OK, this phrase has been haunting me for at least a month now — asking for a post. I know that I cannot express with words the eloquence of insight this string of words swept through me with. Now however, it will not leave me alone. This phrase, Relationships are the Language of Life!, even wakes me at 2 AM saying, Write!
And so here I am, hoping that if I give expression to this meme now haunting me… that perhaps it will gain life in you and so perhaps be content to let me sleep. Do not say I have not warned you however: this is a meme that seeks to propagate and if you have gotten this far in the reading… well, it may already be too late for you. That is a good thing however, as far as your thrive-ability is concerned.
For surely, the more accurately our world view mirrors the ‘world as it is’, the more wildly resilient and thrive-able we will be in the face of life’s challenges. Take this recent NY Times article regarding African acacia trees, ants, giraffes and elephants. It is so classic that it almost reads like a Once Upon A Time tale…
The scientists thought to protect some acacia trees from browsing giraffes and elephants… and so fenced the trees in. Instead of thriving, in the absence of their leaves being nibbled away, after a period of time the trees began withering instead.
Turns out that there was a species of biting ants that helped protect the trees from being over-browsed, and who, once no longer required by the tree, were cut off their diet of sappy nectar. And in the absence of the bodyguard ants, a wood-boring beetle moved in… catching the trees bereft of their former protectors and vulnerable….
Now the fences are down. The researchers are hoping the ants will come back in time to save the acacia trees from their well-intentioned naivety. Their absence of knowledge, of biognosis, for the complexities of interdependencies and relationships of mutualism, may have condemned the trees.
Their findings… add to the mounting evidence that relationships between plant and animal species can be far more complex than had been thought and that even seemingly benign interference can have devastating effects.
Goethe left us with this bit of wisdom, which we have yet to assimilate:
No living thing is unitary in nature; every such thing is a plurality. Even the organism which appears to us as an individual exists as a collection of independent entities.
Organizational Consultant Margaret Wheatley reminds us that this relational nature is the essence of the universe itself, as well as of human organizations.
The scientific search for the basic building blocks of life has revealed a startling fact: there are none. The deeper that physicists peer into the nature of reality, the only thing they find is relationships. …
The only form of organization used on this planet is the network—webs of interconnected, interdependent relationships. This is true for human organizations as well. Whatever boxes we stuff staff into, people always reach out to those who will give them information, be their allies, offer support or cheer them up. Those lines and boxes are imaginary. The real organization is always a dense network of relationships. — Relationships: The Basic Building Blocks of Life.
And Albert Einstein, in his wisdom reminds us:
We are part of the whole which we call the universe, but it is an optical delusion of our mind that we think we are separate. This separateness is like a prison for us. Our job is to widen the circle of compassion so we feel connected to all people and all situations.
As I said at the beginning of this post, Relationships are the language of life! Becoming literate in that biognosis is the modern human challenge, and a personal one it is too.
Tag, you’re it. Maybe now I can go back to sleep; on the other hand, maybe now I can wake up to ‘the world as it is.’
Note: It is this relational nature of Life that inspires the Wild Resiliency Keystone Process of The Ecological Self. You can read more about this process as well as Our Ground of Being (the world as it is), and their intersection, here.
National Geographic has a series of great short videos on ants, including an incredible one on butterflies and their mutualistic relationship with ants here. A must watch!
You can find more information on symbiosis, acacia’s and ants at Wayne’s World here.
More information on mutualism and its extension to the acacia’s pollinators in an act of “insect conflict resolution” is here.