Friday, August 07, 2009

What An Oak Tree Can Teach Us

Ah! I like this. From Hillman's The Soul's Code: In Search of Character and Calling

The essence of the oak is all there at once. Theologically, the acorn is like one of Augustine's nationes seminales or seminal reasons. As far back as the Stoics, Gnostics, and Platonists such as Philo, some ancient thought held that the world was filled with spermatikoi logoi - word seeds or germinal ideas. These are present in the world from its beginning as the primordial a priori that gives form to each thing. And these spermatic words make it possible for each thing to tell of its own nature - to ears that can hear. The idea that nature speaks, especially through the voice of a talking oak, remained a vivid fantasy through the ages and was still a subject of paintings a hundred years ago.

Trees fascinate me. When we were looking for a house 19 years ago, mature trees on the land were a requirement for me. Their meaning reaches deep inside me. Hillman's book is an extended discourse on one metaphor or teaching from the mighty oak.

1 comment:

S.P. Lunger said...

Just checking back in after awhile. I'm glad to see you are enjoying (or enjoyed) the Hillman book. It's in my top 10 and I don't see it slipping lower any time soon.

I have a psychologist friend who believes that many aspects of ADHD are attributable to losing our proximity to the trees, nature, and wide-open spaces. She noted one (small) study in which children who took recess on the grass concentrated better than those who took it on pavement. I don't have a link for the study so I can't confirm it at this point. But it's a very fascinating idea.

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