“Always tell the truth. Then you don't have to remember anything.”
Mark Twain

Roughin' it

False Beauty

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I am sitting in the airport in Bucharest awaiting boarding a flight to Israel. I arrived by a brief (50 minute) evening flight from Cluj to Bucharest so the world was wrapped in warm sunset light and deepening shadows. As I observed the world I was awed by the power of us humans to shape our world.

When the flaps of the plan opened I saw some of their internal machinery – metal plates, pipes, screws, spring … all working together … and I thought what a masterful insrtrument the airplane was.

I saw numerous roads under construction … especially the elegant ‘s’ shapes of on and off ramps in the works … that connected side roads (some of which do not yet exist) to the main road. I tried to imagine how they went about just laying out on the ground such a perfect shape (as seen from sitting in airplane high above) … then the tremendous amounts of materials and work that were needed to build up these elegant shapes to support the weight of moving traffic.

Most of all though I was overwhelmed by the vast straight lines of fields where food is grown. Many of these fields have been either recently plowed or planted … some still bare brown others already overtaken by green. These fields stretched as far as my eye could see … except for high mountain ranges … and became denser and tightly arranged closer to populated areas.

Amongst the fields that were patches of woods … some gently covering curvy hills … othersending in abrupt straight lines as they arrive at roads or fields. At the ends of the woods I could see thin lines of entire trees … each such thin line a mass of energy … a few trees can keep a room warm through a cold winter.

After moving into a village life, closer to nature, closer to self-sustenance … I now view these straight fields as a disaster. I know that from up close their earth is dying. Nothing grows there any more without chemicals … nothing should … nature doesn’t grow massive quantities of single crops in straight lines. Nature relies on diversity and chaos … it achieves order on different scales.

Yet what struck me the most was thinking of how beautiful the fields were … despite knowing what I know about them … and I wondered then about beauty. How did I arrive at such a perception of beauty … one that I know represents terrible devastation. Where did I learn this false-beauty? Were there other false-beauties in my consciousness. Would I  recognize them? Would I be able to get past them?

Disclaimer: when I wasn’t looking at the world outside the window I was reading the Samkhya Karika.

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