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Not so many words this time (but still some magic) - Musings and Meditations

“Be like the flower, turn your faces to the sun.”

Khalil Gibran

Dear readers and followers of A Biosphere Project,

Since the previous two musings were rather lengthy, this week I will keep the words brief and  mostly share a few images.

Last week I talked about an experience of magic I had in an extraordinary part of the world: the far north of Norway. And I talked about how the recognition of magic might seduce us to start seeing the world again as alive, animated and worth saving.

Magic is everywhere of course, and also shelters in the most modest things and everyday environments, not just in extraordinary locations or in spectacular natural wonders like the northern lights.

For example, on one of my daily morning walks with our dog Cheddar, I recently came across this blue passion flower. It was not the first time I had seen a passion flower, but for some reason the sight of the flower struck me more than usual this time. The improbability of the whole apparition, the eccentric imagination that gives birth to such a frenzied variety of colors and shapes, the sheer excess that shamelessly abandons any somewhat limiting idea of functionality and indulges in a display of useless playfulness and's unbelievable what grows and flourishes on this planet of ours.... Nature is the greatest artist and one that knows no restraint.

Some might object that this flower is not even that beautiful (I have heard that opinion expressed already) and I can see what is meant: it looks a bit over the top, and the combination of shapes in this flower seems almost contrived. But still I love it, this passion flower, just because it is such an extravagant 'over-the -top’ flower. There are of course many other examples of extravagant and improbable forms of life, and one could argue that nature is actually always and everywhere extravagant, eccentric, infinitely imaginative, crazy and uncontrollably exuberant. It is only when (contemporary) mankind gets involved, that you often get monotony, ugliness, lack of imagination and lack of sense of proportion or harmony.

Now I could go into a lot of musings in response to this flower. I could talk about the prevalent idea that this flower, and all flowers, and all wonderful things in nature are merely the result of accidental mutations of "selfish genes" that happened to offer a better chance of survival to meaningless organisms. That is the belief that still defines the standard view of evolution and life and is called ‘neo-Darwinism’. But that idea is actually on its way out, and soon I will let some scientists do the musing on why we should abandon the belief that purely random mutations are responsible for the evolution of the frenzied variety of life forms on our planet.

Or I might elaborate on the healing properties of the passion flower, which has been used for centuries as a sleep-inducing and anti-anxiety agent. In its natural habitat in South America, the passion flower has also been valued for its medicinal properties by indigenous peoples since time immemorial.

And from there the musing could meander into thoughts about the special expertise of the indigenous peoples worldwide, who hold an extraordinary wealth of knowledge about the medicinal and other properties of countless plants, and who also possess a wealth of know-how about how to exist in harmony with an ecosystem, knowledge that we will more than need in the coming transitions to a world that, if we make it, will be far more beautiful than the one we create today.

Or I could talk about the name of this flower, the passion flower, and how that name might tell us something about passion as a fundamental characteristic of nature, something that from our mechanistic worldview we might no longer readily recognize or acknowledge. Passion (together with magic) as the driving force of everything, passion as the engine of evolution and as the attractor that powers synergy and emergence in the Universe.

Or I could think further about the curious geometry that emerges at every scale in the Universe, from the tiniest microorganism to the largest clusters of galaxies, fractal geometric patterns that are expressions of an intelligence that through synergy produces ever more "elegant complexity" in that Universe.

You see, you can start anywhere, from any observation of any “ordinary” object or idea or person, and arrive at the greatest questions of life or at any aspect of science, philosophy, cosmology, spirituality,... in short, you can arrive at literally anything from the most everyday observation while musing and associating. As long as you do not allow yourself to be limited by "common sense" or generally accepted notions of what the world actually is. Every detail connects us to the whole, and vice versa. For "God is in the details," as architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe put it.

But I'm going to leave it all for another time, and limit myself this time to a few images of this extravagant flower, the passion flower.

I was grateful that day that I had noticed and carefully observed this flower with much more attention than usual. Every day we can be grateful and amazed at all that nature gives us of beauty, elegance, imagination, endless variety, and extravagant passion. All that we should cherish and protect. All the beauty and magic that hides modestly in the smallest nooks and crannies of living nature or shines exuberantly, eccentrically and explosively in the greatest panoramas.

In the 'regular' blog of A Biopshere Project (how that blog differs from the 'Musings' you can read here) you can expect a post next week on what is the most effective and urgent way in which each of us can help to safeguard our planet's fantastic but threatened biodiversity. As announced, in the regular blog I will be focusing more on the state of our biosphere, and opportunities for a transition to a new way of existence in our biosphere.

Thanks for reading, until the next installment,

All the best to you,




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