I haven’t been able to travel, or live in my house these past years, but I’ve been keeping up the larger project, the search for how to live in the world
When I built my house, my main object was to see what really was needed from a house. What I needed. We’ve gotten so used to the smaller and larger infrastructures surrounding us that we’ve lost sight of where we are. What I found was that the house can be quite small and simple, but you still need a large, and living, territory for food, movement, company, and water.
I have written before about how travel is a dance with the land, but you can’t dance with someone who is bound and broken, unable to breathe, held down by highways and poisoned by factory fumes or chopped to bits by wind turbines.
In these past few years I have been living in Valdres in my country of birth, Norway. It’s still a place that holds a lot of beauty and a lot of spirit, but they are both under constant threat from humans.
I’ve been meaning to post about all the strange things here, as well as our exploration of the area and the surrounding nature, but I’ve been too focused on trying to immerse myself that I haven’t had time to neither digest the impressions properly or think about how to communicate them. The old myths are more alive here than in many places in Norway, and I’m convinced it has to do with the fairly alive nature.
So I thought I would tell you a bit about the things living here, about trying to connect to the spirit of a place, about living animism and practical magic. I’ll try posting once a week, so check in to see what’s going on in the halls of the mountain king
Would you like to get better acquainted with Hel, Fenrir, Jormundgand and Loki?
I’m taking a new course. That is, I’m hosting a new course. As I’ve spent the last year or so in closer contact with some old friends and connecting to old land, I’ve decided to put together a comprehensive course for others who might want to discover something new about the world and possibly themselves.
Next full moon, April 27, is the first course start for Healing with monsters, where we will discover some central jotuns from norse mythology via myth, meditations, magic, and medicine. Registration starts now at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Name : Healing with monsters
What now? Monster, from latin monstrum, meaning divine omen.
We’re going to get better aquainted with some central jotuns in norse mythology, namely Fenrir, Hel, Jormundgand and Loki.
The jotun can be seen as representatives of the forces of nature, but for several centuries both they and nature have been interpreted as enemies to humanity, and something to be banished and contained.
We will be rediscovering the sanctity of nature, and these jotuns as representatives of greater cyclic systems of the world and the individual body. We will be learning myth, meditations, spells and basic self care based on a holistic approach.
Cost: 45 euro
Duration: 30 days. Recommended time spent will vary between 5 min to 30 min a day, with a 10 min average. Links for suggested studies will be provided.
Practicalities: The course material will be posted online. You get a text for each day, and the option of one 30 min or two 15 min. personal online counseling at a chosen time during the course. I will be setting up suggested timeslots via a calendar posted to the group, or it can be sent via email.
I will be hosting a server on discord for links, group discussion and the included video chat. If you don’t have or don’t wish to set up a discord account, links can be sent via email, and online counseling can be done via zoom or google.
Now that spring is here I have begun preparations to move along to the mountain regions. There’s still too much snow to bring my house for probably a few months, but there is quite a bit of work to do with the land and the buildings that are already at the place I’ll be staying, probably for a goodish while.
This means that a lot of plans are put on hold. This again makes it tempting to place a lot of hopes and dreams and expectations on how great it will be when things finally comes together. Which brings us to the third and for now last part of our tiny course. To always make the most of the current situation, and don’t place your happiness in the hands of a fantasy of the future.
When the road is your goal, there is no great reward at the end of the journey. To fully travel, you need to be fully where you are at all times, and this means taking care of the body in the here and now.
in stories, protagonists usually go through a bunch of troubles, forsaking momentary pleasures for a grand reward at the end of the journey. This makes for a great narrative, but a stressful life.
Holding out and not giving up might be necessary now and then, but as a general rule, it’s always easier to attend to a minor unpleasantness before it turns into a great problem. Don’t wait until you are exhausted to rest, rest when you can, eat when you can, drink when you can, and keep your feet as warm and dry as possible.
These are the little things that will keep you going in the long run, when the road has no end,
Holding on for an expected reward can also create false or exaggerated hopes, which will be impossible to ever be fulfilled and lead to disappointment and dissatisfaction.
While making your body happier, this also sets the mind into a state of continuous motion, rather than a fixed mindset with a still-life goal. It is this motion that is some of the point of a nomadic life style, and why the common ballad of the weary traveler is mostly a cautionary tale. It’s not like we never rest or never can find peace, or are all always looking for new things, it’s that we seek a communication with a constantly changing world, externalizing rather than internalizing and fixing reality. Be it changing seasons, climate, or circumstances, the goal is to keep the dialog with these things going, and that is the true journey.
The next step, after losing yourself in finding the land and the road, is finding out where you are. Not in terms of how the space is defined, like a gas station, a shopping mall, or a park, but what the land is. Is it a swamp? A mountain? A wide plain or a riverbed? Is the soil deep and moist or is it dry and hard? Even in places that look wild, in the sense that they have no houses on them, they have often been modified by human intervention. Mostly by agriculture or by nearby buildings or roads.
This is an exercise mostly for the placed that have been built on or altered, which are most places right now, so they should be easy to find. You don’t even need to get lost for this, it can be done anywhere, including inside your current house, but it’s easier to look properly at a place you haven’t been before.
The true land is today made invisible most places by the illusion of civilization. Therefore, in order to find out where you are, and what path to take next, you need to look beyond what you’re accustomed to look at. If you have managed to get yourself out into wild nature, congratulations, you have found a rare treasure. Here, it will be much easier to see what the land is. The easiest thing to do then, is to look for water. Water is not only your first need for survival, but it leads the way. Even under ground will it form a path between places. But since I’m not a huge expert and this is only a short blogpost, and not a long course, we can start with just looking for any river or open body of water on the surface. If you follow a river, you will end up somewhere. This sounds obvious, but it’s easy to walk in circles, yet water never does on the surface. But this is not a wilderness survival guide (yet), and most of us will not find ourselves lost in wild nature (ever), but in some kind of meddled landscape. And this is a post to help you find out where you really are. It’s pretty easy really:
Look for what’s out of place.
The things that seem out of place, are the things that are really there, all else are temporary distractions. This can be a bug, and in knowing a bit about bugs, you can get an idea of what kind of biotope you’re in. It can be moss growing on concrete, or a dandelion, or other plants that are regarded as weeds and nuisances. Mostly, these are the things regarded as ‘dirty’ or ‘gross’, or as a sign of ‘decay’. Paying attention to these small things will slowly give you an understanding of where you really are.
In the nomadic mindset, you don’t try to impose a fantasy on the land of what you think it should be like, you try to see it for what it is. If you do build something, set camp, or change something, you keep it small and to an absolute minimum, you do not force your will or dreams on the land, you open to the dreams the land is already dreaming.
Some may say that the cities and the human buildings placed on the land it its reality now, but as long as it s not a living ecosystem of life and death, and completely dependent on constantly being fed from the surrounding areas, its not a living thing. And as long as there is a continued fight against the invaders of reality, such as moss and insects, it has no claim to an integral reality of its own, it exists in a pseudo-reality, constantly pushing aside or exploiting the reality beneath without being able to ever give anything back. Being perceptible by humans does not in itself make a thing real, but being digestible by something does.
It takes years of practice to connect beyond the concrete, but starting to look widens your world considerably. Just get used to look for the things out of place, and then slowly turn the perspective.
For most of this year, I’ve remained relatively still. I’ve been moving mostly from one place to another for practical reasons and staying for months in one place. For lengths of time I’ve stayed in more permanent structures than my house, like the family cabin, or various indoors during repair work. During this time, I’ve thought a lot about what differs the way I travel for the road, and when I travel to a specific place to do something there.
So I thought I would write a series of posts with thoughts and exercises for those who wish to know more about nomadic travel and perhaps broaden your world a bit. None of these require in themselves a lot of moving about. You will need to leave your house, but you don’t have to go very far.
Fist, I’ll need to get into what makes nomadic travel different. This not something I’ve seen written about other than as an anthropological curiosity, and always from the observers perspective. So it’s taken some time to find words in this unchartered territory.
In some of my previous posts, I’ve touched in on the subject, but as a framework, without having the words to explain outright what it is. It’s a practice rooted in a culture or oral tradition after all, and greatly vilified or ignored in written culture, so I’ve always thought of it as a practice beyond words. And of course, I’m writing about the philosophy of nomadic travel, a thought, and idea, but the practice is old and varied, and more or less successful or more or less present in the mind of the individual traveler. Let’s give it a try anyway.
The simplest way of describing nomadic travel is that it’s a dance with the land. It’s a way of connecting with the place you stay in or travel through and a way of connecting the places you travel with each other.
It’s still a common belief that the nomadic lifestyle is a form of escapism, of running away from responsibility, that it’s all about freedom or in some way childish. But the only responsibility anyone ever really has, is to the land that feeds them, not country, but land. The soil and water, plants and animals and spirit. And there are other ways to connect with land than to grow stuff on it. This is what I’ll be exploring in this series of posts.
Nomadic travel isn’t about moving away from land, it’s about moving with it. Rather than making a connection with land by staying in one place and imposing our will on it, making some things grow while killing off others, changing rivers, planting forests or burning them down, it’s a conversation and a dance.
There are, of course, several nomadic tribes, on all continents, with their unique way of moving. Some live with a herd of animals, and move with them, following the seasons and going where the food and water for the animals are, rather than forcing the food to grow and water to flow to them. Some are seasonal workers on farms or take their chances in cities. Some are confined to reservations. Most nomadic people won’t move terribly far away or cross the globe, it’s the consistency, not the length of the journey that matters.
And while some may have more ‘restless blood’ than others, and some may feel the call of the wild or the road stronger, it’s not like you can say that this is a specific genetic or even cultural thing. The very idea we have of culture, is a colonialist one. It’s one where culture is reduced to a handful of gods and a fancy dress. The real culture, the cosmology and connections to greater things than humans or the self, are in any case greatly damaged or destroyed. These posts are also a way of reviving that, not in a specific group of humans, but in the world.
So let’s say you want to do this thing. That you want to dance, connect with the road. Where do you start? I’m going to write a few posts with exercises on how to change your perspective, even if just a little. And then on how to dance.
The first thing to do if you want to travel is to get lost. It doesn’t matter where, it can be in a city, or a forest or a suburb. Even with travel restrictions, it’s still quite possible to get lost. Turn off you phone or leave it behind, go somewhere you haven’t been. Take the bus, or take that Other path that leads the Wrong Way from where you usually walk. Don’t bring anything and don’t have a goal. Make peace with the chance that you’ll never return home. Most likely you will, but it’s a good thing to let your mind get comfortable with. You can ride your bike or horse or wheelchair or whatever, but the closer you are to the ground, and the slower you move, the better.
Now some people are cursed with a perfect sense of direction, but most people are about ten steps and two corners away from being lost at all times. You just pick a road you haven’t walked, and then follow it. To make it easier, take as many twists and turns as possible, or if you’re in the woods, get away from the beaten path as soon as possible. If it’s dark, try not to use any light, there’s usually enough light pollution and moonlight to see where you’re going. A lot of people may say that this is dangerous, and it certainly is. Not as much as most people think, but a bit. Life is danger, only death is completely safe.
You don’t have to walk very far though, just to the point where you can with confidence look around you and say to yourself that you have no idea where you are. Now, look around you again, because when lost, your eyes become sharper. Try to notice things, sounds of water or traffic, familiar houses or trees, and you’re already looking at the world with wider eyes than before you started.
Now you stay here a bit, being lost. Don’t try to find your way back at once, you’re not doing this as a tracking exercise. The things is, you’re not lost, you’re never lost. You just need to find some basic things. Like food, water and shelter. That’s all. These things may be in a specific place, but as you look around, they are other places as well. (If you plan to get lost in the woods, by the way, it’s helpful to have at least some basic knowledge of edible plants and to not start doing this at winter).
When you’re comfortable with being lost, make your way back. Do not rush, and pay attention to everything, insects, plants growing out of the asphalt, birds flying over head, the call of a crow, the wind. These are the things that you will gradually start following. If you haven’t walked too far, you’re probably going to find your way back pretty soon. If you should get more and more lost, don’t panic, stop walking. Wait. Somewhere there will be something you recognize, a hill in the distance, or a light. You will find someone and they will help. The trick is to not be too vigorous and try to cover too much distance. You only need to get a little bit lost, not set off a rescue mission.
It is perfectly acceptable to ask strangers for help at this point if you should find your self more lost as you go. This is probably something you’ll have to do a lot in your travels. You will need a hand now and then, and might as well get used to asking for help if you’re not used to it before. Politeness and a slight bewilderment goes a long way. Also, if you’re not currently using your gut feeling about who to talk to and who to avoid, it’s best to start listening to that as well. I have knocked on a few doors in my time and disturbed a few dinners in order to ask random strangers if they could please tell me where I am.
The point of this exercise is in any case not to become a great outdoors person or streetwise, but first of all to get used to seeing the world as a place of possibilities. To focus on what you actually need in it, and to see that these things are not linked to one place. This will come gradually and will already be familiar to people who travel in a conventional way in their work.
The second part is to start to notice your surroundings and in time, to let them guide you rather than to plow your way to a goal. This, I’ll be writing more about next time.
As I spent some months away from my house this summer, to fix the cabin, there was a bit of repair work to do when I got back.
I say ‘a bit’ here in the most British sense of the word, as there had been a leak in part of the roof and unusually warm and wet weather where it stood, leading to extensive water damage.
A major difference between living in a house I build myself, rather than a house belonging to someone else, or a bank, is that I’m always faced with the choice of whether to keep rebuilding or not.
On the plus side, I can make the changes I want, when and how I want. I don’t need to wait around for someone else to do things, and it costs a fraction of what a similar repair would be on a typical house.
On the heavier side, I do need to keep making that decision. The question is always there, not only if I should give up, but if it’s worth taking other matter, trees, water, space to keep making this. Does it really need to keep existing?
I find myself more and more adverse to buying materials, it has become frightfully apparent in this process that these materials are corpses of trees, and often healthy habitats have been destroyed to make way for plantations of fast growing woodland. And I don’t think I can convince myself that my house is worth sacrificing all these lives for.
Everything feeds off something else, not only is it inevitable, it’s the only way of keeping life going, the only way of reintroducing matter. If life is to even exist, things need to consume other things and by that not only keep alive themselves, but make sure matter is being brought back properly.
But a dream is not actually needed to live, no matter what popular stories will tell you. And a house is always a dream of some sort. And dreams tend to loose their connection to reality. Not in the sense of whether or not what you want is possible, but in the sense of making that constant choice and the realization that every little bit of reality you take, you take from something else. And sooner or later, all dreams will become monsters if you don’t stop. Sooner or later, everything you have borrowed, will be taken back by the spiral. At some point, your dream, your visions, your life, will take more than it can ever return. And then it’s a monster.
My solution so far is to make use of repurposed materials as much as possible, or use trees that have fallen in storms or been cut down and left. Even then, I’m interfering in some way, keeping a part of the great spiral locked in a form. That choice, I have to keep making and keep considering and hope I’m connected enough to give up before it becomes a travesty.
Eventually, of course, I will also die, and hopefully be quickly taken up in the spiral, and as this summer has showed, it won’t take very long for my house to be reclaimed by nature either, for the most part.
These last few years has also changed how I look at beauty. Where I used to consider things like proportions and integrity, I now also consider the beauty of a thing or creature as linked to the balance of integrity and how easily it will be for nature to reclaim.
In this light, the great Rot in the picture, is the most beautiful creature I have met this summer. It’s origin is a large tree that has fallen in the woods and been let long enough for life to sprout around it, birds to nest it it’s branches, fungi to form neural links to water and other plants and life forms, green vines to bloom at its heart. It lives now in a between state of life and non-life, of decay and growth, of returning and preserving and it can evoke awe in anyone who looks upon it in the forest. This in other words, is now a god.
I didn’t just set out living in a small, self-made cabin on wheels with no running water or electricity entirely on a whim. The cabin where I spent a lot of time as a kid and where I’m now staying forms much of the ideas for and practice for my current house.
The cabin is on a peninsula by a fjord, so there’s no fresh water, no electricity or other so-called modern facilities. There is, or was, peace and quiet, living creatures and weird things in the woods.
The cabin is not by any sane standards ‘primitive’, it’s quite full of comfortable solutions, like a cooling cabinet dug close to the rock that will keep drinks chilled and most not-terribly perishable foods, like eggs and cheese, preserved. Most of these ideas I’ve grown up with and could in various ways adapt to my wagon.
I really believe spending so much time here made me better prepared for a life on the road, for finding solutions to a lifestyle on the edge of society. There are so many small things that needs to be learned, or better, internalized as a way of being, of moving. As an adult, I probably would have had a harder time getting used to little tings like not throwing out the water you boiled your morning eggs in purely on reflex, or collecting rain water for washing.
There is a lot (well, not a lot, not as much as it should be, but more than a while ago) of talk about adapting to climate change and system collapse. A growing number of people are starting to doubt that their current lives are going to continue along the same lines. And very often, we are presented with a bunch of ‘smart’ solutions. That we can buy. For a price. But the key to adapting is really quite simple. You look, and you listen.
You look at where you actually, physically are, and what else is there. And you listen to your surroundings. Water is not always above ground, animal paths lead ways through the forest. Because as much as I have picked up clever ways of cooling by drinks and storing water, the main thing I learnt by being largely self reliant, is that things really exist. It sounds obvious, but it’s something largely gone from our modern minds. We live on the planet as if it’s already dead and we’re the only real creatures left on in. Some delve into fantasies about living in simulations or illusions.
But things are real, even the things you can’t see. You can live outside society, but it takes a lot more room and a lot more practice than just casting the yoke and running off. And while money doesn’t grow on trees, food actually does. Unless some mad bastard has chopped them down to make money.
Lately, I’ve vacated my house, la Chouette to do maintenance work on a family cabin. Since my dad passed away, it hasn’t been much in use. My mom doesn’t drive and I have no siblings and obviously I’m not going live in a fixed place, so we’re going to sell it. I have a lot of happy memories from this place, so I’ll hate to see it go, but I can’t keep something just for the sake of keeping it.
When I was little, this is where we’d go to get away from everything. There’s no electricity, there are kerosene lamps, an old cast iron stove, an outdoor toilet and if you want fresh meat for dinner, you’ll have to go fish (you could also try hunting in the woods, but I wouldn’t recommend it. The terrain is not for people). When building my own dream home, I leaned heavily on my experiences from summers here, such as how to make water last, what I need and what’s only distractions.
It’s also a special place because my dad built it himself, and there are numerous caring details and features that gives the cabin soul and heart.
However, in the last years before his death, and as his heart condition grew worse (that’s not what killed him, ironically), my dad also fell ill with the same madness that seems to spread everywhere. The madness of expansion over maintenance. Now, starting something new is always more fun than finishing something. And especially to a creative person. But at some point, the constant starting of new things becomes pathological.
Since I was there last, two new sun deck have been built around the cabin, one more apparently planned and a boat house large enough to live in has taken the place of the quay. There is also an incomprehensible doorway in the middle of the path to the cabin that I can’t for the life of me figure what was going to do. At the same time, the woodwork in the existing structure is, while not beyond hope, clearly bearing signs of neglect, and there is a water damage in one of the bedrooms. Still pretty easy to fix, but it’s been there for some time. Little things that needed to be done regularly has clearly been set aside in favor of new and completely unnecessary projects. Also, the cabin itself has been filled with various items that probably seemed useful in the store, but has no place or use at all in the daily life in the woods by the sea. It was a well-equipped cabin with integrity, and didn’t need to be filled with cheap junk.
And it seems everyone is building pointless things and filling every available space with junk.
Right now, there is a massive building of wind turbines in Norway. I saw them mar the landscape in Denmark and Germany, and now they’re filling the coast and mountains here. Whole islands are being covered in turbines up to 150m height, killing birds and insects and making the area uninhabitable for anyone, human or other animal. Most of these turbines are built to cater to the European marked and to the lie of cheap and sustainable energy. The lie of the plenty is destroying the planet we live on.
It’s not just the turbines. Mining, logging, road construction and the very last drop of oil, all destructive and disruptive human activity is madly speeding up, while at the same time it’s more and more obvious that the kind of world that these roads and skyscrapers and cities are made for is not going to happen. The brave new plastic sci-fi world of the post ww2 era was a terrible idea and now it’s dying. Globalism is failing, all the larger states are failing, and let’s face it, humanity is failing.
It might be, at some level, that this is the same phenomenon at play. That, in addition to the usual greed and stupidity that plague the species, humans in the ‘civilized’ world might also be experiencing the same madness that came over my dad before he died. His health was deteriorating, he must have known his time was running out. And I do think most humans also know at some level that the world as we know it is dying too. Yet I think people have a belief that if you start something, death will patiently wait and let you finish it. A belief that unfinished business will keep you linked to the world for longer, but to finish something, is to die.
As an artist, I experience this too. The fear of the finished piece, the curse of the ninth. It’s always there at the back of the brain. And of course, my own house won’t ever be finished. But it does have the advantage of obvious limitations, if I want to add a new thing, something else has to go, and I have to finish what I start. The need for change and hunger for expansion is probably present in all things, but as I said, at some point it becomes pathological. Life might be expansion, but at some point the growth becomes cancerous (it was cancer that got my dad in the end, by the way).
But death doesn’t wait any more than life does. And you can’t cheat death, because it’s not playing a game. Even if our culture is littered with stories about how cheating death is a good and brave thing, it isn’t. Perhaps the time has come now for humanity to finish their symphony and care for what they have while they can.
Life is, indeed, unpredictable. But another meaning of ‘vagus’ is to wander, or be in motion, without a particular goal in mind. Moving of the sake of movement.
Over the past months, a vast number of people have been moving differently than expected. It may be because of travel restrictions, or quarantine, or due to illness. People have been bed ridden and house bound and during this time, how we move has been brought to attention either explicit or implicit.
When you are in motion, you create a pattern. This is obvious in dance, but it’s also true for the motions of daily life.
When you move in the same manner, around the same objects, the pattern is deepened, fixated. Eventually it will become part of your mind and of your body, in the form of muscles and nerves.
To fixate and carve out a pattern can be a good thing, a strengthening thing, or it can dig you down in a hole. Repeating a pattern of something you want to enforce, a habit, a spell, a wood carving, can create something beautiful. But at some point, you have to stop repeating the pattern, or it will become a trap, and destroy what you set out to create.
For all our activity, most in western society live very monotonous lives. Motions are carried out in the same manner, in the same patterns, in the same frame of mind, even when you attempt to be ‘mindful’. For it is not the mind that moves the body, but the body that moves the mind.
To move is to change. We have been brought up to consider only the power of the mind, and that changes are made by making your mind up. But I will argue that without a change in how we move, no change is really made.
Moving in a new environment, even a new apartment, creates a from of change. This can be exhausting, and it is wonder most people feel a relief when they come home to their familiar surroundings, where they can make their coffee and bathe without giving a second thought to the physical part of preforming these tasks, because everything you need is placed where you know it will be and your body will remember how to move in these rooms. This is comfortable, for many even needed in order to rest and recharge.
But to stay in such an environment, where everything is familiar and nothing challenges your sense of motion, will also make you deteriorate over time.
While the way of the Trickster is often associated with humor, or practical jokes, at the heart of is is motion and the unpredictable. While the unpredictable certainly can make people laugh, in surprise or relief, it might as well disturb, shock, or make people feel strange.
The way of the Trickster is to be in the constant between- state, to look in all directions and choose none yet always keep moving. It is the living paradox.
And it is in the unpredictable that we find the deepest truths. And by doing something unpredictable, you might find out a lot more about yourself than any amount of pondering or meditation will show you.
Today I had a small insect bite under my left eye and I spent an hour or so being certain it would be the death of me.
Not because this was very likely, but because I was indoors. Outside, I would hardly notice
I don’t mean outside like out in the yard, but on the road, in the real.
The world inside walls is not real, because it is not connected. It’s not connected because nothing will recycle your body when you die. Well, eventually, but it will take an unnatural amount of time. There is no way to trust your instincts when you’re cut off from the cycle of life and death, it’s like having your whiskers cut off, I have no sense of proportions, indoors.
These days, a lot of people are spending a lot more time indoors than usually, because of restrictions put on very large populations in order to try to control an outbreak of an infectious disease.
I had already planned a time of seclusion to work on my book of hours, and I’m honestly not sure what I would do if I was on the road when the restrictions came into place.
I do know that the lockdown we’re experiencing globally now shows a great flaw in the system of borders and countries. A world that consists only of owned land and borders, with no or few vast spaces between, is suffocating. And it shows when there is no place to run. There are, for now, and for a few, places to hide. But only for the privileged, and you can’t hide for ever.
What is happening now show the need for human dwellings to be the exception, not the norm, of the face of the earth. There needs to be places to go, and to avoid human contact without locking yourself indoors or facing an outside with no food, no water and no functioning life.
For a very long time, human life has not been allowed to breathe, for it has been denied to know death.
Life and death are never enemies, it merely seems so because humans have been trading the life of everything around them in order to prolong their own form. Not merely to sustain it, but to keep clinging to it far beyond any reason. But life is not the temporary form of the individual.
Life does not happen after death, but in death, as death happens in life, at every moment, and at once.
Life is a song.
A song starts and ends. It has a form, but you cannot take one note and say that this is the truth of the song. A song must change, but it changes after a pattern. It is a temporary harmonious meeting of a myriad of notes, of cells and microbes, and tiny organisms in and around you, the heartbeat and the lyrics.
There is a lot of high talk about ‘winning’ over diseases of all kinds, and of beating it at all costs. But it’s presented as if there is a government who pay the price and it isn’t, it’s nature.
Whenever the question of the cost of a life arises, it’s only ever talked about monetary costs, never about actual costs. Nowhere do you see an account of how many rivers are dried up, swamps drained, moors burned or forests chopped down to build hospitals, pharmaceutical factories or windmills for electricity for life-prolonging machines.
This is not a question of attacking the weak and the ill, not a question of survival of the more adapted, but of humans accepting their mortality.
Everything living already have a life, it’s never a question of fighting for a life, it’s a question of prolonging what is already there.
Death is not the enemy of life, but the beginning and the end of it. it is a very long stretch from maintaining a life to destroying everything in your wake to expand it. To survive at any cost at some point stops being brave and becomes greedy.
I certainly don’t want to die, and I’ll gladly feed on other life. But I hardly think it’s worth destroying entire ecosystems simply to prolong my existence a bit.
Otherwise, after all, you’ll have nowhere to go after you die. Nothing for your biomass or soul to be reabsorbed in.
So when I get panic attacks and anxiety from minor things indoors, it’s being disconnected I fear, death in the form of stagnation. The true death.