…Are you looking at just one tree or the entire forest?

Adam Hill Studios - Shared Twitter - 2014-04-22

(Adam Hill)

 “…Know what is in front of your face, and what is hidden from you will be disclosed to you. For there is nothing hidden that will not be revealed.” [1] Logia (sayings) scribed by Didymos Judas Thomas.

As humans, we like to categorize things, thoughts and ideas. But the issue with doing this type of sorting is akin to standing in a forest and focusing narrowly on one, solitary tree. So imagine you decide to examine this one tree… You stop, you examine the bark. You split off a piece; cutting it down as kindling to fuel a fire, halving it as you go; breaking it down further and further but while doing so you count the rings around the center of this piece of wood trying to understand the age of this tree.

Maybe you consider what this tree has lived through too. What seasons did it survive? What weather did it wrestle with? What parts became diseased or broke off to help another life along a parallel path? What lived in and around this tree? What did it consume, the light and the rain?

Perhaps you even stop to examine the leaves by looking down on the ground at the fallen ones that surround you and this tree. Maybe you even look up and see a bird nesting as you run your hands over the bark, steadying yourself as an ant crawls across the skin of your hands.

But each element or piece of life, contributed to that tree; to that soil; to that air; to that atmosphere, to that entire microcosm that’s created a macrocosm; in an ecosystem rich with life, that even you have contributed to. With added input from forces outside of our earth, as we all orbit around a star that is our sun.

When we halve ourselves off from understanding that there are many different trees that contribute to an entire forest we miss the completeness of what is or what could be. We often do this with: people, culture, creed, politics and even with the media we consume. We use our own cognitive bias as a filter to relegate each thing into a label or define it by a stereotype.

But what does this say about the pieces or fragments we have used to construct this entire view or to assemble a cohesive interpretation that explains the greater wholeness of all? All we’re left with is our own interpretations.

So how much faith do you have with only one part of the entire vista? We appreciate this type of thinking because we are human. It helps us make sense of things* that are greater than us; it helps us categorize stuff*. We construct what we cannot see into what we can see. We create what is hidden while revealing what is not, we make it tangible matter.

We do this, because this defines who and what we are. We think. We consider. Then we create. We make it relative to us and our understanding, however limited or great it is. We carry it as our labels and stereotypes; we fit the universe into our cognition; molecule-by-molecule, atom-by-atom and particle-by-particle. Pieces of an infinite puzzle we fit together.

Do you see the entire forest or just one tree, what do you really see? And what do you create?


[1] “The Gospel of Thomas” Gnosis.org The Gnostic Society Library. The Nag Hammadi Library. 2014. 25 April 2014. http://gnosis.org/naghamm/gosthom.html