If there is anything that can be defined so close to being “self-sustainable”, the tree would be that thing. Tress can last for hundreds of years – in some cases, thousands – purely by the way nature and weather operates. For that, it may seem like we as humans under-appreciate just how valuable trees are. Yes, there are aspects that we’re aware of (such as oxygen, enrichment, contrasting looks…an embodiment of nature itself) but the stature of trees are overlooked. What’s worse is that we are the primary culprits for destroying trees: deforestation, logging, even when planting to seeds to grow new trees it has to be in the right location and have good soil. We don’t think about trees unless someone is talking about trees being destroyed at an exponential rate.
There is a connection between trees and the human mind, in that both can be sustainable for a long time, however they do slowly erode and deteriorate in time. And personally, a tree can look very similar to a brain (thanks due to the bizarre directions that branches can grow in). And as Andrew Carnie’s piece Dendritic Forms showed, there is a connection between nature, the human mind and art. What remains is the lack of importance shown by us in regards to trees and our minds.
A method to improve both the state of trees and the state of our minds, is through maintenance. For trees, it is through sunlight, water and soil; for brains, it is through utilisation. Without any of these, the degradation process for both can be swift. Even with the right care undertaken, however, there will be erosion and deterioration through old age.
This brings forward the term of sustainability, for trees nor the brain can be sustainable forever, only for the period that it is capable of surviving. This does not mean that attempts to sustain them are fruitless, for that would only accelerate the deterioration. It is only through care and nurturing that it is paramount to have trees and the brain in a healthy state. Making sure that trees are in healthy condition can go a long way in determining not just of the state of the environment, but of the location and also of the people encompassing that environment.
That brings me to the requiring of maintenance; of sustainability in regards to trees. If more people envisioned trees as a physical manifestation of their mind, what would it look like? Would it be healthy and bountiful in leaves? Would it be colourful, reminiscent of images recorded by the Human Connectome Project? Would it be breaking down in front of your very eyes because of neglect? To have a tree mirror the current state of ones mind would highlight the importance of not just the mind, but to connect more with the environment around us. Because if the tree is comparable to the mind, then would the environment around the tree not be thought of as the body?
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