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:
Weekend Edition
July 22, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Jeffrey St. Clair
Good as Goldman: Hillary and Wall Street
Joseph E. Lowndes
From Silent Majority to White-Hot Rage: Observations from Cleveland
Paul Street
Political Correctness: Handle with Care
Richard Moser
Actions Express Priorities: 40 Years of Failed Lesser Evil Voting
Eric Draitser
Hillary and Tim Kaine: a Match Made on Wall Street
Conn Hallinan
The Big Boom: Nukes And NATO
Ron Jacobs
Exacerbate the Split in the Ruling Class
Jill Stein
After US Airstrikes Kill 73 in Syria, It’s Time to End Military Assaults that Breed Terrorism
Jack Rasmus
Trump, Trade and Working Class Discontent
John Feffer
Could a Military Coup Happen Here?
Jeffrey St. Clair
Late Night, Wine-Soaked Thoughts on Trump’s Jeremiad
Andrew Levine
Vice Presidents: What Are They Good For?
Michael Lukas
Law, Order, and the Disciplining of Black Bodies at the Republican National Convention
Victor Grossman
Horror News, This Time From Munich
Margaret Kimberley
Gavin Long’s Last Words
Mark Weisbrot
Confidence and the Degradation of Brazil
Brian Cloughley
Boris Johnson: Britain’s Lying Buffoon
Lawrence Reichard
A Global Crossroad
Kevin Schwartz
Beyond 28 Pages: Saudi Arabia and the West
Charles Pierson
The Courage of Kalyn Chapman James
Michael Brenner
Terrorism Redux
Bruce Lerro
Being Inconvenienced While Minding My Own Business: Liberals and the Social Contract Theory of Violence
Mark Dunbar
The Politics of Jeremy Corbyn
David Swanson
Top 10 Reasons Why It’s Just Fine for U.S. to Blow Up Children
Binoy Kampmark
Laura Ingraham and Trumpism
Uri Avnery
The Great Rift
Nicholas Buccola
What’s the Matter with What Ted Said?
Aidan O'Brien
Thank Allah for Western Democracy, Despondency and Defeat
Joseph Natoli
The Politics of Crazy and Stupid
Sher Ali Khan
Empirocracy
Nauman Sadiq
A House Divided: Turkey’s Failed Coup Plot
Franklin Lamb
A Roadmap for Lebanon to Grant Civil Rights for Palestinian Refugees in Lebanon
Colin Todhunter
Power and the Bomb: Conducting International Relations with the Threat of Mass Murder
Michael Barker
UK Labour’s Rightwing Select Corporate Lobbyist to Oppose Jeremy Corbyn
Graham Peebles
Brexit, Trump and Lots of Anger
Anhvinh Doanvo
Civilian Deaths, Iraq, Syria, ISIS and Drones
Christopher Brauchli
Kansas and the Phantom Voters
Peter Lee
Gavin Long’s Manifesto and the Politics of “Terrorism”
Missy Comley Beattie
An Alarmingly Ignorant Fuck
Robert Koehler
Volatile America
Adam Vogal
Why Black Lives Matter To Me
Raouf Halaby
It Is Not Plagiarism, Y’all
Rev. Jeff Hood
Deliver Us From Babel
Frances Madeson
Juvenile Life Without Parole, Captured in ‘Natural Life’
Charles R. Larson
Review: Han Kang’s “The Vegetarian”
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail