THE POWER OF THE WORDS
“I place myself as all the creatures
And thus create
The tide is turning
The tide is turning
Earth join the fleet.”
ruth weiss, Turnabout, from the documentary ruth weiss, The Beat Goddess.
WORDS are timeless messengers of a vision, of a cause. Sometimes, words can evoke a thought, an emotion. Sometimes, words can provoke a revolt, bring out an idea, or realize it. Sometimes, words can change the world.
ruth weiss, who wanted her name written in lowercase as a symbolic protest against “law and order,” passed away on July 31, 2020. She wrote the poem Turnabout, in 1988, in protest against the oil rigs which the government was thinking of installing in Fort Bragg, California.
ruth was over ninety when she passed away. She was an icon of profound wisdom, and deeply convinced that, with the POWER OF POETRY, with the POWER OF WORDS, the world can be changed.
ruth was one of the few women, if not the only one, to emerge in the Beats group with her blue-green hair and activist spirit at a time when rebellious women were kept quiet. ruth and Jack Keroauc would get lost in conversation, sipping a few glasses of wine, for entire nights, watching the sunrise. They curled up in the thin air laden with the San Francisco fog at the bottom of a steep, uphill road, in a car that his friend Neal Cassidy got. Together with the other Beats, they loved freedom, jazz, and the continuous FLOW OF THE WORDS in poetry, without rules, which followed that flow to the rhythm of music.
ruth and The Beats loved and respected Mother Earth in her completeness and for her cathartic power almost as if they were on a road trip through wild nature. They felt hopelessly connected to this adventure as if they were animals eager to live by pure instinct like ruth, who, until the end of her existence, lived in a forest north of San Francisco where she “talked” to the trees.
ruth always believed that POETRY was charged with quasi-shamanic power. With her words, she wanted people to know how much oil rigs hurt our planet, especially whales, but even humanity itself.
“The whales… The whales… The whales always warned us that something was changing… That nature was in danger… That the Earth was dying… When they ran aground on the beach… When they emanated that last magical song of theirs to the sea,” she recalled a few months before she died when Alessandra met and interviewed her at Cinequest, the Film & Creativity Festival , in San Jose, Silicon Valley, California. “Since the days of the Beats, humanity was aware of its dangerous and devastating work, humanity realized how Mother Earth was in danger,” she recalled, unable to forget the whales she had seen stranded on the beach.
THE POWER OF THE MOMENTS
There are MOMENTS that help us reflect, such as seeing a large cetacean lose its life in vain on a desolate shore, losing its way like a soul adrift that dissolves into the sea of absurdities and ineffectiveness.
There are MOMENTS that are worth a lifetime, unforgettable moments of pure serendipity that are lost on the distant horizon of space and thought.
There are MOMENTS of pain that help us grow.
There are MOMENTS of light or awareness, capable of leaving an indelible mark on the history and evolution of the planet, just like the “butterfly effect” in the chaos theory. It includes the technical notion of dependence upon natural conditions, in which a single movement can change the entire system.
THE POWER OF THE ACTIONS
The simple ACTION of one individual can save the world. In the “butterfly effect”, the idea is that small variations in initial conditions produce widely diverging, long-term, behavioral results of a system. In this way, a single action, like a single idea, can determine the future in an unpredictable way.
In a 1963 article for the New York Academy of Sciences, Edward Lorenz, the first to analyze the so-called “butterfly effect,” wrote, “A meteorologist observed that if the theory were correct, a flap of the wings of a seagull could change time forever.” Lorenz preferred then to use the poetic figure of a butterfly, even though we must not lose sight of the seagull’s nobility and clairvoyance, his desire for freedom, his ability to fly, and his ability to see far.
The idea originates from Richard Bach’s book, Jonathan Livingston Seagull, where it turns out that, after all, a seagull is not so different from a human being: “The little nonconformist Jonathan Seagull can see a new way of living, a path that will take him away from the banality and emptiness of his previous lifestyle, and he understands that in addition to food, a seagull lives on the light and heat of the sun, the wind that blows, the waves crashing on sea and fresh air.”
THE POWER OF MANKIND
MANKIND must look, not only to the present, but also far ahead to the future.
MANKIND must strive to foresee what will happen or what might happen.
MANKIND must act.
MANKIND must do something to save the world. We must never underestimate the possible, profound value of even a small or minimal action.
MANKIND is nature. When mankind is surrounded by uncontaminated nature, it rediscovers a profound connection with its surroundings.
It reconnects with its origins, to the beginning of everything. It magically feels like part of the universe. The senses are involved in an incredible kaleidoscope of smells, emotions, auditory, and olfactory sensations, and perceptions that stimulate creativity and the power of listening that inspire one to become more instinctive, and also, wiser.
Even those who are the most insensitive and disinterested in wild nature can be placed irremediably under its spell, remain indelibly touched in the soul, and then return to the modern world, to the great metropolis, with something intrinsic in their blood, impossible to understand, and impossible to forget.
THE POWER OF NATURE
NATURE has been in danger for some time. Forests, oceans, air, water, and animals are threatened by the devastating and abusive power of humanity and all the problems it brings with it: unbridled deforestation, climate change, air pollution, and mountains of ever-increasing waste.
NATURE must be protected, and the question cannot be put off any longer. Proof of this is found in the devastating problems caused by climate change, perhaps the greatest threat to the planet and the most urgent to remedy.
The consequences of the greenhouse effect and, therefore, of global warming are now beyond man’s control. So are the melting of perennial ice and polar ice caps and the rise in sea levels, the increase in extreme weather phenomena with the danger of devastating floods, and tragic periods of drought and irrepressible fires. Moreover, habitat change, along with reckless hunting and fishing, has led to the extinction of numerous animal species and has put even more of them at risk.
NATURE must be respected. The continuous increase in the world average temperature should not be underestimated; it brings with its serious problems for human health, too. It makes us realize how respect for nature is fundamental for the survival of humanity itself.
THE POWER OF IDEAS
IDEAS or a thought can give rise to a revolution of minds. There is no more time to waste because every minute is crucial now. For this reason, everyone should be involved in supporting a NEW MOVEMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL AWARENESS to save the beautiful universe that surrounds us. It is not only science that can save us. Above all else, our sensitivity and love will prevail because they speak directly to our hearts, because they descend deeply into our souls, because they reach the brain and push us to act.
IDEAS are not numbers, they run wild and free in the air, just like the poetry of a beat poet. After all, despite advances in modern technology, in the end, emotions and feelings are still what make change possible. They are the incredible and infinite mystery that humanity guards, full of unpredictability and equations that do not have a fixed result.
IDEAS are the source of every action, even more so than statistics, which are equally important for understanding how the situation will evolve, for exercising efficient control and monitoring everything. However, it is by winning people’s hearts that they can be led to take a stand, to develop a mature, collective environmental awareness, to foster and promote a global rescue program.
THE POWER OF THE ANCESTORS
An old proverb of the Native Americans who lived in the Shenandoah territories states, “Being born as a human on this Earth is a very sacred trust. We have a great responsibility, precisely for the special gift we have had, which goes beyond the beautiful gifts of plants, fish, woods, birds, and all other living beings on Earth. We are able to take care of them.”
With great foresight, a Lakota leader, Birgil Kills Straight, said, “Without Mother Earth, we would not be here, and, yet, we are killing her; we are destroying the air and water; we are taking all her powers, natural powers. It can be devastating for our lives, and not just for the Lakotas, but for all human beings.”
“Did you know that trees talk?” asked a great Native American chief, Tatanga Mani Assiniboine. “Well, they do. They talk to each other, and they talk to you, if you listen. The problem is, whites don’t listen. They have never learned to listen to Native Americans, so I don’t think they will listen to other voices in nature, but I learned a lot from the trees, sometimes about the weather, sometimes about the animals, sometimes about the Great Spirit.”
Another Native American chief, Saupaquant Wampanoag, said, “We must not let our ideals make us satisfied with ourselves. Each of us contributes, to a greater or lesser extent, to the exploitation and destruction of the Earth, to waste and pollution. We simply have a chance to get closer to the right path. Not all at once, but gradually in this direction, until we can get back on track. Voices still speak to the listener.”
We must listen to these words of eternal wisdom and learn from them. We have to BUILD OUR FUTURE and TAKE ACTION to save our world, and ourselves, too.