Truly Powerful People (419)

Join me in inspiring truly powerful people. Each day I will add a new thought, story or idea to support your quest and mine.

Wikipedia tells me that poiesis is derived from a Greek word meaning “to make.” It is the root of our word poetry and was initially understood as a verb: an action that transforms and continues the world. It implies a reconciliation of humans with the world in which we inhabit.

A word like poeisis can only come from a people less abstracted from nature than are we. Many indigenous people sing the sun to rise each morning; that is an action that transforms and continues the world. There is a different kind of relationship implied when a community believes their actions have the power to continue the world. It is a story of relationship and participation; reconciliation, not dominance. It’s a different kind of story.

Last night I watched a National Geographic special about what would happen to the earth if humans were somehow eliminated. The theme running beneath the disintegration of our cities, collapse of our dams, and disappearance of our roads was how long it would take the earth to recover. How many years would pass without humans before the air cleansed itself of carbon and acid. How many years were required before fish populations recovered, ecosystems transcended our attempt to control things are returned to balance. The message: we are transforming the world and working hard to discontinue our participation.

Earlier in the day I listened to an interview with an ecologist and nature photographer talking about their new book about the signs of collapse in the eco-systems that they’ve been studying and photographing for the past several years. Their message: there is still time, but not much.

This odd word poiesis rolled out of the archives and into my mind. What would we do if we believed that ours to-do was to transform and continue the world – if we chose our actions each day based on our capacity to transform and continue rather than consume and dominate? Poiesis is the root of our word poetry; a verb that implies a reconciliation of humans with the earth we inhabit. Poetry: how to express in language that which cannot be expressed in language. Denial: the refusal to acknowledge the existence of something; the refusal to face unpleasant facts.

What is it that we are attempting to make? What is the story that we are trying to tell?

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