Starved For Knowledge, Wooden Words

I would love to hear David Attenborough describe humans during a pandemic, some railing against authority, others hiding under the bed. So many failing to rise to the occasion and I do put this down to either what they do not know, or simply acting out for attention because a pandemic is a perfect setting for living like there is no tomorrow. There might not be.

People either too loud or silent. But both reactions are the same, they are reactions to this new life with the unknown. The misinformation of today illustrates how important knowledge and learning is to survive and to adapt to drastic, sudden change.

I imagine if we were to start again at the beginning of this plague, we might want to look for the best people for the job. Those who can pull themselves up by their bootstraps and meet the task – and help others meet the task as well. We needed role models – smart ones with useful words. And we needed each other to come to the aid of humanity; to live to save their community — not every man for himself (or herself). I can imagine placing an ad to search for compatriots:

Wanted: Rational Human – can make tools. Can make anything out of nothing and do it with a relatively calm head. They may not scare children and they may not give the virus to old people to get rid of them. They need to teach and share knowledge. They need to listen.

This society touts the term, ‘elites’. Words are used to divide us. Some leaders call some people ‘deplorables in a basket’; suddenly we as a people are apart, like an eraser of words made us into two, neither half able to function without their other half. There was no argument over whether we needed education or not, or how to get what education might be available, for the people of this or any country. Education was a necessity for this experiment in democracy to survive. It is a component of a viable society.

This explosion of TMI (too much information), this inundation of words and phrases and emotions and fears, shows us that education was needed, not not just for the right people, but for all members of society so we can live together as neighbors in a place of many people, many peoples.

Planting words of dissension was so easy, the fabric ripped. There were and are lots of bandwagons to hop on. Unfortunately, many people have been hitching their wagons to information destinations made from empty words.

If we do not teach the importance of questioning information, and how to research to find truth, our society sees many people letting their emotions determine their beliefs. We need people to hitch their wagons to the moonbeams and stars of hope and reality, and not to lasers from space that cause wildfires.

Be curious. Question things. Stand independent in liberty. But remember: To be a citizen means to be a leader as well as a follower. Being a leader means every person is responsible for the lives of their neighbors. Do not be responsible for their deaths.

The trees continued to trust the woodmen because his axe was made of wood.

Wenceslas Hollar‘s engraving of the woodcutter, included in John Ogilby‘s collection of Aesop’s Fables, 1664

“…One of the earliest allusions to a fable of this kind occurs in the story of Ahiqar, a royal counsellor to late Assyrian kings who is betrayed by his adopted son Nadan. When the young man begs for a second chance he is answered with a string of reasons, drawing on West Asian folklore, why this would be useless. Among them is the accusation that ‘Thou hast been to me like the tree that said to its woodcutters, “If something of me were not in your hands, ye had not fallen upon me”.’[1] This refers to the fact that the axes of the woodmen have wooden shafts and the trees have therefore contributed to their own doom. A number of proverbs derive from the story, with the general meaning of being to blame for one’s own misfortune…”

Even if the tree knows the woodman will hurt itself, there is nothing the tree can do in this life to protect itself. Not even knowledge and education will help the tree save itself.

It is the responsibility of the collective society to care for the trees who cannot care for themselves, no matter what anyone thinks.

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