WHITE NOISE OF LIFE
When I left the farm in 1965 and gained access to a university library and people with new kinds of thoughts I found that many of my assumptions about life and my place in it were suspect or outright wrong. In those days my white noise consisted of my inherited rural Kentuckian beliefs echoing among verses from the Tao Te Ching, TV scenes from Vietnam while learning flower anatomy, Blacks being beaten in Selma as I read Mahatma Gandhi's autobiography, all the while dealing with my own soup of teenage hormones, and ignorance. I almost lost my way in that blizzard of white noise.
However, I did find a way through my time of disorientation, and now I want to describe my path in case someone else wants to try it.
The path consisted of identifying certain basic paradigms of Nature, and trying to live in harmony with them.
By "paradigm of Nature" I mean any motif -- any theme or dominant pattern -- in Nature that repeats again and again in different contexts. As a hypothesis confirmed by experiments matures into a theory, a pattern exhibiting itself very frequently in many situations grows into a paradigm.
For me, a natural paradigm's importance lies in this thought: That if the Universal Creative Force displays a certain way of getting things done again and again in many disparate contexts -- frequently enough for a paradigm to be recognized -- then there's a good chance that that paradigm displays a pattern worth considering for my own problems.
Here are three of Nature's most obvious paradigms, which I try to live by:
- Natural resources are to be used sparingly, shared with other living things, and recycled
- Our living patterns should be sustainable in the long run
- Diversity is sacred
Other paradigms are sometimes glimpsed but just trying to honor the above three has been enough to structure the life I am living. Striving to live in harmony with them has bestowed on me a peacefulness and sense of meaning adequate for a whole lifetime.
With natural paradigms there is no white noise, for they become visible spontaneously and fully formed to anyone who seeks them. One gives himself or herself time to think in a peaceful setting where Nature expresses Herself, and the insights blossom forth clear and distinct. No white noise at all...