Like the rings of a tree

A hollow tree is one that rots from the inside - it declines and dies quickly.

Our Earth was formed some 4.6 billion years ago, out of the dust of huge exploding stars that had reached the ends of their lives. From these supernovas erupted all the elements. The same dust from those exploding stars is basically the same material that human beings consist of, together with all else that exists on earth today. When we look at life and evolution we see it in linear form, beginning with single celled microorganisms more than 3.5 billion years ago. Some 550 million years ago fish, amphibians, reptiles, and mammals began evolving. A small lineage of primates evolved an upright posture on the drying African savannas just two to four million years ago and finally Homo sapiens appeared less than 200,000 years ago. The roots of civilisation as we know it are less than 10,000 years old.

Our perspective of life is mostly a last minute story with our own age as the reality - maybe hundreds of years at the most is what the majority of us can comprehend. And yet each of us has the history of evolution within us and, like the rings of a tree, we could not exist without our core. To acknowledge these rings in the tree of life brings continuity to our existence and yet also a humble awareness of what and where we are today - life not as a line but condensed altogether within each of us.

The same goes for our individual lives; the line of childhood passes through childhood, puberty, adolescence, early maturity, middle age and so forth. As with the evolution of the species, we often see our early stages as distant or time-forgotten moments, hidden or even repressed in the distant past. And as each experience forms what we are today, the line can instead be seen as circles like rings in a tree representing each and every one of our ages. We need to be able to relate to and have access to each of those rings today to be fully alive. Synthesising these ages into the present will eventually allow us to grow again and again. However by denying the past we lose our central core. A hollow tree is one that rots from the inside - it declines and dies quickly.

We can live our lives more fully today with all our past present; organisations, corporations and companies can follow suit - maintaining a relationship with the past enables us all to take on board everything that we have learned and all that could have been dealt with differently yet still find the wisdom to develop and keep growing. Suppressing, denying, hiding, forgetting or uncritically admiring allows the past to lurk in the shadows. Unless we learn the lessons of the past, our futures hold little more than stagnation for us.

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Lasse Larsson

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Publicerad: 28 sep 2003 17:41


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