Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Quite sadly the assumption is made

The assumption is made that human beings are individually conscious and have the individual capacity of free will, and that no other species (plant or animal) has such attributes at the same level. But what we learn through psychology is that human beings are driven in large part by the unconscious mind.

What we learn from those studying the forest, is that trees communicate with each other in a variety of ways, thus displaying behavior akin to human consciousness. These forms of communication are shattered when whole forests are cut. Individual trees may play important roles in community life, just as an individual human may take a leadership role in his or her community.

Taking place slowly through an interchange of chemicals most humans would not equate the forms of communication in the forest between trees as being anything like speech. Nor would they consider such evidence to suggest that trees have human like emotions and feelings or consciousness.

But the line between forest culture (silviculture) and human culture has become blurred. As we study human consciousness (or lack thereof) and forest consciousness (that some might dispute) we find that we are much more like trees than most are willing to assume.

It is truly amazing how closely silviculture resembles human culture.

Man is a symbolic animal in that we use and create metaphors to express things that had been previously inexpressible or inexplicable,  to extend our own range of understanding, and to propose solutions to problems. The house, tree, person test in psychology, in which a child is asked to draw a tree is a way for the psychologist to gain insight into the growth and development of the child. Unlike a child, a tree displays its injuries on the outside, and where the child draws a knot hole, he or she may be describing an injury from the past.

The point, of course, is that we make too many assumptions about life, and about our humanity and our relationship with the rest of creation. In the process, nature is diminished, and students are not seen or understood in their full dimensions.

NPR had an article yesterday that asked, What are the main reasons teachers call it quits? Some might be surprised that money has so little to do with it. But a school is like a forest. When a teacher's roots are allowed to grow deep and become intertwined in fertile soil, good things come forth.

Today in wood shop, my first through 6th grade students will make toys.

Make, fix, create, and encourage others to learn likewise.

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