About time to leave Maui. Hawaiian shirts have been bought. Waves have been boogie-boarded. Some tropical photons have managed to make it through SPF 30 and gifted me a take-home tan.
I'll let a Maui resident, James Miner, do much of the speaking today. He wrote an intriguing letter that was published in the Maui News last Saturday—a philosophical cut above the usual letter to the editor fare.
It speaks to me on several levels. Over on my other blog I wrote a few days ago that Maui overdevelopment makes for sad sights. That's part of what Miner is getting at.
But just a part. Almost everywhere the land is being overdeveloped. So are our psyches. Surely there's a connection between the two.
Unnatural buildings going up here, the product of minds divorced from natural ways of being.
I've spent a lot of time in the ocean the past ten days, flowing this way and that. Swimming across Napili Bay I'd feel more or less in control. Boogie-boarding down the face of a large breaking wave—I was in the grip of something much more powerful than myself.
Regardless, the ocean is a great teacher. Even when you can't describe the lessons you've learned. Like Miner says, instinct trumps ideology the closer you are to nature.
Wave. Board. Man. Coming together just so…ahhh.
At such moments, life is marvelously simple and satisfying. Could every moment be such a moment?
Here's Miner's letter:
According to evolutionary theory, at some point in prehistory we were all indigenous peoples. We leveraged our higher intellect to survive and thrive while remaining consciously attuned to our instinctual roots.
We understood the language of nature because we knew we were a part of nature. We interacted creatively with the elemental world, recognizing the intimate relationship between spirit and matter.
At some juncture a division appeared in the indigenous mind between intuition and instinct. Intuition became deified while instinct was demonized. Our intuitive resources gazed heavenward, forsaking our original intimate relationship with earth and nature.
We began to worship ideals and forces disconnected from earth, succumbing to what many anthropologists call "ideological pathology."
Now we chase imaginary ideals like a carrot on a stick. We worship religious ideals completely devoid of environmental responsibility. We deify polarized political and economic systems. We crave mass accouterments of power and status. We laud attention on the fluff of celebrity emanating from the "divine" portal of video technology, hoping to avoid the eventual crash of our addictive denial.
Because we view life through such a narrow bandwidth of ideology, we comprehend no other language. We now view nature as this mute, foreign, organic substance needing to be conquered, consumed and manipulated. Because nature expresses without a human dialect, we proclaim it devoid of spirit.
This is how we view Haleakala – a distant molehill voyeuristically framed in religious or scientific fundamentalism. Can you hear Haleakala calling? Can you feel her?