Monday, October 03, 2005

each day a new adventure

Now is our time for traveling the earth:

We leave the cities to their civic pride.

Now our ship is idling on the sea,

Each night sees another port, another home each day.

#1952: From Rumi's Kolliyaat-e Shams-e Tabrizi

Search word: earth

I figured I'd stick with the earth today and here I find Rumi travelling it rather than digging into it to find treasure. With characteristic irony, Rumi speaks of travelling when in fact he stayed put in his maturer years. It was his youth that was unsettled by many changes of home as his family fled the terror of the Mongol invasions. The lifestyle referred to here is closer to that of a wandering dervish as Shams had been. As Rumi processed his grief at the loss of Shams he would have begun to assimilate Shams into his being, becoming conscious of Shams' qualities as potentially his own.

Each of us contains the opposites whether in reality or in potential inside of us: in this case, the opposites are our civilized stay-at-home selves as contrasted with our wandering gypsy selves. Labelled "farmer" and "hunter" these two ways of life have been linked to human genetics and offered as an explanation for the ADD/ADHD epidemic by Thom Hartmann. In a far different context, Emily Bronte's novel, Wuthering Heights, explores the tension in a woman between her desire for social respectability (Rumi's "civic pride") and a romantic longing to explore her wilder nature (Renata's Rahan). Even if Hartmann is correct that these tendencies are gene-related, I doubt it is a black-and-white relationship. Perhaps the "natural" or genetically programmed hunter will live out a more restless urge while the natural farmer will settle nicely into societal norms. However, within each lies the other, just waiting to find expression in the nooks and crannies of life.

What is most powerful of all is the attitude embodied by each. Whether we have lived in the same place for decades (as Rumi lived in Konya) or wandered the earth restlessly (as Shams did), we can nurture both attitudes at any moment of any day. We can build up our small comforts and securities, our routines and neat formulas, while still facing each new day as a new adventure and a new challenge. We can keep our hunter-self happy and our farmer-self satisfied, acknowledging and loving each other.

And so it is with this blog: My farmer-self is comforted in the assurance that it will happen but my hunter-self looks forward to the surprises that Shams-in-Rumi (almost) never fails to deliver.


At Tuesday, 04 October, 2005, Blogger none said...

That is a fascinating theory regarding attention deficit disorder and the hunter/farmer tendency. I don't believe much of what psychology puts forth (I studied it in college). Mostly it seems like people feeling around in the dark and rushing to form theories to satisfy the masses' craving for solutions. I think it's horrible how millions of people nowadays medicate their children for this supposed attention deficit disorder. Most kids just need to be spanked, or else they truly need to do things, move around, play, have adventures to satisfy their natural restlessness. The greatest failure of American society is the minimal social interaction opportunities it offers.

It's simply a lonely society, built around loneliness. Its rampant consumerism would not work without this well of loneliness that wrongly replaces purchasing with social interacting. For kids, this is devastating. No kid wants to be in the house with his mom every afternoon; kids should play with lots of other kids, outside, on the street. The American solution is to enroll them in an organized soccer program or some other bland sport. It's not the same as free play time.

It's wonderful you should mention Wuthering Heights. I just re-read it last year. What a gorgeous novel! I also re-read Jane Eyre and thought how petty and conventional it seems to me now. When I was a kid I had preferred Jane Eyre, now I see the glory and superiority of Wuthering Heights. Since Emily died young, Charlotte got to "speak" for her in later years. I read some reviews she wrote for WH and she was rather dismissive of it as a teenage fantasy novel, of course veiling her nasty comments in a layer of "sisterly kindness". She truly believed JE was a greater work! How untrue...

At Tuesday, 04 October, 2005, Blogger Arizona said...

Ah, the old spanking! I think this is a lost art form. There is a time and a place to spank well without it escalating into abuse. We're too scared even to talk about it nowadays.

Yes, the loneliness in modern society is painful. We should be building, literally, around community. Providing more public spaces for people to get together and just hang out. Especially the kids.

WH has been a favourite with me since my teen years although I've not reread it now for a couple of decades. It is a strange novel and very original. It even has a cult following as I found when I sought out its internet presence. I'm sure it will outlast her sisters' works.


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