SEASON 3 SNEAK PREVIEW! (Full Season begins In Novermber.) Lehua is a Hawaiian elder, a keeper of traditional hula, and a scholar of cultural anthropology, with a focus on indigenous spirituality. If anyone can help us understand what makes a place like Mauna Kea so sacred that protectors are putting their lives on hold to block construction of a massive telescope at its summit, she can. Do not miss this timely and important episode!
There’s a lot of misinformation and ignorant talking points out there about what’s going on at Mauna Kea in Hawaii. Although what follows is not the only issue at stake, I believe it is the central one that diffuses the notion that this is about the resurrection of a religion vs. science, as has been continuously portrayed. “Superstition vs. Science” as has been repeated.
Here is everything you need to know. It isn’t superstition vs. science. Crudely put, it is the science of people embedded in nature who understand what Earth needs vs. Westerners who don’t get it. But here’s the thing: we don’t need to get it. Western doctors and insurance companies now recognize Chinese medicine as valid even though they don’t understand how it works. So we are at a point when we can admit that it’s okay not to understand how another’s way works for it to work and be considered science.
Indigenous medicine works regardless of how the administering of it looks. Does it look like hocus pocus or religion to an outsider? Tough. Then that’s what it looks like. But what is it doing? That’s the important point. Checking the tongue to diagnose someone and then sticking needles into the body also looks like magic, but acupuncture works. And, again, we recognize that. We also recognize that life is fractal. Patterns within patterns. Is it so silly to believe that Earth herself has pressure points which need to be energetically moved in ways that look like magic to all but the people who understand her?
Lakota activist Tiokasin Ghosthorse has talked about how if you know how to listen and be in communication with plants they will tell you the music you should play to help them grow. He went on to say that the songs vary from region to region and so, for example, corn in South Dakota might not recognize the songs from North Dakota. It’s that specific. Some may have scoffed when they heard this, but now it turns out this is being validated through science.
Correction: It is not being validated through science. It doesn’t need validation, doesn’t need to be proven. Proof is a Western concept that doesn’t apply to what has been self-evident for thousands of years prior to the existence of modern scientists.
If scientists would recognize that there are nations who have always understood what it takes to care for Mother Earth–that there are energy centers which need acupuncture, as it were–then maybe they would see that the telescope is not a better or more worthy form of science than doing what it takes to keep Mauna Kea in balance–whatever that means. However that occurs through heart ritual, song, and so forth. We don’t need to know. We simply need to understand that it is so and there are people who do know. Even if they had the indigenous knowledge colonized out of them in as much as that was possible, some seed of it germinates. Perhaps it’s in the DNA at this point; perhaps it’s activated by the chants which come from the land and sea themselves and is now flowering again. That’s speculation and unimportant except as a way to try to speak to scientists in their language.
Enter the Mauna Kea Protectors….
On the way there a friend passed by and beeped at me from her car. I waved the Shaka sign at her as is typical around these parts. On the way back a bad-ass biker dude I don’t know looked at me and gave me the “Hey” nod. I nodded back. Hey. Whether friend or stranger, friendly-looking or gruff, young, elderly, or in between we acknowledge each other because we’re all in this together. By that I mean we’re all here by choice. There is nothing scary in being who we are in front of each other because the choice we’re making, which is our bond, is simply to be here for the love of here. When locals (and I) have a prejudice against “haoles” (outsiders, generally Caucasian) it’s really the colonizing mentality with an unhealthy dash of Manifest Destiny (recently dubbed “a sense of entitlement” as if that’s a new flaw in a younger generation) that we despise.
When I chose to live in New York, it was for a career goal. “It’s New York or Los Angeles,” I told myself and anyone who asked. Those were the only two places I could ever picture myself living because I wanted to be a screenwriter and thought that defined me. I didn’t choose New York for New York’s sake. I’m sure this contributed to my neuroticism. Neuroticism is something New York is famous for and we say it’s because there are so many people and so many artistic types crammed into a small space. But maybe it’s ambition at all costs that’s causing it, not being artistic or claustrophobic. It’s having to “get somewhere” in your career or with your vision–which are both mind constructs: you’re not actually traveling or getting anyway and you don’t particularly care for where you physically are. It’s not always that you don’t like where you live, it’s that it might not even factor into your equation. You’re neutral on it consciously, putting all of your focus on your goals–but that neutrality is a repression, for we must LOVE where we live because we are that place. We are in it, we are contributing to it, we are taking from it.
I mean, right?
So it’s important to love the environment we are in. And that doesn’t necessarily mean packing up and moving. It can mean taking a look around where you are right now and seeing it with eyes anew. If we loved our environment and us in it, we would not need to “protect the environment” … from ourselves. Think of how crazy that is and therefore we are.
When we live in environments to which we are detached, we need to form organizations to protect them. From us. When we love where we are, there’s no question of right or wrong environmental action. There’s no duality. And there’s less duality between people who are free to be themselves. Doesn’t mean life is perfectly Smurfy, but we’re less a danger to ourselves here.
Except for where Spam is concerned.