FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Under the Hanging Tree

by KATHLEEN PEINE

Assuming you aren’t color blind, when you look for the numbers in those tests with the multicolored circles, you are a bit startled when they pop out at you. Once they register upon your eyes you can’t un-see them. Many optical illusions work this way too- when you notice the pattern, the unmistakable lines won’t vanish- you will never view the image again in the same manner. There are lurking truths waiting to pop out in our society, in just the same mode, and when you notice them, it’s difficult to understand how they didn’t appear in clarity prior, when they were there all the time.

We are on a trajectory that cannot continue; this is undeniable to those willing to see, but most of the nation still hinges thought on old, tired notions of growth, and the election of the lesser of evils. There’s a shelf life for this type of living.

What will the future hold for us- and what will it look like? I once saw author Daniel Quinn speak at a tiny college in Missouri- he admitted that if we are to survive as a species, we surely don’t know what the means to survival will look like. Because we certainly don’t seem to be aware of a path at this time.

Quinn sounded mainly pessimistic, but I would say that is a sensible trait at this time- as long as it is tempered with an open mind. Anyway, during this talk, a fresh scrubbed womanchild entered the hall- she didn’t even bother to listen to the author’s initial words. She raised her arm in a ooh, ooh, ooh pick me manner when Quinn opened up for questions. She was certainly sent by her bible leather tooling class to disrupt this godless weirdo’s talk- maybe you don’t need to be punctual when this is your assignment. She asked how we can question the dominion of man over the natural world when that is how God set all of this up. Quinn did the most amazing thing. He didn’t engage this girl, but simply said words to the effect: “well, you have what you want then, that’s what has been going on- so you should be pleased.” And with that, he was done with her. The wind was no longer fluffing this girl’s sails and she looked ready to cry. I loved it. She was denied her story that she was of course planning to tell back at headquarters. Quinn was right- they have done it their way- that of the patriarchal god- the plunder of the natural. How’s that workin’ out for you? The truth is so obvious if you have the will to look. That girl probably never will peek out from under her covered eyes.

Of course things can’t go on as they are.

It might mean extinction. This is an inconceivable thought to most, but look at how many animals have vanished during our time of Dominion. Poetic Justice may demand our blood. Sometimes the behavior is so terrible that there is no answer. I’ve been told by relatives who are raconteurs that there is a “hanging tree” in Ireland for our family. I don’t know that I believe this, but here’s the story…. They say somebody did something so terrible in Ireland prior to emigrating that when they left, a tree was planted. Not for aesthetic or shade purposes, but for this reason: If anyone in the family should come back….well, hopefully the tree would be large and strong enough to hang them from.

I’m pretty sure this is a tall tale, but I’m not above using it (and feel free to use it as well). When my kids ask to go back to a place like Disney World, I just remind them that their past behavior there was so terrible that they planted a hanging tree at the Magic Kingdom. Just for us. It usually is enough.

Where am I going with this?

Here. The collective behavior of mankind (by that I mean the dominant culture that has defiled the planet) probably deserves a hanging tree. An outside observer would be aghast at what filth has been produced, and how individual agency has been caged to perpetuate this.

But against the odds, if the hanging trees don’t get us- what future lies ahead?

Again, I think Quinn was quite astute when he maintained that we probably wouldn’t recognize any answers at this point. He mentioned that prior to the Enlightenment- it wasn’t like they had a blueprint for the coming years. That’s not to say that many tiny trajectory changes can’t coalesce into something better, something beautiful. It’s all that’s left to try.

We are all bound to each other in ways we can’t always fathom. I’ve made mention in the past that we are like a grove of Aspens, all tied at the roots- the health of one tipping the health of all. But it goes even beyond that. Our very existence and what we view as the defining nature of ourselves depends on the interaction with others, isolationist Randians be damned.

Here’s your crazy, stray fact for the day: Did you know that there is no blue pigment in blue eyes? If you have blue eyes, they are only blue when there is an observer or a mirror- that kind of thing. It’s a lack of other dark pigments and the scattering of light that causes the perception of blue. There is no blue in there! Think about that for a moment, and consider how many other “firm” descriptors have no meaning without observers and companions? Most, I’d say. We are made of light and stars, and we breathe in the ageless air that filled the lungs of all who came before. Reality can stare at us and we don’t always fathom what exactly is staring back at us.

But for better or for worse, we are bound to each other. And once you begin to take notice, the truths will explode and tickle.

And I’ll wink at you to celebrate our luck if we are able to escape that hanging tree.

Kathleen Peine writes out of the US Midwest and can be contacted at kathypeine@gmail.com or at the website paintedfire.org

 

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

Weekend Edition
December 09, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Nasty As They Wanna Be
Henry Giroux
Trump’s Second Gilded Age: Overcoming the Rule of Billionaires and Militarists
Andrew Levine
Trump’s Chumps: Victims of the Old Bait and Switch
Chris Welzenbach
The Forgotten Sneak Attack
Lewis Lapham
Hostile Takeover
Joshua Frank
This Week at CounterPunch: More Hollow Smears and Baseless Accusations
Paul Street
The Democrats Do Their Job, Again
Vijay Prashad
The Cuban Revolution: Defying Imperialism From Its Backyard
Michael Hudson - Sharmini Peries
Orwellian Economics
Erin McCarley
American Nazis and the Fight for US History
Mark Ames
The Anonymous Blacklist Promoted by the Washington Post Has Apparent Ties to Ukrainian Fascism and CIA Spying
Yoav Litvin
Resist or Conform: Lessons in Fortitude and Weakness From the Israeli Left
Conn Hallinan
India & Pakistan: the Unthinkable
Andrew Smolski
Third Coast Pillory: Nativism on the Left – A Realer Smith
Joshua Sperber
Trump in the Age of Identity Politics
Brandy Baker
Jill Stein Sees Russia From Her House
Katheryne Schulz
Report from Santiago de Cuba: Celebrating Fidel’s Rebellious Life
Nelson Valdes
Fidel and the Good People
Norman Solomon
McCarthy’s Smiling Ghost: Democrats Point the Finger at Russia
Renee Parsons
The Snowflake Nation and Trump on Immigration
Margaret Kimberley
Black Fear of Trump
Michael J. Sainato
A Pruitt Running Through It: Trump Kills Nearly Useless EPA With Nomination of Oil Industry Hack
Ron Jacobs
Surviving Hate and Death—The AIDS Crisis in 1980s USA
David Swanson
Virginia’s Constitution Needs Improving
Louis Proyect
Narcos and the Story of Colombia’s Unhappiness
Paul Atwood
War Has Been, is, and Will be the American Way of Life…Unless?
John Wight
Syria and the Bodyguard of Lies
Richard Hardigan
Anti-Semitism Awareness Act: Senate Bill Criminalizes Criticism of Israel
Kathy Kelly
See How We Live
David Macaray
Trump Picks his Secretary of Labor. Ho-Hum.
Howard Lisnoff
Interview with a Political Organizer
Yves Engler
BDS and Anti-Semitism
Adam Parsons
Home Truths About the Climate Emergency
Brian Cloughley
The Decline and Fall of Britain
Eamonn Fingleton
U.S. China Policy: Is Obama Schizoid?
Graham Peebles
Worldwide Air Pollution is Making us Ill
Joseph Natoli
Fake News is Subjective?
Andre Vltchek
Tough-Talking Philippine President Duterte
Binoy Kampmark
Total Surveillance: Snooping in the United Kingdom
Guillermo R. Gil
Vivirse la película: Willful Opposition to the Fiscal Control Board in Puerto Rico
Patrick Bond
South Africa’s Junk Credit Rating was Avoided, But at the Cost of Junk Analysis
Clancy Sigal
Investigate the Protesters! A Trial Balloon Filled With Poison Gas
Pierre Labossiere – Margaret Prescod
Human Rights and Alternative Media Delegation Report on Haiti’s Elections
Charles R. Larson
Review:  Helon Habila’s The Chibok Girls: the Boko Haram Kidnappings and Islamist Militancy in Nigeria
David Yearsley
Brahms and the Tears of Britain’s Oppressed
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail