Family Tree

      I carried this image around for Saturday morning. Cleaned the kitchen, read the latest Rolling Stone about Cassidy fathering Ethridgeıs babies, and listened to the air check tape of Fridayıs radio show. I told Susan the dream and all she said was: ³Oh, youıre climbing the family tree.² That was enough. I understood in a flash. The plight of the human being is to be condemned to climbing his family tree. Not only does the apple not drop far from the tree but the very tree defines a personality Thatıs the bad news. So all those times I heard my father protest: ³I am who I am,² were true refrains. Perhaps more frightening than the prospect of my perception of reality being a by-product of my Tate/Carlson mix, is the belief that who we think we are is indeed who we are. Forget about Individuation. Yet the there is more to the picture. The tree I was climbing was multil-dimensional. It was rooted Earth-center deep and stretched to unseeable heights. I could see for miles and miles... Contain personality, climb for perspective, travel with dignity, and keep open to information from sources other than the intellect. Although we might all be climbing our individual family trees there is enough material on one branch to teach us all we need to know.
The ecologist Eugene Odum uses the term "biomass." Life-biomass, he says, is stored information; living matter is stored information in the cells and in the genes. He believes there is mor information of a higher order of sophistication and complexity stored in a few square yards of forest than there is in all the libraries of mankind. Obviously, that is a different order of information. It is the information of the universe we live in. It is the information that has been flowing for millions of years. In this total information context, man may not be necessarily the highest or most interesting product.
--Gary Synder in The Language of the Birds
[Dream commentary © Timothy Tate]
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