Why Can’t We Accept That Some Things Are Beyond Our Control?

I love it when the mind of some other human being melds with my own. This happened again today – not physically, but through the medium of writing (and reading of course). And while what I share with you now may lie outside the things I normally talk about, it is nevertheless important. We are, and need to elevate our thinking to also be, a good bit more than one(or two)-dimensional.

I am reminded of the quote from John Michael Greer listed in my all-time favourites (whose blog now closed, but the wisdom remains)

Knowing many stories is wisdom.

Knowing no stories is ignorance.

Knowing only one story, is death.

The Wayuu, as I learned today, are an indigenous Columbian people, driven by ‘things beyond their control’ into a life – we of the West might refer to as a mere existence – a life of acceptance of the way things are. Westerners may have something to learn from them as we ourselves await the coming crash of civilisation. An event which is likely to place us in much the same position as the Wayuu currently enjoy. Is ‘enjoy’ really the right word to use here? We had better come to believe and accept that it is – foreign as that may seem to us now.

A recent story of the Wayuu, which provides profound insight into the people and their attitude to life, is found in the article – Left To You – by O.A. Clarke – released May 20, 2021, Renegade Inc – but originally published in 2018 (as annotated in the article). The story may have something to teach us that will be of benefit as we grope our way forward to a somewhat puzzling and uncertain future. A future where we are unlikely to be able to exercise the degree of control we currently think we have over our increasingly uncertain present.

If you are not frightened by such prospect, given all that you have accumulated in the present, then you certainly should be. Or perhaps should certainly not be, if you can grasp the potential of a Wayuu way of life and thinking.

It is a situation worthy of contemplation and examination, is it not?

I suggest that O.A. Clarke’s 6 minute read would, in that light, be a useful investment in time as a starter pack towards such a way of thinking.

Should you wish to add this to your hopefully growing list of wisdom stories, then I want to pique your interest in doing that by sharing this short extract (all emphasis is mine). Then I will say no more. The rest is… ‘Left To You’.

Threats to the Wayuu come from the natural world, government policies that harm their environment and from bandits — all three of which stand outside of their community and accepted as beyond their control. Wayuu, for example, regularly sing to their cattle in the morning. What may seem to many in the West as a pleasant, idiosyncratic feature of Wayuu culture is to the Wayuu, a genuine, albeit gentle, economically motivated coaxing of nature. Singing indicates reverence to the natural world and also, in its inherent playfulness, the limitations of their ability and place to dominate it.

Modern Western society has to a far greater extent felt the need to overcome its physical environment as a hallmark of progress. It has built an infrastructure where collective action is no longer needed to ensure physical survival. In its place lies a system that enables us to all, in theory, accumulate wealth, knowledge, technology and status, which should necessarily create a life more comfortable, enjoyable and fulfilling.

Such is our dependence on accumulation to bring about this contentment, that it is accumulation, utterly superfluous to actual survival, that our sense of survival actually centers around.

Extract from Left To You – by O.A. Clarke

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