Sunday, July 27, 2008

Still evolving...

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“To suppose that the eye with all its inimitable contrivances for adjusting the focus to different distances, for admitting different amounts of light, and for the correction of spherical and chromatic aberration, could have been formed by natural selections, seems, I confess, absurd in the highest degree.”

~ Charles Darwin
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As a person who has spent countless hours observing nature, life as it flows second by second, hour by hour, day by day... lifetime by lifetime... I have been blessed to witness beauty immaculate, glorifying wonder that creates awe in me of how majestic this place is. Even when caught in raging storm or frigid, killing cold, rolling and quaking earth, or in the drought of years of blazing sun with no significant rainfall to quench the living that are so dependent on that most basic element of water, even then, in those most extreme moments of nature's sometimes raucous forces I recognize creation's beauty. And perhaps moreso than at any other time it is at those instances I understand how tentative the hold any individual has on life.

But it is the surviving of those moments, the understanding of the significance of the means and methods of that survival that best defines the evolution of life. Adaptation is mandatory. And a lesson learned is etched not in just our minds but is encoded into those most basic particles that make up our beings, becoming not just part of our DNA but integral to that ancestral memory underlying all of our development as individuals and as a specie. We adapt or die.

Humans are an incredibly brilliant life form capable of accomplishments nearly as wondrous as the workings of nature itself. But...

...we are also incredibly (and sometimes fatally) stupid. We are prideful and boastful at times when humility would best serve us and we are greedy and malevolent when need dictates we share and display compassion and kindness, one to another. We hate when we desperately need to love.

How dare we -- when millions die from the lack of receiving the most basic needs of food and water -- waste resources on researching and building more devious and deadly weapons of death? How dare we ignore the wails of starving babes? How dare we ignore the cries of the victims of violence perpetrated by those wielding weapons of destruction, be they mass killing machines or "mere" guns and machetes? Whose wealth is squandered in such hateful enterprise? And governments that sponsor such acts, that create those wailing and crying voices need be condemned and torn down. Entropy ensures that such governments will not last, but that is of little assurance to those whose lives are tormented ech and every day by such faulty human constructions.

And I'm not preaching here... I'm not trying to push any one's guilt buttons... but I am saying we as individuals and as families and communities... we cannot afford to tolerate such human failures. It is in that sense that we truly are a global community. Yes, we differ in our cultures from valley to valley, region to region, continent to continent... but we are essentially as alike as peas in a pod. We all have a birthing, we all will die, we all have family, we all need to eat and drink, all of our days are 24 hour cycles, our years all are one cycle of the earth's revolution around the sun...

We have made fantastic leaps in technology, our world has been transformed. But we have gotten lazy. We bask in our magnificence and fail to recognize our barbarity. Our religions? They fail us. If the major organized religions had any significant relationship to their message a day would not pass without a chorus of their voices raised as one booming exclamation of outrage aimed at the violence and neglect occurring each and every day and proclaiming their demand for peace.

Every civilization that has risen, has fallen. It is not our place to wait for that inevitability. It behooves us at the most elemental levels of our lives to work to change this world gone awry. In my mind there is no doubt that we are at a fulcrum point where what we do in the near and immediate future will tip us one way or another.

We need to evolve. I do not believe that a crash-and-burn failure for humanity is inevitable. I know there is a chance we will change in a way that is fundamental and beneficial. But I also know that there is a real collective spiritual epiphany we all need to experience together and simultaneously-- as a specie -- for things to change.

There is a most basic truth in which I put a great deal of faith. That truth is that each human being is equal to the other. I believe that as beings in an infinite creation we are insignificant yet each one of us is endowed with the most basic right of a sovereign being, the freedom to live, think and act as we so wish.

I also believe that that most basic right not only overrides any other but that it carries massive -- perhaps even the ultimate -- responsibility. That to live free and sovereign requires of us recognizing that same right for the next human and the next and the next... and taking the ultimate responsibility of sovereignty... living life with respect for all life... is the only way that works.

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Of course my life is not as heavy as the words above. I'm a single dad with kids to raise, a job to go to, a home to maintain. My life is really pretty mundane with most of my time spent meeting basic needs. But occasionally I have to make time to just go watch. And luckily I have my camera. An hour or two exploring this area around the farm with camera in hand is my great escape, a time when I get to think of nothing other than what is immediately around me.

So, photographically, here are images from two hours spent the other day of just wandering around the fields here at home:

















It is also Sunday... homecooked breakfast. The blackberries are just ripening and I think today is blackberry pancake day.The first flush of ripe berries are always the best of the season. It helps too that blackberries love Oregon, because I swear they would take over the state if left on their own. Eating them is my way of keeping them in check...

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“The tide of evolution carries everything before it, thoughts no less than bodies, and persons no less than nations”

~ George Santayana

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