Alpine Valley, the big view . . . SCHUTZWALD
Atop the German-speaking Central Alps, looking South-east.
Click here or on photo to see the same image, but now with a map of the
Schutzwald, or Protection Forest. See also the image & story below of
the Sick Norwegian Spruce, the dominant species of this green band
of highcountry security . . .
How mountains everywhere in the world encourage a natural
back and forth between the close-up details of the bottomlands
of daily life, and the broad, wide-angle view from high, snowy peaks
which seems to reach out to infinity. Balm for chronically
short-sighted, short-on-time, Western culture, indeed!
ON THE LITERAL MAN &
THE IMPOSSIBILITY OF METAPHOR
The world of the literal man is a world of extreme fragmentation.
In this broken-apart world of the literal man, the natural weave of the
interdependencies of wholeness has been ripped apart, and ‘facts’ and
‘things’ exist in all but complete isolation.
It is a world, therefore, in which the this-is-like-that of analogy and
metaphor not only make little sense, but is no longer even possible. And
it is a world, because nothing is felt as being connected to anything else,
ethical responsibility has been reduced to the exigencies of hard cash
and personal survival.
It comes as little surprise that the literal man makes the perfect foot
soldier in the technological armies of mechanistic science, the same
science that has given us the modwern weapons industry. Here we find the
literal man in the form of the brilliant physicist who without the slightest
ethical qualms diligently increases the yields of each new nuclear
device; Or the literal man in the form of the virtuoso economist who
spins the market trends with great short-term success and mathematical
élan, while completely ignoring every single relevant feature and
consequence of the wider, long-term context; Or the literal man of the genetic
engineer of genius who cleverly creates seeds that self-destruct, seeds
that you must now forever buy because they terminate in their own
infertility. The final extreme? A world resource empire that hordes the
very water of life itself, and which sells it back to us at a price only he,
the literal man, can afford. This is the “participate or perish” world of
the literal man. It is a world in which morality has been reduced to the
tightest of circles around ‘the me.’ It is a state of mind and being which
now, sadly, manifests in Western culture in both genders about equally.
Complication—in contrast to the richness of natural complexity—
is about making things at least twice as difficult as necessary, thereby
making it easy to do really difficult things—not at all.
BETWEEN THE WORLDS
All mischief begins with distance. Poet, scientist, farmer,
teacher:—be the messenger between the worlds.
We shape the world and the world shapes us.
Let the philosophy of alternative, sustainable design begin by ending the
legacy of the humble sewer’s ancient Roman past. The first principle of
design: First, do no harm. Find a better way. It’s extraordinarily irrational
to put feces and urine in water, which then becomes polluted, which
we then either have to clean up at great expense, or ingest and drink the
consequences. Better to compost them. And find a way to bring them as
safe, purified resource, back to the land.
[Note: The Cloaca Maxima, or Big Sewer—still to be seen in the oldest part
of Rome, is thought to be the world’s first sewer and has served as a model
world-wide; it dates back to the 6th century, Bce.]
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Spruce . . .
All Photographs & texts by Cliff Crego © 2011 picture-poems.com