NON-STRIVING

Source: Non-Striving

My legacy —
What will it be?
Flowers in spring,
The cuckoo in summer,
And the crimson maples
Of autumn.
—Ryokan

Humans have a strange disposition in the community of life; they imagine that work is necessary to survive, that life must be manufactured, created, quite literally made up. Strife of all kind is the cost of maintaining stability in a human-created environment. Even at the dawn of the agricultural revolution we can see this struggle in full sway: a fundamental shift occurred in which food had to be forced from the ground, it had to be worked for, instead of it arising freely of its own accord. A fundamental faith in the giving power of the earth and our place within its womb turned to alienation, and a war of all against all. Here I scorn Hobbes as much as Darwin.

The mentality (or should I say anxiety) of the need to struggle for survival has driven human “progress” into our current stage, in which nothing might exist of-itself; all things must be coerced, manipulated, and conditioned by the labor of humans in order to manifest. It just seems to get more and more violent, from petro-crops to cluster bombs to mothers killing their infants…

The mentality of obligation, of making something happen, pervades even the most intimate, sacred spheres of life. Life-long lovers must be shackled by marriage instead of guided by the heart; priests and healers must be certified instead of arising organically; one must work and pay for even food and shelter, which you used to just grab! Likewise, in the non-human realm, water must be collected in mostly artificial reservoirs and distributed through grids of pipes instead of it flowing in its natural streams; lawns must be limited to squares of pure grass at a uniform length (uniform being an instructive word here); the universe had to be created in order to come into being.

Strife is built into the maintenance of our modern lives, living as we do in a totally human-constructed environment, as surely as the undertaker always has a new coffin to build, as soon as the graveyard has been organized.

Woe be to those who believe in letting go of striving, in kicking their feet back upon rickety wooden beams, and the stars; in resting their heads on the good ol’ god-given dirt, and the sun; in returning all that which has been taken from the earth by force (the whole modern landscape) back to ease, back to the whims of the winds, the weeds, the rain… back to the creeping vines, the penetrating roots, the sky and seasons…

~

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