Original Thinking

Original Thinking: A Radical ReVisioning of Time, Humanity, and Nature, by Glenn Aparicio Parry. North Atlantic Books. 2015

We all know that polluting the land, the water, and the air—and treating fellow creatures as unfeeling resources to be exploited–is wrong and unsustainable.

The Time, Space, Knowledge vision has helped me to care about Earth and the many life forms that depend on her, but the state of our world is crying out for a radical vision of human responsibility that has the power to actively transform our behavior.

Native communities have much to teach us about patience, gratitude, and respect for the land that sustains us all, but admiration from a distance has not detained the accelerating destruction afoot upon the planet. A hopeful message in “Original Thinking” is that science, the golden child of our modern society, is returning to a traditional understanding of Nature.

“Quantum Theory . . . is completely at odds with . . . the paradigm that time is a line, that solid objects exist alongside other solid objects in space, and that our consciousness is separate from the things we observe.” “Original Thinking”, page 25.

The TSK vision resonates with this message in a dozen books. More important than a scientific theory resonating with the TSK vision is that a traditional understanding has been preserved which lives it. Our society’s attempt to mechanically manipulate the future–placing all its chips on a materialistic form of knowledge—is failing. Could we instead view time as integral, humanity as anchored in time and place, and nature as our home?

When westerners and native elders were asked: “Is it possible to have an original thought?” westerners took it as a challenge to transcend old paradigms, while the elders treated it as a reminder that the origins of awareness are rooted in a particular time and place. Then, as though straight from the TSK vision, Grandfather Leon observed: Time is the fifth element.

When they are treated as zones of inanimate matter, we feel free to manipulate rivers, air, and earth in the name of progress. Similarly, when treated as an external force bearing down on us and an opportunity to profit from its application (time is money), we miss the living heart of time.

How can we access the wholeness to which we owe our being if we don’t treat the rivers as drawn from the same waters as are alive in our cells and blood, the air as the global nutrient we draw upon with each breath, the land as the parent of the minerals of our bodies, the light of the Sun as the energy flowing in our neurological pathways, and the dynamic wholeness of time as the inner rhythm dancing in every gesture, season, and revelation?

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