Shaping the world

fox 001

Back in the earliest days when mankind had his beginnings, it was the land and our response to it that had shaped us. It has been suggested that it was the long grass that caused us first to stand on two legs… a need to spot potential predators at a distance. As animals our physical defences are minimal. It is our intellect, adaptability and ability to use what comes to hand to serve our needs that allowed us to thrive. It was the land, the environment and climate that offered the raw materials to the responsive hunter, moving with the game and the seasons and which later planted the first seeds of agriculture from which our modern societies have sprung.

We are not very old as a species. It is thought that the earliest homo sapiens dates back a mere 200,000 years. On a planet that is 4.6 billion years old and where cellular life has existed for most of that time, that is a drop in the ocean. Yet from the beginning we have shaped the world to suit our needs, carving our presence on the landscape, altering the ecology with our predation and finally building upon it on a massive scale. No other species has impacted upon the life of the planet as drastically and visibly as we.

Yet on the whole we are still children, building sandcastles on the shore of time; things we see as permanent and solid that will, inevitably, be washed away when the tides change. Civilisations have sprung up, flourished and faded, leaving arcane structures, mysterious traces we can only strive to interpret and never fully understand for we have, inevitably, lost the context of their creation. Even within our own short history we have seen this happen time and again and no doubt it will continue. Yet these mysterious histories have influenced our own; the foundations of an ancient realm may be all we think remains, yet much of what they knew will have been carried outward, casting ripples on the pool of human understanding and knowledge. Our present is built upon their past.

There is a similar process in our own lives where the fragile castles we build around ourselves as a personality, reacting to the landscape of family, society and events is shaped by and shapes the way we see ourselves and the way we project our image into the world. Events experienced through the eyes and mind of the child may leave an arcane trace, a mysterious ruin in the tangled undergrowth of being that we stumble across in wonder, trepidation or confusion. It is upon these very places that we have built the person we see in the mirror and their influence contributes to the shaping of who we become.

Yet beneath the ruined castle or lost pyramid there is a constant. The foundations of all are rooted firmly in the earth. They are shaped from the land and to the land they will eventually return, gently gathered by the creeping tendrils of plants and washed away by rain, becoming once more a part of the landscape rather than apart from it.

There is an analogy there too for those who believe in the soul, that essence of self that is beyond the realm of the of the outer world and it is from this we spring, our foundations rooted within its light and it is to this we return when the edifice of the incarnate personality is washed away.

Does it shape us as the land shaped our forefathers, or do we shape it? Both I think… within it we touch the source of being, and draw its essence into our lives; yet our living teaches and enriches and the sum of experience shapes the next ripple we cast upon the waters of existence.

Looking out across the winter fields of my home today, watching the cloud shadows race across a gilded landscape I wondered how many of our ancestors had sat thus, watching the land and pondering the nature of the soul, seeing in the earth they held sacred an echo of their own inner light.

29 thoughts on “Shaping the world

  1. Everyone thinks that the way thing “are” or “were” is how they have always been, that my generation or yours began the world and that’s why there are problems They don’t seem to remember or maybe they never knew that many civilizations have come and gone. Before there was Rome, there were others and Rome wiped out many of them … and others were wiped out by previous civilizations. And on and on and on.

    I always find it funny in a strange way how many people are sure that history — any kind of history — has nothing to do with them. Don’t they know they’ve come from other generations who lived other lives? That every person alive has a history that goes back to the dawn of humankind? “Rich people” like to say that they have been here for generations. What do they think is true for the rest of us? Were we born like mushrooms in a dark and secret piece of earth? We may not all have records or castles, but we are all descendants of every generation that has ever been.

    I think we should ALL have a castle and a coat of arms 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree, Marilyn… and sometimes, you can feel the connection to the past, and by extension, the future, if you take time out of the rush of life.

      Not sure I wouldwant a castle.. draughty things with bad plumbing… but we probably all have one somewhere in our family tree 😉


      1. I just wanted to go back and add a “follow” to the comment, but once it’s closed, you can’t do anything. I do wish we have even a 15-second fix option on comments, though. I am such a typo queen it’s sometimes really embarrassing.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Well, you are in good company. And to me, those typos are our reality of being human at this point in our evolution. I think it is an art and helps keep us on our toes to make sure we are really reading it. Your post was so wonderful that I didn’t even see any typos! Thank you kindly.

          Liked by 2 people

  2. This IS my very favorite post of all time. It is so beautiful I may well type it up and put in a frame on the wall, and I am not being facetious either. It is a post I will remember forever, even WITH my not so great memory. Thank you so kindly. This is what our study is all about and this is what life is all about. It is some grand design by some grand spiritual entity or entities. They are all so truly amazing, as are we and all the other forms of living on this fantastic place. Thank you, thank Stuart, thank Steve and all the wonderful people who post here. You make life so incredible. It is truly an amazing form of alchemy!!


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