Perhaps those who painted on the walls of caves were grappling with the seeming contradiction of wildness and wiseness, of wildness and domestication, of the instinctual and the defined, of mystery unveiled, of domination and submission. In domesticating animals, humans were also domesticated.
Perhaps they were contemplating, exploring, cultivating their human-nature, all that which is most essential in the human being, that which connects the human being to nature and to the divine – an awakened, luminous mind, a pure consciousness, a life free of the encumbrances, the grasping and clingings of attachments – sensual attachment, attachment to opinions, attachment to rites and rituals, and attachment to the idea of selfhood.
I jest, in part, but why not? When did such thinking begin? When did someone, a visionary, a poet, a prophet, first consider those powers outside and greater than him or herself?
Frederick, by Leo Lionni, my favourite children’s book, comes to mind. Frederick’s labour, his contribution, was that of the perception, the meditation upon, and the interpretation of the essentials of nature, such that he could later recall them vividly, unfolded in words that could imbue them with life anew. Frederick is a field mouse. Frederick is a poet.