Nothing in life represents us more than a tree. I am positively sure that all homo sapiens evolved from trees. Charles Darwin did have it his way for a long time, but I wonder if he took science out of the equation and actually looked at human beings the way we look at ourselves?
We love to plant our roots in a place of our choosing. I guess that makes us different from our arboreal brothers since they cannot choose where to live. But just for a moment, think about the world at large. Are you really sure that you have the choice to settle down in a place of your liking. Did circumstances kind of swirl around until it left you with little or no choice in the matter. Did everything just feel right one day and made you thrust your roots into the ground?
The ground is itself an interesting perspective. Is terra firma earth anymore? Or is it the digital universe that surrounds us and embraces our destiny? Roots were always a metaphorical extension of ourselves. We are getting ahead of ourselves a little bit. We always tell people to stay rooted but little do we realize that the roots were laid down a long time ago. It is just that we never even bothered to acknowledge it.
A mother’s milk was our first food and just like that our roots grew downwards. We knew then that we had a mother, a father and a family. We sucked in love from our environment and grew rapidly in all directions. Affection nurtured our strength and produced the first green shots from our stem. We were just saplings then but we already knew that we had to stand still otherwise we would lose it all. It was too expensive to discard and much too precious to ignore.
I can still recollect the time I was a sapling and bent in all directions. It was thrilling to be able to bend but I never gave it much thought. We always prided ourselves on being so flexible that we forgot those who could never bend again. They were the old ones for they had dug their roots in so deep that they could not look down and appreciate the beauty of young saplings anymore. How did this come to pass?
The old ones never start out that way. They are young trees when they first find that their roots have broken through into some sort of aquifer deep below the ground. The water that they sensed had a strange latent power of making them feel comfortable. It flowed into their veins becoming the sap of a thousand moons. it filled them so deeply that their limbs were the first to yield. They became heavy with desire for more and the source obliged until they could take no more.
The sap was so nourishing that they did not feel the need to foray and gather food like they used to do. The roots stopped digging deeper and spreading wider. Instead hunger eventually amortized itself into satisfaction which grew into a thick bark around their body. They were still producing green shots but now it was merely at the tip of their limbs. These would make them look beautiful but removed their ability to sway to the breeze as it whistled through their grove.
Inevitably some grew taller while others achieved greater heights. Fruits grew scattering seeds which in turn sprouted into little saplings around them. Branches became thicker to accommodate weightier ambitions. Caution stealthily took charge and forced the roots to cling rather than probe deeper. When all was said or done, there was something majestic about their immovability. Lightning indubitably thinks otherwise.
That which cannot be understood must be felt and that which cannot be felt must be grasped.The maxim of being a tree resonates in our ears for it truly tests time by daring its ravages
Trees come in different hues and so do we. Stunted ones are reclusive and furtive. Thin tall ones reach up to the sky desperately trying to seek out fresh air. Broad and heavy actors leave no doubts about their power or intention. Damaged ones are desolate and forever seek love from their lonely confines. Some trees are so handsome that they are coveted by everyone who gazes at them.
It comes as no surprise that trees crowd together to form forests and forests scatter into wilderness. Sounds familiar?
Every tree knows that the wood cutter will come calling one day. It does not matter whether they are ready, it just will occur. The saddest part is when saplings get cut down to random acts of aggression from ignorant carpet baggers. When cut the tree dies and becomes an inanimate lifeform called wood. If there is any consolation, it is the reality that all trees are completely recyclable. Now this is where we human beings are completely different. Our metamorphosis into wood does not make us more useful. In fact, there is no utilitarian value to nature arising from our dead bodies. It is a paradox that the most advanced species on the planet as far as the evolutionary scale is concerned, is of practically no use to anyone when we are no more.
Trees change their color to match the perambulations of the earth. We on the other hand change ourselves at the drop of a hat. Perhaps we are superior to our bowery ancestors due to our flexibility. They have fantastic memories as their entire growth is recorded but we on the other hand are far more selective. Not only can we choose what to forget, we can even destroy someone’s else’s memory. That is a skill that seems to be lacking in our ancestors. Emotional outbursts are rare with our forefathers but when it happens it changes them forever. When they cry, their tears remain as a mark for posterity. We pride ourselves on our emotional hubris and exult in the swift oscillations of our deepest effluence.
How about animals sharpening their claws on the rough bark of an old tree? The tree bears it all with utmost dignity. We on the other hand chaff at the first sign of friction whether it is mental or physical. Clearly, we the acorns have fallen quite far from the trees that predated us.
Just imagine that if went back in time to actually learn how they have survived all these years. Could we be constant like them, expressionless at all times, unyielding when it really counts and unceasing in our role as protector of the innocent?
The day will dawn when we will marvel at our own creation. We could be the first species to give birth to our ancestors suitably modified to live in our time.
Is it possible that we need to turn a new leaf? Perhaps the time has come when we need to learn from our antediluvian counterparts? It is a travesty of natural justice if we ignore the sacrifices they have made throughout these millions of years.
One day we will face extinction just like them
What goes around will come around. We are razing the green cover across the world with careless abandon. Canopies are disappearing because of massive treeocides. Forests are disappearing without a trace. Man has consumed trees like locusts, ripping apart an ecosystem that shepherded this planet from the dawn of time. The world as we know it is changing into a cornucopia of glittering metallic cities with digital underpinnings. Will we not appreciate the serenity that trees radiated for all these years? We would not be human if we did not long for those years when we were mere cogs in a grand but abundant universe.
Evolution is a machine that takes no prisoners. Artificial Intelligence will one day have its way with all of us. The rise of the machines is far more potent than anything that we have ever invented in our lives. Let us dwell on the fact that our parricide looms in distant temporal horizons unbeknownst to us.
Are humans important to anyone in this planet except to each other? This question has lingered for thousands of years but now the answer is upon us. We are of vital importance to the rise of cognitive machines. We will program them, empower them and eventually be subsumed by them. We are not digging our roots deeper but instead we will be letting machines think, feel and decide for us.
We will become like trees standing for all eternity to mow us down. We will rage but no one will appreciate it. We will cry tears that are so heavy that they freeze before it rolls off our bodies. We will be planted in chosen locations, nurtured until we are of age and then reaped for our wood. Our limbs will be lopped off and turned into spare parts. Our heads will be cloned so that it can be filled with positronic brains that are all knowing. Even our skin will be peeled off so that they can be synthesized to cover a metallic frame of boundless proportions and capabilities. Like trees before us, we would have finally realized our true worth. We can be recycled.