All things must pass – apparently

 

When a piece of the landscape around where you live, or have lived in, is taken away it takes away a little part of you too. No-one takes much notice, few will voice their disapproval/dismay, but this is still what happens.
The small-minded viewpoint of the world still prevails. Yet it thinks it is the opposite: that man is better and above all that is around him; that he doesn’t even need it! So, when a field full of trees is obliterated in order to make way for an industrial park or a new ‘super’ school, small-minded pragmatism wins over an holistic pragmatism: we ignore that fact that this practice of destruction of one thing for the benefit of another is going on in every town in every developed/developing nation in the world, and we only focus on the benefits from a microscopic viewpoint – the benefits it will bring to our immediate area.
There will come a time when lots of us will awake, when it is too late, only to wander through the wreckage of the earth in despair. But when this time comes there will also be those who cling to the small mindedness and will blame everyone but themselves for causing the destruction. Will this human tragedy ever end?
You don’t need to be stupid, as we have come to know the meaning, to be small-minded in this human system. In fact it seems to help to be like this far too often to be merely an anomaly. This system we are reared to obey rewards a certain kind of intelligence: an intelligence which lets one act as if they are the only one on this planet – fuck the consequences of the actions.
These people rise to the top to make the decisions which we must all obey. Forced to do so, we follow their example of only caring for the immediate; living as if our house, our family, were the only things that mattered, as if it is nature itself that orders us to live this way. The only pragmatism we see is that for the benefit of our household, “It’s bad that ….so and so….has happened, but what can we do?”.
Those around me will cut down trees for pragmatic reasons which I too will benefit from: the sliver birch in our garden “will have to come down, it’s bringing up the paving stones and we can’t get into the shed” I also need to use this shed; I too can grasp the pragmatism. But I also look out from the bedroom window and see all the other households acting in a similar fashion with their gardens.
Then I think of the land outside the gardens: the nation’s woodlands which look increasingly threatened as the current government here in the UK plans to sell it off to the highest bidder; i.e. the biggest most destructive company.
Then I think of my own guerrilla plantation of saplings on a grassy verge near a motorway junction, which I have been slowly contributing to over the past 3 years: I feel guilt, because I am undoing myself being part of contingent which will benefit from the chopping down of another tree, in the garden of place where I reside. I feel bad: it’s cutting down will benefit, ever-so-slightly, my own life under this system.
But I also feel the sense of loss; loosing something which has been around for most of my life; something which was good without needing to justify its goodness, something which brought character without having to prove itself; something which makes a place nicer without costing any money, and something that lived a life which did no harm to anybody. All things do pass, there’s no getting around that fact, but that doesn’t give humanity the green light to get rid of it when it feel it is time.
Yet again I hear the reactions to my sadness: “It’s only one fucking tree for god’s sake!”. But this reaction is precisely the one which perpetuates the entire problem of our disregard for the natural environment, from which the sad fact that its absence makes human environment’s ever-more dull and depressing places plays only a minor part next to the fact our disregard is coming back to present the biggest challenge for survival humanity has possibility had since prehistoric times.

About John Ledger

A visual Artist, eternal meanderer and obsessive self-reflector by nature, who can’t help but try to interpret everything from within the tide of society. His works predominantly take the form of large scale ballpoint pen landscape drawings and map-making as social/psychological note-making. They are slowly-accumulating responses to crises inflicted upon the self in the perplexing, fearful, empty, and often personality-erasing human world.

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