Saturday, February 2, 2008

Human Design

I recently read Nurtured by Love, by Schin'ichi Suzuki, and was absolutely floored that a man who lived through a terrible war, at times forced to scavenge river bottoms for moss to eat, could have such a deep faith that human beings are essentially creative, beautiful and loving.

Among the lessons I gleaned from the book:

1) Humans are a product of their environment and training. Immerse your child in a world of love and beauty, and they will flourish.

2) Practice makes perfect. Forget the myth that you have to be born with some sort of special talent to do something. Simply practice the skill you wish to attain over and over and over (thousands or hundreds of thousands of times). He encourages us to look on such practice as play. Enjoy learning! In fact, he taught himself to play the violin at age 17 by listening to records and imitating them. Talk about dedication.

3) Don't grumble, scold, or manipulate children. Just model the behavior you want them to display.

4) If you find yourself procrastinating or resistant to achieving your own goals, it is probably because you were coerced as a child. (I felt a strong and deep understanding of this, based on my own experience.) Find away to talk to yourself with love, but be persistent and determined to achieve what you want.

5) Surround yourself and your children with people of culture, wisdom, and creativity who model the values you wish to emulate.

Reading about Suzuki's life, I wished with all my heart to believe that all humans, deep down, are born to be bringers of light and love and beauty. I wanted to immediately connect deeply with every person, to see their inner light (Namaste--I bow to the god within you), to "grok" them fully as Robert Heinlin would say.

But practically speaking, I think there is something missing in this picture. A recent conversation on the Path of Health about personal appearance led me to reflect on my own observations of human design. By design, I refer to the particular quirks that all members of a species share.

Humans are the animals that must try everything. We have put literally everything on the planet in our mouths. There are people who eat sheep intestines or raw whale blubber and call them a delicacy. Who figured out how to take a hard, tasteless grass kernel and turn it into bread. Seriously, who was the first person to dig a muddy carrot or a turnip and try a bite?

We have tried to live in every environment we encounter, no matter how inhospitable. Why would you want to live shivering in a frozen wasteland that is dark almost all day, for months out of the year? Whose idea was it to build huge cities in the middle of the desert?

If we can conceive it, we try to build it. We are inventors, improvisers. We rely on the magic of our imagination! Most of the time, we do things JUST BECAUSE WE CAN. It doesn't have to be a good idea. All ideas must become reality.

This is reflected in the way we approach our appearance. No other animal goes to such amazing lengths to alter their form. And yet, we do such incredible violence to ourselves in the process. Tattoos, piercing, pouring toxic chemicals on our hair, coating ourselves with colored minerals. Then there are more painful traditions such as foot-binding, neck lengthening and circumcision.

Why? Why are we so deeply dissatisfied with ourselves, as Nature (or Goddess or whoever) created us? We stamp our feet like little children. "NO! You can't make me. I MAKE MYSELF!" (Even if that means I make myself ugly, evil or sick.) But deep beneath this seems to be the little voice of dissatisfaction that both spurs us to greater heights and drags us into deeper despair... "You are not good enough," it whispers. This little voice may be the only human design flaw.

I choose not to listen. I celebrate my animal nature. I let hair grow in the color and places it wants to. I eat the food I was designed to eat. And very soon, I plan to move back to the tropical warmth where I belong.

I'll save my creativity for creating art and beauty. Maybe I'll teach myself to play the violin.


Queen B said...

Go on tropical-greenmama! Where's it gonna be? Where are you going girl?

I loved this post! I just wonder if maybe that little "you're not good enough" voice is what drives us on and maybe even what gives us some sort of purpose... However, I personally would give up all drive and purpose if I could just get that little voice to shut up or at least speak nicely to me!!! Geez.
Blessings to you and happy tropical paradise hunting...

Anonymous said...

Why Greenmama, I believe you have begun to wake up and smell the bananas! It seems that you are finding your way again. :)

pixywinks said...

"Find away to talk to yourself with love, but be persistent and determined to achieve what you want."

Thanks for sharing.

Greenmama said...

Thanks so much, y'all.

Connie, I definitely feel like I am "awakening"!

:), Marjorie

Sarah said...

Love this post. :) I keep telling Kevin that I wouldn't have been given hair if it wasn't meant to be there, but he won't listen to me! :D