being in relationship with things both alive and not

last week i had a sprawling conversation with a friend about many things. this is me trying to process in written form one of the topics we covered.

maybe it is a failure of western society that we dissect the planet to point where we believe we can’t have a relationship with certain things. (this is not a new thought, of course, but circling back to previously known things at a later time is like wearing grooves in a path. sure, you’ve been there before, but it’s different this time).

anyway, we examine animals, plants, stars, cities under microscopes. we see the pieces and then reduce them to particles, not life.

but what if the particles themselves are life? or maybe a more proper question (again, not a new one) is at what level does a collection of particles cease to be life?

ok. now hold that thought. shift:

in relationships, sometimes (if not always) the value of the relationship is what you imbue it with. it’s not so much about what the thing (object, person, lifeform) on the other end is thinking about or feeling. easy example: stuffed animals. more adult examples: cars, houses. even when we know “for a fact,” that the thing isn’t even alive, sometimes we still manage to imbue it meaning.

ok, so now back to the life question: is it a failure of imagination that we can’t see ourselves in relationship with things like trees and mountains?

so maybe being in a relationship with something (alive or not) is less about whether or not that thing is alive and more about how much meaning we bring to that relationship?

many other groups, cultures, and religions have capacity for this. when people critique indigenous folks for having relationships with trees and the land, what if it’s actually a weakness of ours as opposed to a flaw in theirs?

worst case scenario: being in more “interpersonal” relationships with life around us would (probably) at least make us treat the world differently (for the better, i’d hope).

ok. done. that was weird. heh.

words / writing / post-processing
349w / 14m / 5m