I’ve been looking at tree’s a lot lately. Ever since Alan Watts talked about tree’s as the “hands of the earth waving at you from the surface” it brought them to my attention. I’m starting to think that anything in this universe can be used to understand the world. When I look at tree’s I notice how every branch reaches out in a different direction, but that ultimately it is connected to a trunk. In other words, every branch shares a relationship with other branches. In terms of location they might all be situated at different spatial points, but they can be drawn back to one common “path”. Another interesting property of the tree is that it grows out of a seed unto this world. It literally came out of a small seed. Which came from another tree. Which came from another tree. Which came from another tree. And so on… We might not have the tools to trace back the original creation right now, but a simple hypothesis based on induction is convincing enough to understand that these growths form a repeated pattern.
The location of each branch also hints us toward another point. Absolutes exist. During the life-time of a tree, which is uncertain at best, there is a branch that is at the top. There is also a branch that is lowest of them all. An absolute high, an absolute low. This is synonymous to saying that it is possible to be the best or worst at something. For how long, we won’t know though. This brings me to the idea that some people can spend their whole life depressed. The shape of a tree looks like a crown. There is a lot at the bottom, which supports a cone-like top. The high branch is usually easier to spot than the lowest one. Following that logic it would seem like a lot more people are stuck in a bad place in contrast with people who “have it together”. That is only true if we consider the highest branch to be of most interest to us compared to the lower ones. Alan Watts once said that it was a big fallacy for us to put more value on presence than on emptiness. He would describe the phenomenon of peaks and valleys. One cannot exist without the other. I can’t say I have made any solid conclusions with this write-up, but there are some practical applications that make sense to me :
- Hating others is hating yourself. Imagine a branch violently attacking another “neighboring” branch. It might free up some room, but ultimately it is attacking it’s very being.
- Striving to be the best gives us an appealing view of the world. Imagine the highest branch, it gets a birds eye view of the horizon.
- Being the best surrounds you with the best. Imagine the highest branch, all of it’s neighbors are likely as high. As long as we consider height to be a good thing.
- Duplicity is not organic, it is unnatural. A branch is a branch.
- Being weak has the advantage of being closer to the ground. Low branches are closer to the root. They won’t fall from as high.
I could probably devise more relationships between our practical life and a tree. I invite you to try it out. As always, there’s no reason to put this concept on a pedestal, but it is safe to say that pulling concepts directly from nature might just well be the most organic way to stay aligned with the ways of this vibrant universe.