I think, most importantly for our own rewilding, we must learn to recognize our own beauty. Not sexualized, or “cool”, or cinematic, but the deep everyday beauty of our own imperfect faces, bodies, homes, and places.
If we humans survive the next few decades of the horrifying bottleneck of climate-change and eco-collapse, we may remember the 20th and 21st centuries for many things – but deep down, I think we will remember it most for its profound ugliness in appearance and relationship. Our cityscapes, our stories, the small shiny made things that we wear and use – all marred by the infection of the wetiko cannibalism that twists and distorts a human mind made to seek and create beauty so that we literally went blind and saw ugliness as beauty, and worst of all, beauty as ugliness.
We defined cruelty as kindness, and so tragically, misinterpreted kindness as cruelty.
Even wound throughout all our ancient stories, we know that superficial ugliness disguises the deepest magnificence and soulful beauty.
And in parallel, the stories tell of superficial beauty that acts as the thinnest of masks over the crawling and rapacious minds beneath.
Tom Brown, Jr., has repeated a quote that his mentor said many times, “I never met an ugly witch.” Witch of course in this instance meaning not “wiccan”, or wisdom-keeper, or wise grandmother, but dark sorcerer, psychopath, predator of human souls.
This glittering crystal culture of soaring buildings, cold heights of wonder and majesty, achievements and spectacles – we only need look to its black, mired foundations in the swamp of misery and cruelest sorcery. To make such things one must take other things.
All of this so deeply skews our own perception of ourselves – humans always have lived, from the beginning, from the impossible-to-point-to exact moment when we could first point to the earliest of humans emerging inside the giant chimera’s body of the community of life, we humans have always lived and looked beautifully.
Even today, under all our artifice. We return to this at the moment we admit to our natural state as the grief-howling mimics with the urge to make beauty with our hands, never-not-broken and imperfect. We who learned song from the birds, language from the wolves, storytelling from fire and ravens, genealogy from the countless stars.
We have such simple natures – if you can call any cell in the impossible complexity of life simple – such simple needs. As children of the world, in-arms infants cradled by the sometimes terrifying chimera-mother whose misnamed modern cruelties in actuality source from her ancient kindness.
For one day, for one hour, look around you at your fellow human beings, in their factory made clothes, ensnared by their iPhones and arguments, and see them for their true selves, the ancient animals who still belong.
Just another beautiful animal nation.