Only the observer (or the circumstances) could determine it. 

This observation puts Einstein’s science closer to Goethe’s than to Darwin’s, in that both Goethe and Einstein were concerned about the observer’s impressions, while Darwin was concerned with a system that an observer could deduce and then apply to make sense of the world. The two concepts are mirror images of each other. And that was Einstein’s problem. He tried to merge his conception of relative time and space and Heisenberg’s conception that matter is not in a determined state until it is observed, even if there is no observer but only a collision with concepts of solidity, with a humanly observable physical world. From the distance of 2014, the two concepts appear pretty much the same, but the attempt to bring them together proved really frustrating for Einstein. It’s kind of a problem that Goethe foresaw, though, although rather poetically. (But why not. He was a poet, too.) Here is the natural formation that enchanted Goethe most of all, a gingko leaf:

P1140779_2Goethe’s Gingko in Leaf, Jena, Germany

The plant that has both male and female genders in different individuals, and which puts out single leaves that are made out of two conjoined parts… Goethe drew inspiration from this model. It spoke to him of an elementary nature in the earth: bisexual relationships.

Well, that’s Goethe speaking as a poet, but perhaps, all the romantic glory of finding a mathematical formula to join the two concepts aside, that’s all one needs: a poet’s practicality. For an understanding of the nature of matter on earth, it matters not a whit whether it is reduced to a mathematical formula or apprehended instantly through poetry. What matters is the deepening of the human-earth relationship through intellectual activity, and that can take place in poetry as much as it can in science. Perhaps that’s the next step in the ladder from Goethe to Einstein to Heisenberg to Today: human systems of consciousness that can merge the human with the earth.

gnoes

Not This!

Gnomes in Berlin.

Sometimes these ideas work out in very physical ways. It could be that the evidence of the path that lies open to us is right before us, and to find it all we need to do is read the earth and human social space with the same relativistic tools that Einstein and Heidegger applied to mathematical conceptions. Here, for instance, is the 1960s version of an attempt to reconcile Heisenberg’s science with a practical, industrial worldview from the 1890s, and it is ascendant again:

P1170806 Jerusalem Square, Fulda, Germany

The former synagogue of this ancient pilgrimage city was levelled in the Third Reich, and planted thereafter with flowers, as a space for all people and a kind of permanent grave memorial. It is currently in use by drug dealers, cutting deals on burner cell phones.

Not the way to heal human relationships with the earth! Just around the corner, there is more physical manifestation of these scientific principles, again very much from a previous generation:

P1170808

Former Jewish Businessman’s Town House, Fulda

Offices now, whereas once it spoke of a marriage between the sacred and the profane.

Still not good enough! One way to move forward is to honour the earth by speaking for her. I can easily do the Goethean thing, and bring the next step in this science forward in imagery. This, for example, is the earth speaking.

moth So is this.

P1140982You will notice that she speaks in neither language nor mathematics, yet mathematics and language are the tools that we have, given to us by our ancestors. It has long been considered the role of artists to find new tools. It is the role of scientists as well. I think it would happen very quickly as soon as the skill sets of poetry were brought back into science and a new Enlightenment, a new mode of knowing were created now, rather than out of the material of the 18th century. That would take courage. We have nothing to lose but our selves, and everything to gain, including new selves. If you want a map of current cities (current maps of the human body, in other words), look no further than this:

P1390565

Mariposa Lily, Okanagan Valley (Vernon)

This is urban space. If you don’t see urban space here, look again. And again, until you do.

Currently, human explorations are going towards creating machine selves for humans, rather than addressing human-earth relationships. That is romantic laziness and nothing but Frankensteins will come of it. Let me be clear:

emmendingen Art, Former Fire Alarm (Pigeon), Garbage, Garbage, Recreation

What’s the difference? This urban space in Emmendingen, Germany is a post-biological human. Machine humans are going to be no different.

Granted, something needs to be done.

streetcarStreet Car Lines, Erfurt, Germany

The humans seem so frail in this monstrous human body (city) they have built. Android phone identities for humans are no better. All human creations are projections of social circumstances.

Humans have the ability to humanize nearly anything, but it takes real vision and courage to set that aside and earth-ize humans, to put the earth in our social group, yet that’s exactly what we have to do, and you know what? We’ll make it human, and we will be transformed. What I’m advocating here is hard science and clear, intellectual vision, not romantic nonsense like this:

P1310388

“Castle Kitchen”, Castle Frankenstein, Darmstadt, Germany

Annual home of an American Hallowe’en party. It was reconstructed BADLY in the 19th century. No castle ever looked like this.

We can be human or Frankensteins. If we choose Frankensteins, we won’t be human. And that’s the problem with Einstein. He chose to be human, but by wrestling with non-relative science without the benefit of poetry, he had to continually fight for it by an act of his will alone. It should be easier and more physically gracious than that.

leaves

Gingko Leaves, Vernon

Notice how the divisions Goethe loved have almost healed. 

The Problem With Darwin

Darwin is English. Goethe is German. There have been wars over this. Pity. Let me explain. First, an image of multiplicity from the former East Germany:

P1140782

Goethe’s Botanical Garden in Jena, Germany

Darwin travelled the globe. Goethe, like most Germans, brought the world to himself. That is a profound difference, which led to profoundly different conceptions of science.

Darwin advocated a theory of evolution which has no guiding principle other than expediency and almost accidental incremental change. That’s the world which we all pretty much live in today. It is great science, that has had a powerful effect on the way in which humans in so-called scientific societies see the world. Here’s Darwin as a young man.800px-Charles_Darwin_by_G._Richmond

 Charles Darwin, Looking Dapper

He hadn’t figured out evolution yet.

Goethe advocated a theory of evolution in which the characteristics of a species could be seen in the totality of its variations; it wasn’t a series of evolutionary changes that were being observed but a series of unfoldings out of an original, unified potential. Goethe was after that moment of potential. Here’s Goethe as a young man:

Der_junge_Goethe,_gemalt_von_Angelica_Kauffmann_1787-1

The Young Goethe, Looking Dapper

He hadn’t written Faust yet.

I’m not interested in knocking such a great scientist as Darwin off of his pedestal or in placing such a neglected one as Goethe on one. The point I’d like to make today is that Darwin’s theory of evolution is as English as Goethe’s is German. For theories that purport to represent independent, neutral science and dispassionate observations of the world, that should be a warning bell. Now, when I say that Darwin is English, I don’t mean that he’s like bubble and squeak or bangers and mash. I mean that he carries on the English philosophical tradition, which is born from English history and language. Century after century of invasion has its effect on a language and a culture: first the Britons, then the Romans, then no Romans, then the Anglo Saxons, then the Norse, then the Anglo Saxons, then the Newer Norse, then the Anglo-Normans, and at the end of it all the British had learned a couple things:

1. Change and adapt, because you’re going to be raped or murdered anyway.

2. Fight by any means possible, usually by manipulating the gap between two sets of conceptions. For example, here are the ruins of Castell-y-Bere in Wales. The English knocked it to bits in 1283.castelHere’s the main Welsh defense machinery for the castle.

dragon

The Castell-y-Bere Dragon

This defensive position was chosen at the confluence of two valleys, because of this magical talisman, the Welsh dragon itself. No English invaders could touch the place, with powerful magic like this at its heart, right?

Wrong. The English crept up a natural cleft in the rock outside the lower wall of the castle, and when they were unstoppably close just jumped over the low wall there and the show was over. That’s very English. One takes advantage of weaknesses and supposed strengths by being somewhere else. Usually, this means ignoring magic or accepted decorum. To such an imagination, nothing is sacred; flow is everything. It’s the principle by which one puts spin, or “English”, on a ball, or by which a language can be used to mean anything, depending on circumstances, and depending on whether one draws from its Anglo Saxon, Old Norse, Norwegian, or Anglo-Norman vocabularies. They have little in common. It’s the totality, a parliament of languages, that is English. More specifically, it is the form of argument that switches from one to the other when necessary or expedient, and remains aloof from them all, that is truly English. And truly Darwinian.

beer

Will Mow Lawn 4 Beer

A British Columbian demonstrates his English heritage. Note that this mower has not moved in 3 years.

Unlike the English, however, the Germans were never a people, at least not before the figure of Goethe was seized upon to try to make them into one. They were scattered around a couple thousand principalities, all with allegiance to not Germany but the Holy Roman Empire. To say one was “German” was nearly meaningless. Germany was the Church. Its rulers were a mix of all the royal houses of Europe, and it mattered not a whit what language one spoke at home. Whereas the English maintained stability by adapting to invasion and learning the language of the invader so well that they became the invader, without dropping their previous languages, the Germans remained an ethnic curiosity within a stable, non-ethnic system that lasted for a thousand years. But then, they converted to Christianity en masse. They saw no break between it and their pre-Christian beliefs.

German_painting_poet_Johann_Wolfgang_von_Goethe

Goethe as an Early Middle-Aged Traveller in Italy

To learn the world, the English conquered it and then took on its forms, for the sake of expedience. The Germans remade themselves as the world, because it just wasn’t that important. They trusted in their ability to absorb whatever came their way. To them, eternity, however, was important, especially as it manifested itself in the present and in human body and presence. As the experience of the Welsh at Castell-y-Bere showed, the English, the true intellectuals in this tale, slaughtered that dragon long before.

And so, out of these two great scientific figures we got two conceptions of science, one based on filling ecological niches by a random sense of progress and opportunity, and one filling them by an ordered sense of growth out of the infinite potential of a first principle or a presence. The former, Darwin’s, is the bulk of contemporary science. The latter gave us the science of phenomena and the philosophies of Nietzsche and Heidegger. Darwin’s version has given us English democracy, with its trust in the wisdom of random process. Goethe’s version gave us German democracy, with its trust in the wisdom of common foundations and carefully guided responses. I’m not saying one is better than the other. I’m only pointing out how different they are, and how they are rooted in the experiences of two different peoples. I do have a secondary point, though, which is that this English system has given us Canadian land use policy that accords wilderness status to the Earth (even though the earth which English settlers “discovered” was very much a controlled, social space, in a fashion closer to that of the Germans than anything), and the trust that no matter what random process works its way through a society built around furthering individual desire and randomness the energy of wildness within the earth will continue to thrive and provide energy for society and individuals. The contemporary result looks like this:

cheat

Invasive Cheat Grass Hell

There should be 100 species in this grassland, not one that is destructive of water flows and is turning bountiful landscapes into near deserts.

It also looks like this:

dish

Canadian Vineyard Farmyard, Vernon, British Columbia

Note the Hell of Cheatgrass in the Foreground. This is the way you colonize Mars or the Moon. It is not the way you live on the earth and from it. It is the expression of a very specific form of individuality.

According to the principles of random evolution, the kind of desertification and squandering of the socially-given right to own land demonstrated in the image above is a natural consequence of growth and progress, as well as part of the natural change of the world. Two hundred years ago, Goethe showed us that it does not have to be this way. The point is not whether Goethe or Darwin were right. The point is that they were both right and that neither are neutral sciences. They are social constructs, which have a history and a projected path into the future, which we have the ability to change for the better (as with all social constructs), and, boy, do we ever need to, fast. In Darwinian science, the images below show three species filling the same ecological niche…

vww P1410138 P1410139

Beautiful, isn’t it! In Goethean science, on the other hand, they show one energy manifesting itself in multiplicity. Also beautiful. Personally, because of an imbalance of random human pressure on the earth despite the impoverishment resulting from it I think that right now we need a bit less English individualism and a bit more of Goethean multiplicity. For the love of the Earth.

 

Newton, Goethe, Light and the Future

I will now try to do what even the Goethe Museum in Weimar fails at splendidly, despite putting on a big show and charging something like 10 Euros to see it, which is like a zillion Canadian dollars. I will try to explain what Goethe meant about light in his “Lecture on Colour”, which he wrote to dispel Newtonian science once and for all, but didn’t. Just to whet your appetite for a visit to Weimar, try this on for size:

goethe-color-diagrams-01Goethe Explains His Theory of Colour With Pretty Pictures

Great minds have been broken by this for 200 years. Three German states have been built on this principle, which might have been a mistake. One in between was built to torture it until its spiritual death. A nasty business, that. Definitely a mistake.

OK, so we’ve got that out of the way. I think we can explain this more simply and hopefully, if I have a bit of luck and you have even more, I can help you see you why Goethe’s science, much maligned by Newtonian scientists worldwide, has much to give us as we work towards an earth-friendly science for the future. Here’s the foundation of Newton’s science of light:

Newton’s Rainbow

The starling is just added value. You’re welcome.

In Newton’s science, the white light that streams from the sun is actually an amalgam of seven colours, which are released from solution, so to speak, when they pass through a prism. It’s excellent science. Here’s Goethe’s science:

P1410398Male Staghorn Sumacs After Flowering

Notice the complicated interweaving of darkness and light. NO prisms. NO rainbow. In its place are moods of colour, representing moods of observation.

Confused by the ‘mood’ thing? Don’t worry! We’re used to reading words like that in regards to those particular explorers of light, artists, but not in terms of those others, their twins, scientists. Fortunately, we can set it aside for the moment and remember one simple thing: Goethe wanted us to consider white light in its entirety, as it is received by humans. He wanted to build a science out of that measurement device: not prisms but humans.

IMG_1009

Scientific Measurement Devices at Play (Well Daring Each Other, Anyway)

Unfortunately, the romantics got ahold of the technology and messed with it big time. The result is teenagers. I’m not kidding, by the way. Photo: Anassa Rhenisch

Goethe also wanted us to consider that darkness is a component of seeing, too, for humans, and that colour, as perceived by humans, occurs at the intersection of darkness and light. He got a little tangled up in theories and diagrams here, many of which have been disproven (this is a blessing, really), but the fundamental observation is sound: a science can be built out of human presence and its interaction with the world, in and of itself. That’s what I tried to show you yesterday, with images like this:

butter3 Orange Mood

… and this …

clematis

Purple Mood

Oh, what’s that?

Reader: Mood, mood, mood, you’re mad. What’s this mood? That’s a butterfly on mustard and a clematis on your backyard fence, you nut.

Harold: Only if you use the romantic version of your operating system. (I wasn’t kidding. The romantics really did start playing around with this individual consciousness thing. It was awfully fun for them. We are their heirs.)

Reader: My operating what? !!!$%%%**&(&*!!!$^%^!@@$***!##!!!!!

Ah, yes. Well. Ahem. Hmmm. The measurement device Goethe had in mind is the individual consciousness, which was created by his friend, the philosopher Gottlieb Fichte in 1793, as a reference point on which a science could be built. Without a reference point, all things would be relative to all things and nothing could be measured, at least in Newtonian terms. Goethe wanted to use this measurement device, individual consciousness, to measure unity instead— exactly that thing which Newtonian scientists wanted a reference point (individual consciousness) to dispel! You can probably tell that Goethe hated Newton. The details of their spat are unimportant. The important issue is that Newtonian scientists wanted to use this Fichtian consciousness to create devices that could break apart unity, then to measure the effects of that breakage, and then to assemble them again into a logical system, all from a distance.

Fichte

Fichte Taught at a University

His consciousness trick has all the signs of it, doesn’t it!

Goethe thought that this was not only ridiculous but also extremely dangerous. He did not believe there should be any distance whatsoever, that if there was to be a logical system it must operate from within the unified world, which means it must perceive white light, must perceive it with rigour, and must build logic up without first breaking the unity of the world. The important thing here is Goethe’s observation that the system one chooses determines the world we get. By choosing Newtonian science without any exploration of the Goethian system, the Western World has broken the planet and continues to train its young in distancing themselves from their bodies, their planet, and the reality of their perceptions. Goethe had a lot more in mind, oodles of spiritual stuff, but that’s a story for another day. For now, I offer you a self portrait of a human moment. You may know it by different words:

P1390603 Harold Above Kalamalka Lake

By adding a second self portrait, something happens to the first …

chicory2Harold Rooting Around on the Surface of the Sun

Of course, this is the stuff we know of today as poetry. And it is. But it is also the foundation of an unexplored science…. hmmm, tomorrow I will talk about multiplicity… maybe that’ll help!

Two Different Methods of Science

Yesterday, I pointed out parts of the scientific colour theory of the poet, statesman and early scientist Goethe. That theory is based on the belief that a science built from a foundation of wholeness will deliver far different (and in Goethe’s mind preferable) results from one built on breaking wholeness into its component parts, measuring the behaviour of those parts, and reassembling them again through logic. The latter is the kind of science we have. Goethe’s science became the kind of art we have, at least in the intellectual European tradition. The distinction, however, is largely cultural. It is entirely possible to have a science built on Goethe’s principles, which are based on measuring the wholeness of light (its white appearance to the human eye) rather than its spectrum after it has passed through a prism. To Goethe, the latter only measured the kind of light that had passed through a spectrum. To Newton, it was the foundation of an entire technical form of science. Goethe preferred measuring light with the human eye, and recording the effects it had on human measuring devices, rather than the effects that technical devices had on it. Following Newton’s kind of science, we could examine the ant lion trap below by measuring the dryness of the sand, the particular size of its grains, the exposure of the slope its on, the degree of shade offered by the Douglas fir tree above, the particular species of ants being hunted with this trap, and so on, in comparison with other locations in which ant lions are found, to derive a set of principles about the behaviour of ant lions, which could be expanded into a set of principles about desert adaptation, or hunting behaviour, and so on. Fair enough. That is certainly a scientific approach. Following Goethe’s method, we could also, however, measure the totality of this scene, the human response to it, and (among many other non-quantifiable qualities) its predominant greyness…P1390816… and even, perhaps, compare it to the greyness (and brown balance) in this image:

grasshopper

… and in this one …

P1390621

… and this one …

P1390627

… and this one …

P1390633

These areas are all sharing a band of light energy in one landscape, to varying degrees, and mixed with other spectraI (again, to varying degrees), as observed by a human. Let it be noted that on the day most of these images were made (the grasshopper was found 2 days later, on a different slope of the same old seabed, but one ground up and mixed with young glacial clay to form a roadbed) one measuring device (me) found these grey images especially worthy of note. Together they speak of something no science has yet put terms to, because no science has built those terms. Goethe asked us to. Certainly, narratives of life on earth, narratives useful for organizing society and human relationships with other humans and with the earth, are capable of being built out of such attention. Take the grey values in the image below, for instance…

P1360090

This is a wire crib, which holds soil, so that grass will build a stable slope and allow more housing lots above, with greater views over the lake below. Unlike the greys in the previous images, however, these are new greys, not ancient ones, and they are built, largely, out of zinc-coated wire and dead algae — a sea plant, that is growing here in the desert. That observation, derived from an attention to colour, and the kind of understanding of what this intervention into the life of the grassland slope is doing (returning it to ocean conditions, just like the conditions of the old seabeds protruding through other parts of the slope), has the ability to profoundly alter future interventions in the grassland slopes. This kind of observation is also called inspiration or a creative hypothesis in Newton’s form of science. In Goethe’s form of science, there is no inspiration and no bolts from the blue. There is, instead, a continuum, of which humans are a part. It is worth noting that after three centuries of Newtonian science, societal understandings of the earth, and many of the earth’s simplified processes (oceans stripped of fish, the great plains of North America reduced to millions of acres of one single species, where there were once hundreds, and now relying totally on petrochemical supports, and so on) are reactions to Newtonian science. If Goethe were alive today, he would point out that the outcomes of sciences are predicted by its methods; if we want different outcomes, we need to choose a different method. We don’t know what that is, because we haven’t explored that path, but one possibility is illustrated by the following images. First, three beautiful moth-like insects (perhaps they are moths) fertilizing a Canada Thistle, as taken through the lens of a Newtonian device (a Panasonic digital camera) …

can thistle

Have Fun Finding Those Insects Now!

Hint: 1 is out of focus and looking rather yellow.

And here is the same thistle, with a different focal length…

P1410246

 

Blurry Thistles!

Useless in terms of Newtonian measurement, but very interesting indeed in terms of human measurement of context within wholeness.

Since Goethe isn’t here to make his point, I would like to make it in his stead. We have the capacity to renew ourselves. To do that, the first step is to revise our methods. We might find that the way forward is not through art but through the multiplicity of methods which art still champions, to the chagrin of the deconstructionist theorists who would like it to choose one Newtonian method forever. The human drive for multiplicity makes any ultimate success of deconstructionist theory highly unlikely. I will go one step further: continued development of society on lines leading away from multiplicity will lead to increased diminishment of the earth. To chose that is highly unethical.

 

 

Reading the Colour of the Dry Season

In the northern fringe of the Intermontane Grassland of the West, the grass mingles with water and trees.

P1390856Oregon Grape, Kalamalka Lake

Here’s another view:

P1390859The earth generates colour here on contact with light from the sun. What it adds are profound differences of soil and water — light-fixing mediums. Just a few feet from the above image, the constellation of water, soil, and light, creates a different energy entirely…

P1390860The poet Goethe taught us how to read these changes of energy as changes in mood: the mood of us, the viewer, the mood of the light, that comes from the sun, and the mood of the land. That is a profound gift from the past. But it’s not really from the past, is it. As the image below shows (a hundred metres from the three images above), it is a gift from the present.

P1390844

 

Young Ponderosa Pine, Kalamalka Lake

The human eye is a better recording device for the moods of light than a Panasonic Lumix. Notice how the camera has burnt out the light caught in the hollows and dried out chloroplasts of the grasses. The eye would have just seen light. Still, the photograph serves as a hint of what can be seen with the proper gear. The light of the day has the capacity for an infinite number of moods in very close proximity. Here’s a juniper on a cliff just above the previous image and 30 metres to the east.

P1390813 Note that the reds in the grasses are invasive cheatgrass. The hot mood they set (and the drought they bring to the grasslands) are the signature of European settlement in most of North America. The sun records this mood precisely. These moods are not for human entertainment. They are the life within a place. Perhaps the following image shows that clearly.

oneball Brown-Eyed Susan, Waiting for the Wind

This structure at the heart of the flower, is the mature form of the flower. Once sufficiently dried out by the maturing season, it will break apart in the wind (the effect can be hastened by being brushed by a passing deer). The mood of the season and the flower are one.

For humans, all this stuff is beautiful. Beauty is the word that describes the ability to read the landscape and to be at one with its moods. It’s not a word that describes a human faculty, but the one in which a human characteristic is one with the world around it, in accordance with the experience and training of that particular human, his or her refinement, so to speak, as a recording apparatus, that uses this information to spring to action.

sageballSagebrush Grove

To say that the colour of leaves is green is to represent late 19th century German industrial culture and the early 21st century advertising culture built upon it. If you wish to be a free human living on and with the earth, you have to throw away that industrial tool, because, as you can see above, it does not fit. Goethe went further, arguing that all of these colours, and the moods that go with them, are edge effects at the intersections of darkness and light. This is an edge effect …

buck This is an edge effect …

waspkiller Wasp Killer on an Arrow-Leafed Balsam Root

This is an edge effect …

ANT Ants Farming Aphids on Sagebrush

This is an edge effect …

BADGER2Badger Burrow

Yes, the badger is home. Note that the green plants here are invasive species, and are another signature of the 19th century European conquest (so too is the reddish cheatgrass covering most of the scene.)

If humans look at the earth, they see themselves, but not as they imagine themselves. The land can be read, instead of merely passing. Nearly 200 years ago, Goethe pointed out that humans could develop a science that did not break but extended a unity of spirit, humanism, and earth. It’s around us, every minute of every day, just as it was in his time. Forget his complicated explanation. Just look at the world. Note the different moods between this image…

P1390843 Wildflowers, Kalamalka Lake

… and this one made about a second later…

P1390841 … and this one, a second later again…

P1390840Of course, a human viewer (That was me.) sees more than the camera has captured here, as the human view is not framed and cut out from the living flow of light. Landscape painters once knew how to record such effects. By bringing them into social conversation, they added to social conversation and the refinement of the human ability to see. Against that, the technology of the people who could not see in this way, the machine-guns of the Great War of 1914, managed to obliterate the pursuit. That was a hundred years ago. It’s time, I think, to put that great crime to rest. Look at the energy just streaming from the scene below.

spiderCrushed Roadbed Absorbing Little of The Sun But Reflecting Most of it to the Stars

And a spider harnessing that energy and turning it into movement.

It is time to learn from spiders. Anything else increases human and earthly poverty. Our fates are one. Just look.

P1360951See?

 

 

 

Curious Grassland Insects

Little guy.

bug

 

Big guy.

big

Don’t be fooled. These critters get close to 5 centimetres long. They are extremely curious, and when spooked will immediately return to keep their two big eyes on you, and they don’t spook the second time. Whatever they are, they love to hang out in the grass, where the sun is hot enough to turn the earth to dust, and if there’s a human around, zoom, they’re there to check it out. It’s nice being checked out and being put in my place.

Dressing Up for Work

First the workplace, nothing but the best …

P1390569Mariposa Lily

… and then the worker.

P1390554

 

Just because a flower is a worksite, doesn’t mean you have to dress down.

bee

Beautiful Furry Bee

(Note the excellent command of Latin.)

This bee was shy, and hovering down low, because, well…

P1390534

 

Sweat Bee at Work

… one has to wait one’s turn (Each turn lasts about 5 minutes.) Whew!