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Suburban Tree Dialog 4 (New Genesis)

Tree: Lets talk about a new Genesis. I have much longer thoughts than humans but it seems that you have learned a lot about my world and how far back trees go. I want you to try to make a new Genesis story out of that.

Me: OK I’ll give it a try. The old pattern was God -> Earth with water -> rain -> man -> planting a garden -> putting man in the garden -> making the garden grow what is good for man -> adding the tree of life and the tree of knowledge.

A new Genesis story that puts mankind, tree, in a more realistic ecological relationship, without exclusion of a conscious origin of the universe, but with no creator God in charge of events in a linear causal chain of events that lead to man as an endpoint, would sound something like this;


  1. God, formless, all encompassing, and all knowing, held everything that had the potential to become in the undifferentiated state of formless unity beyond conception of one or many
  2. God conceived particularization of it’s formlessness by creating a single form that held all the potential of God’s formlessness
  3. The single thing of God knew its form and the unformed source of its form in the formlessness of God
  4. The single thing also understood that the vast potential of the one thing was best expressed through the creation of many things so the potential of the formless one could unfold.
  5. The single thing then started to expand and divide it’s self into many very small distinct things and to create an expanding space that all things shared.
  6. The single thing now began to know its self from the perspectives of many distinct things that were continually becoming, and a participatory space that was expanding to allow more room for the increasing of many small things.
  7. Space seemed different than thing but they were all an expression of the limitless potential of the undifferentiated God and the one thing that was now dividing into an unending manyness and creating space.
  8. This expanding space and the dividing/multiplying things appearing within it was capable of unfolding change because time became apparent as part of the distance of space. With time and space the small individual things were able to change as time progressed.
  9. The things that formed began to know themselves through their way of interacting with each other through the flowing medium of space, time, gravity and other forces. This ability of small things to interact, exchange, and gain knowledge through this process was another wonderful aspect of the potential of the undifferentiated, the one, and the many.
  10. Clouds of these small things formed in the expanding diversity of space and time
  11. Clouds of small things became more closely connected through the effect of gravity on space and hot suns began to appear. This was good because many suns warmed space and provided a strong force around which other things could form and be warmed
  12. Asteroids of frozen water and planets formed around these hot suns, moving around the center of a sun’s gravity and warmth
  13. More planets developed and some were large enough to hold an atmosphere close to the planet surface, some were not.
  14. Many planets orbiting many suns were far enough away from their sun that liquid water made clouds and oceans
  15. Over long periods of time the things on planets of this type used the energy of the planet and the ability of things to touch, exchange material and energy, and to bond together to form more complex things
  16. Earth is a planet of this type and life began to develop here 4,560,000,000 years ago
  17. Single celled things began to emerge 3,800,000,000 years ago and things knew themselves and others in a new way, the way of living things that touched.
  18. Touch meant that these single celled things could exchange energy and material, and that they could develop their ability to reproduce in a variety of ways
  19. Simple single celled things became more complex and began to change their world in ways that promoted further development of complex living things.
  20. This unfolding of the potential for things to change the world around them in ways that furthered the development of new and more complex things was one of the beautiful potentials within the undifferentiated God that found expression in the creation of a single form and then the development of a multiplicity of things
  21. These increasingly complex living things growing on earth then developed the ability to use the energy of sunlight to nourish themselves
  22. Around 540,000,000 years ago these things, blue green algae mostly, then moved from the vast oceans of water onto the wet parts of the land
  23. This blue green algae learned to live well on wet land and began to change, developing roots, stalks, and leaves, as it learned to take advantage of what the wet land had to offer.
  24. This beginning of living things on land developed into a wide variety of plants that grew abundantly and covered much of the land
  25. Some animals moved from the the sea to the land and they flourished because they learned to use plants for food.
  26. The ability of plants to get energy from the sun formed the foundation of the animals ability to live on sun energy indirectly by eating the plants. Some animals then developed the ability to eat animals who eat plants, thereby using the sun-plant-animal energy to sustain themselves.
  27. This was beautiful because sunlight was plentiful and could be used and captured by plants and animals a little bit at a time and more creatures could grow over time.
  28. The ability of one thing to know of its existence and its relationship to other things began to develop as living things became more complex
  29. As things began to become aware of relational existence with the other things that they could touch directly through surface to surface contact, and indirectly through the flow of water, atmosphere, and sunlight across their boundaries. They began to know individuality, mortality, and choice
  30. Over billions of years many different types of living things were born through various methods of reproduction, creating an ever changing range of living things that could reproduce
  31. Within the types of living things the individuals, and the whole type of thing that an individual is part of, changed over time in response to the changing world of living and non living things.
  32. All of the living and non living things that developed were related to each other and lived well because they were part of a whole living world.
  33. Episodically the number of living things would be suddenly decreased by asteroid impact, volcanic eruption, and climate change
  34. But the foundation of life had been established over time and would not allow its self to be put to an end through these catastrophic events.
  35. Great trees, grasses, and flowering plants came to be and persisted. This made the land rich with food that supported the a wide, and ever changing variety of land animals.
  36. 85,000,000 years ago the first primates emerged. These first primates would become, over time, the creatures who eventually become the first in the human line of development that eventually lead to modern humans
  37. 250,000 years ago the first of our kind came to be in a small region of Africa. A small tribe of humans, chance and choice, foot and hand, imagination and invention, lead to our great collective journey leading us out of Africa and across the fertile soils of all the continents
  38. 200,000 years ago humans first discovered the ability to communicate in spoken language. This allowed human groups to share knowledge with each other about what they learned through their awareness of themselves and all other things that they were able to perceive.
  39. Knowledge accumulated in human groups and was passed on in stories from generation to generation and the stories grew. The new stories of spoken language were were small at first but grew larger than individual people, families, and tribes because they were not passed forward in time the same way the shape of a nose, hair color, mental acuity, or athletic ability were passed forward in families from parents to children, they lived outside the body of human kind.
  40. 50,000 years ago human stories had grown in complexity and number that people began to see themselves and the world they lived in differently. People invented more tools, burial of the dead became more ceremonial, living structures and well-designed fireplaces were constructed, hunting and fishing occurred regularly, elaborate art as well as items of personal adornment began to emerge, and trade of valuable articles over some distances began.
  41. The stories that accumulated, became more complex, and about 10,000 years ago cultivation of food began and quickly became widespread in areas of the planet where both humans and abundant plants and animals suitable for cultivation existed.
  42. Large populations of people developed around plentiful agricultural production and the collective lives of people began to develop into extended social structures that required specialized roles.
  43. For the first time in the story of humankind some people in the social group were not directly involved in the process of providing food to nourish themselves and the other members of the society. This change in the lives of people started new types of stories that became more widespread over time, including the first stories of humans as being separate from, and having power over, plants and animals.
  44. After agriculture and the increasingly complex social structures and accumulated stories humans began to write down parts of the information communicated in transactions and stories. Writing enabled the accumulated and ever growing stories human kind had been creating since the blossoming of language to have an existence that was not at all dependent on memory and speech. A written thing had a life of it’s own, this change in human ability began somewhere between 6,000 and 4,000 years ago.
  45. Now the power of the story that had existed outside of human biology in spoken culture and history achieved a physical existence independent human biology much like the tools and dwellings people had know for all their years on earth. Writing allowed the force of human story and learning to accumulate in a persistent and independent fashion that had tremendous consequence for the growth of human population.
  46. Larger and more powerful human social institutions, religions, cities, and states began to develop over time. These too had the same feature as tools, habitation, and the story now written form. As these institutions grew they seemed to become larger than the world of plants and animals that had preceded human beings and had always provided the sustenance upon which human life depended. The story of human power over and independence from nature became a very poplar story that took many forms.
  47. As these stories developed their emerged a period of human time called the industrial revolution where people created very powerful tools driven by energy produced mainly from acquiring and then burning oil and coal. People could travel fast and far, many new things were produced and exchanged. The stories about human independence from and power over nature seemed to finally to have become true.
  48. Then gradually, over the course of several decades, humans discovered that the great powers of the industrial revolution were destroying the climate within which humans and their food had flourished for 250,000 years. The human collection of stories that had grown to great heights over the 10,000 years since the invention and adoption of widespread agriculture began to change rapidly.
  49. The mass of stories and activity that resulted in the industrial revolution had great momentum, but that momentum was not greater than the adaptability of the living world.
  50. The next chapter in the brief history of humankind is still being written. Will the story we speak, act, read and write, be one of a species that changes dramatically and thrives, like we did 50,000 years ago. Or will our story be that of a species so slow to adapt that it suffers greatly and perhaps becomes extinct?

Me: So there you have my version of Genesis

Tree: I like it better than what you have told me of the original version

Me: I like it better too. I just hope the chapter we are living now will have a good ending where human culture reconnects with the reality of our biological existence within the context of a living world and we develop a way of being and living that does not eat all the time of nature in a single gulp and leave us starving for our next meal even as we suffer the pain of eating too much too fast.

Tree: That image is disturbing

Me: I am disturbed because of what I see. When I look back at Genesis and the way the story puts god and man ahead of the plants of the garden of eden I see a pattern of userpation and seperation that forms the basis of patriarchal power where the father figure is superimposed between the clild and the mother as if the father was the source of his childs life.

Tree: You are trying to think long thoughts without having been alive long as a kind of being. I admire your attempt. It must not be easy to think long thoughts when your life and your kind so far is short compared to my life and how long my kind have existed.

Me: You are right it isn’t easy for me or any of us humans to think long term thoughts but we do have a capacity that helps us, we have a large capacity for memory, mental model making, and imagination. Using those tools we can think long thoughts but it is hard to motivate us to do that. The main reason I am trying to think long toughts is that I think it is necessary given the terrible circumstance we people have created for ourselves and the rest of the living community on our planet. Having children lengthened my thinking some, but when I became aware of climaticide that really kicked me into thinking longer, broader, deeper, and bigger.

Tree: Now that you have written a new Genesis what are you planning to do?

Me: I’m not planning a lot I just go with what comes up next.

Tree: Why?

Me: It seems to be the most natural way for me to be creative.

Tree: Are all people like you?

Me: I don’t really know, I don’t think so. I’ve been thinking about what people will be like if we succeed in changing what we do to the point of being able to live with our power without killing the rest of the natural world at the same time. I think the change would be as significant as the change 50,000 years ago when behaviorally modern human beings emerged from the long pattern of human behavior that preceeded them for 200,000 years.

Tree: That is thinking a long thought but going forward in time, what is the use of doing that?

Me: maybe it can help me imagine what we could do today to become who we must become tomorrow.

Tree: I think I understand what you are saying. What do you think this future human would do differently?

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