Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Parapet View

PHOTOGRAPHER'S JOURNAL ("Why Here?" part 16): What led the Inca's to one of the most inaccessible places on the planet?  One answer is that it's hard to imagine them not coming here. Their science had calculated the position of the equator, their spiritual life followed the rhythms of the sun and moon. One goes to the highest spot, the top of the mountain to learn more about such things. 

When they first came here, did they already understand the profound connections that bind parts to the whole, the interconnectedness of all things, of all planes of being; or did they gain that knowledge by coming here? Had they already precisely regulated their farming to astronomical events? Had they already developed the systems of conservation that regularly produced surplus goods, the terraced farming methods that made idle land productive, the ingenious systems of irrigation? Where did they learn those tricks for accurately dividing stones and for seamlessly binding them into interlocking walls that resist the shaking of the earth? Where did the principles of their intricate statecraft come from that set the relationship of the individual to the community and the community to the divine monarch? Were the roots of the state only in the evolution of familial and tribal institutions, or were some of them learned here first? 

Of course people have always, gone to the mountaintops to receive "truth." What is to be learned there? The higher we keep going, the lonelier we seem. Did the Incas feel that too? They went to mountaintops to tether the sun to keep it from abandoning them. There's also power, energy that many of us feel there, whatever its source. What do we take from that energy? What wisdom can we learn there to take back home?