Let me begin with a new idea: Have you ever had someone present an idea to you that was so completely totally different from the one you have now, that your mind simply can’t accept it? Like how people must have felt when someone broke it to them that the earth was not the center of the Universe? They hung that guy.
Or when we discovered that the earth was round and not flat (which some people still find controversial…). A new idea that allot of people had a hard time adjusting to.
When I was at Uluru in Australia (the four most educational days of my life…) I was presented with a “new idea”. I learned that the aboriginal people don’t believe in some of the concepts and ideas that we find very natural – like competition, agriculture, and creating towns and villages and teaching children how to read. My first reaction to these ideas was probably the same as yours:
“You must be competitive as a culture – how else will you have goals to strive for and landmarks to achieve. Competition is natural. Good. Healthy.
You must plant agriculture – Because how else will you create food?
You must make towns and villages! How else will you accumulate security?”
Leroy, our brilliant story telling tour guide explained it this way:
You plant an apple tree – and now you claim you own it. You own the fruit on it.
You feed it. Water it. Spend time with it. protect it. And eat from it.
It’s your tree.
One day, someone comes and takes “your” fruit. This creates two problems mate: a -conflict between people b- ownership of that which cannot be owned. The tree belongs the the land – the fruit belongs to the tree. if you treat the tree well, it will give you fruit. If you eat what is around you on the land, the land will live in balance with your needs.
2- You don’t build a village because then you are doing the same thing as with the tree – there is no land that can belong to you. You have to travel to where the land can best feed and sustain you. Nomadic movement is natural. and 3- communal identities create separation – and everyone is the same. No separation.
Remember – Australian Aboriginals have stories which date back now estimated at 60,000 years. Cave illustrations recently have been dated at a conservative 46 thousand years. Nearly 30 thousand years older than our native cultures in Europe and North America. Through their stories Aboriginal Australians have taken on the task of singing “Song Lines” of the earth, through instruments carved by man and nature, such as the didgeridoo. They function in the Dream Time where the ephemeral Rainbow Serpent abides – she who created the earth and hold it all together with “Jarkupa” the law of the land. Aboriginal Art is incredibly important in understanding both the perspective of their culture but perhaps also a new idea about how to see the world.
Most aboriginal art is done as an “astral travel’ perspective, the consciousness of the artists hanging high above her subject. Paintings often represents maps, in effect. Even those painting which tell the great stories of the seven sisters and Orion, of the Great dingo, or the star people are presented as maps pathways. The simple and seemingly obvious and repetitive symbols passed down through illustrations that are still clearly seen on the cave walls after as long as 46 thousand years, tell vivid stories of the Rainbow Serpent and how she carved the bones of the earth for all that lives on it.
She made the law – Jarkupa – and it is unmistakable and clear; the rules are simple.
Fairness. Equality. Survival is a group effort.
Everything is connected – through the Serpent.
And the consequences for breaking the law- Jarkupa – are immutable.
You mess with my woman, we bring you to a circle with all the men – we throw spears at you. You live – it’s over. Don’t do it again. You don’t live, that’s too bad. You broke the law.
For women – you mess with my man, I take out my woman’s stick and I beat the shit out of you. You live – cool. We can be friends but don’t do it again. You don’t live. Too bad. You broke the law.
Might seem harsh to us – but how many of our problems in our personal lives and our communities exist because we harbour resentment and anger – internalizing feelings that we medicate or douse with drugs alcohol, work avoidance.
there is sanity n dealing with things up front and lettnig them go.
There is clarity in the laws – no grey areas messed around with by our enigmatic ability to make thigns complicated when they don’t need to be.
God we are complicated.
Aboriginal Australians recognize that certain things do not require a ‘law” but are known within the soul of a person.
So, are they right about no-competition?
Are the Olympics helpful or not helpful anymore?
Aboriginal people do not put one person up against another – like in a wrestling competition. I think they figure they have enough problems living on the dangerous land they do, without creating conflict between each other. They don’t – for example – allow boys to compete in sports. They encourage work together and learn to hunt or fish. But they don’t compete. Philosophically they told me that competition, ownership and false pride – are the critical elements that have caused the our falling of of sync with the planet that we live on. I am inclined to agree.
But here in the west we are far from the influences of the desert, and our history is based on things we have been told, by the ancient Greeks the founding culture of the Olympics. We assume things like competition, winning and loosing are as natural as breathing oxygen – but they really aren’t. They are ideas we have been taught – like the world is flat and and moon is made of cheese.
The Olympics were founded in Olympia Greece in 776 BC. They were held in Greece and only by Greeks until the first International games also held in Greece in 1896. There was not another Olympics held in Greece after this for 108 years. In 1896, the IOC or International Olympic Committee was founded and it was agreed that the games would move from one nation to another from then on. The next games were held in Paris four years later in 1900.
When the Olympics happen – we have a feeling of “national pride”. It’s a good feeling and one we cater to with “National pride” marketing galore. Economies boom – Favelas are ignored.
But in reality “national pride” “religious pride” or really “pride” in anything, is at the basis of so many of our conflicts.
The Aboriginals are right – “pride” brings separation. And the belief that we are separate from each other and the living things around us – is a big big problem for the earth. Does the Olympics contribute to separation?
Lets face it, the world changes so quickly now, with everything we know about each other because of the internet, and how we relate to one another as cultures and individuals because of our technological connections, and a greater ease and economy in travel which has allowed us to connect in real time with one another, we are much more knowledgeable about each others cultures, habits and beliefs.
The lesson that is always learned by individuals and nations after International events? How similar we are. How we are all the same.
You do realize that we are all one?
The Olympics is not just any international event – it was created in this manner for the purpose of putting our political and economic differences aside to just be together as humans and enjoy our potential.
This is a good idea. No doubt the entire world needs to relax.
Maybe the purpose of the Olympics brings us a snap shot picture of this picture of peace. An “Act as if” every four years. A peaceful Global pool party. Above and beyond the aspect of competition, maybe it is even more beneficial to us just to have goals, and come together in some united form that is for fun, for games for pleasure. and enjoy each others greatest abilities on display, give other kids hope and goals and things to reach for.
Maybe one day it will become an ACTUAL global event where all countries are welcome t.
Here’s to praying for continued peaceful games.