I’ve just completed the Monkey Wrench Gang and am now working my way through Hayduke Lives! Astonishingly I have only recently discovered the writing of this lone visionary, Edward Abbey; this Cactus Ed. I love it when life thrusts upon me a wonderful treasure that had somehow been left undiscovered.
While reading the wise words of Cactus Ed, as when I read Daniel Quinn for the first time, It has occurred to me that we; mankind, homo-sapiens, in other words, you and me, we are not separate from this flying globe of rock, water, and flame on which we reside. Our Judeo-Christian mythology tries to tell us that we are not of this world but that we are separate, above it, beyond it. Utter nonsense. We are no more separate from the soil under our feet and the water in our gut than our colon is from the grey matter in our heads. Every part of the body comprises the whole. Every creature walking, crawling, slithering, hopping, flying above or below the earths soil, comprises the whole. We are the planet, the planet is us. Why do so many of us miss this fact? Why are we so anxious to remove ourselves from it?
With the exception of only a very few, none of us will ever be separated from this earth. We can briefly fly above the rock but we can never really tread outside this corporeal realm. Our very lives, our souls, are dependent on it. In the words of Don Henley, “You can check out but you can never leave.” And why would we want to? We are of the earth, by the earth and for the earth. As much as we try and fight it we shall one day return to the dust, the muck, the mud from whence we came. So why do we fight it? Why do we constantly strive to separate ourselves from the essence of what we are?
At the heart of this quest for separation, is our search for a meaning to life. Why does there have to be a meaning to life? Can we not just be? Can we “stand for what we stand upon”?