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Saturday, 14 February 2009

Linear & Circular

In the usual scheme of things, life is often compared to a journey from birth to death and whatever lies beyond. It's a rather clinical approach, don't you think? Supposing it's a circular or spiral movement instead of so linear, then life begins to make so much more sense.

In the olden days, long, long ago, when things were understood in cycles, before furlongs and linear measurements, there was a sense of mysticism and 'unknowing', which the scientific age did away with, because the linear thought of that era has to understand and explain everything - and what can't be explained or described is usually denied as nonsense or dismissed as madness.

The so-called 'age of enlightenment' meant introducing clocks and regulations that made people fit a pattern. Soon after 'enlightenment' came the industrial revolution, where people were compelled to move from their old farming methods to those which were artificial. That was the age of fattening cattle to create 'the biggest bull in Yorkshire' - the poor creature could hardly move but it was seen as a great advance to be able to force an animal to look so grotesque. People no longer went by the sun and moon; no longer were regulated by the earth and seasons as to when they reaped and harvested; when they rose and when they slept. Instead, people claimed the right to rule everything - times, seasons, a way that for 200 years has resulted in two major world wars, endless minor conflicts, the rise in heart attacks, strokes, stress-related-illnesses...

Of course, before, there were worse diseases - rickets and diphtheria and smallpox etc. etc. - but replacing one set of diseases with another is hardly progress. If we could - and I am sure we can - get over the idea of linear structures, of science 'conquering' nature, and work in harmony, of allowing people to move with the seasons and stop thinking we're in control and let things be for a while and go back to the cyclical nature that is really rules the roost, we could use science and the advances in medicine and technology in a very different way. The two could come together so beautifully, in accordance with the whole divine scheme of everything. If science stood in awe before art, and art stood in awe before science, and people were seen as expressions of the Divine....

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