ecophilia — fasting, fungi & fractals — Finding a more beautiful world
Day 28 of fasting, fungi & fractals
I don’t seek, I find
Seeking, that is starting from old stocks
and the drive to find the already known.
Finding, that is the entirely new.
All ways are open, and what is found is unknown.
It is a risk, a holy adventure.
The uncertainty of such ventures can only be taken on by those,
who feel safe in insecurity,
who are lead in uncertainty, in guidelessness,
who let them be drawn by the target
and don’t define the target themselves.
I have always thought of myself as a wandering seeker searching for truth, knowledge, understanding, and wisdom, someone whom the Greeks call a zetetic, someone who seeks truth and knowledge but does not claim it. The wisdom I seek is the wisdom needed to live well while lowering harmful demands and impacts on others.
At the same time, I do not seek to solve the story’s problem. Instead, my primary purpose on the journey is the journey itself. I love exploring fasting, fungi & fractals without knowing what will result from it. So if Picasso and I had a chat, he might tell me that I have never been a seeker but a finder. A finder who is not yet sure what she will find by the end of this project.
I found that to be a stark contrast to how we approach knowledge and solutions in the western industrialized world.
One of my concerns and one frequent question about fasting, fungi & fractals has been what the outcome is. What will I get out of it in the end? And my inability to answer has caused me a few sleepless nights, some insecurity, and creativity to distract from the question.
One of the concerns when we talk about sustainability is what the outcomes will be. We defined the SDG’s, set carbon caps, and calculate our overshoot day (which, by the way, was May 4th in Germany). Would we be able to transition towards the Ecocene if we didn’t set these outcomes Yet, wouldn’t not focusing on the outcomes be naive, aimless, and ineffective? Where would we be heading if we stopped setting goals, and what would we be doing if we stopped seeking solutions?
From what I have learned about the science of complex systems and from various wisdom traditions, true wisdom encompasses trust in life, the universe, or god(s) to let life be without trying to impose our will over it. For example, according to the idea of wu-wei, as interpreted by Jason Gregory, one has let go of striving for a result and instead become content with a process driven by one’s li.
Alan Watts explained li in his book Tao:
“The Watercourse Way: The Chinese call this kind of beauty the following of li, an ideogram which referred originally to the grain in jade and wood, and which [Joseph] Needham translates as “organic pattern,” although it is more generally understood as the “reason” or “principle” of things. Li is the pattern of behavior which comes about when one is in accord with the Tao, the watercourse of nature”.
Gregory describes how the pattern of li beautifies our world. In some cases, the organic pattern of li is mathematically fixed to the Golden Ratio of the Fibonacci sequence discovered by the thirteenth-century Italian mathematician Leonardo Fibonacci. Fibonacci described the numerical sequence that now bears his name: 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21 into infinity. Divide each number in the sequence by the one that precedes it. The answer will be something that comes closer and closer to 1.618, an irrational number known as phi, or the golden ratio, which organizes various beautiful artworks. According to the internet, even Picasso’s.
What beauty then might arise when we stop seeking and start finding? What would happen if we stopped defining goals and instead followed a collective li, a fibonacci pattern, for example, in the form of virtues? What alternative processes can we establish for a more beautiful world that diverge from setting an agenda?