When we walk on the forest floor, the part of the tree we are given at eye-level is the narrowest point, the trunk, slightly above the tree’s midpoint.

To see how the trunk spreads itself upward into the open light, we can simply turn our faces to the sky. However, to see how the trunk spreads downward, we have to dig with our hands, and come to terms with dirt and sweat. Tender leaves and delicate blossoms will not be found down there. This is where the tree braces itself against the weather and procures its nourishment. Below the ground, a tree is not fucking around: it is all business.

That’s one way to see it.


Through a seed, the world organizes itself into a tree.

It is also true that a seed “grows” into a tree. We know what this means. But let’s not get carried away with the usefulness of our habitual intellectual devices. Objectivity is instrumentally useful (techne), but this usefulness is true in a certain limited sense; it does not make it “the truth”. To get closer to something like “the truth” we must acclimate ourselves to a different and larger mode of knowing, a mode where we consciously articulate meaningful order out of the whole: the profoundly chaotic world we have arisen and awakened within. What is this chaos, essentially? It is akin to being an infant, or waking up from a deep afternoon nap.

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