On Humility

Can one be mostly humble? Can one sway quietly, buoyed gently in humbled awe of all that is? From imperceptible quark to massive blue whale to little brown mouse? From distant, mere glimmer of a primitive galaxy to Indonesia's red grasshawk dragonfly to alien deep ocean communities, black smokers at their cores? From the new promise of the minuscule sedge seed to the cycles of freezing and thawing of giant, scraping Greenland glaciers to the spectacular geysers of Enceladus, astonishing marionettes drawn up by the dance between Saturn and Dione? Can one be humble but stand strong upon the shore and rail against the darker waters of man? Can one be in a state of humbled reverence of all: from unseen to Gargantuan, from ostentatious to subtle in the extraordinary complexity that is the teeming ether of entirety - from those few imbued with life and consciousness to the most formed of gas, stone and stardust? Can those special few among men look to their cores and find the light? Might these few discern deep within their beings the loving crux of balance for all of the natural world, to which we are beholding, to which we are a part? Can one find humility in this special place?

If yes would it not be responsible that one remaining of humble disposition speak out against the depravity of his own kind that would kill for hubris? Can one voice opinion against a species which with the ease of blades of grass bending to the whim of a zephyr perpetuates lies? Can one be organically humble yet reproach his own peers who stir and churn the darker waters into tempests disrupting the serene sands, destroying the once pure ferny chasms and razing the pristine tapestry of mountaintop tundra all of which quietly exist beyond the dark, species-centric ocean? Can the humble voice dissent against a narcissistic species which plunders, annihilates and extincts without conscience, empathy or consideration? Might it be possible that one of humble spirit and stand against the rapacious species?

Is it any wonder that Homo sapiens is so successful - to possess such intellect as to recognize sense and proportion yet would choose to unleash all manner of ill-begotten tyranny upon the greater cosmos in obsessive, exploitative binges? Can one foment movement against a species that would smile, peer into the eyes of another only to lance the flesh when eyes no longer meet? So much treachery as facile as shadow times the hour, corrosive savagery blackening the ocean of mankind.

One can be in endless amazement of the vast whole. Implied in it is abhorrence for disrespectful voracity and senseless, abusive infliction, for avarice, for greed. Though cowardly and perhaps ignorant, sadly one can claim timidity or indifference and sit quietly in allowance of the shadow. One may turn aside and slink away. It is no doubt easier to cower and deny courage of conviction. But can one howl protest over black eddies from the verge of beach yet still be deeply, humbly celebratory of the wondrous intricacies of the macrocosm?

One who stands in awe of the least soil microbe cannot stand silent upon the dunes whilst surveying the carnage. One who recognizes the potential of the most vulnerable among human kind but shields and fights against exploitation of the weak, decent and good is a merciful voice; one who must insist upon placement of the fence at the edge of the rookery is of clean vision. One who instinctively respects the fundamental integrity of a forest as puzzle tile in the larger complex of interwoven creation then rises and counters against the arrogance that would so effortlessly visit wanton destruction upon it is tender with empathy. This individual must demand the safety net across the valley rill. One who acknowledges, designates and rebels against those who with such sly complacency rationalize the desecration of all else for greedy gain is a glint, a spark upon dark waters. This rare man must speak to the need of thatch to protect the houses of earth. To shout beyond the edge of raging swells is ones duty though his voice might be squelched in the din of the dark surge.

As wisely spoken by U. K. LeGuin, “One need only act, without fear of punishment and without hope of reward; act from the center of one's soul.” From this core, this secret, rarefied place arises humility. In this untouchable place is a purity of awe. Humility is sacred, beautiful. Courage may find humility. One may seek out the other. They may link. But it is awe at ones core which is progenitor. It is the constantly replenishing wellspring. Courage may follow.

The rugged individual - the skeptical, accountable one - asserts, gives utterance to the silent most of the universe, the innocent; that which simply, quietly and passively is, that which is victim of the marauder. Mindful human responsibility is translated from piercing vision to sympathetic heart, the warnings instinctively well up from this place of awe. Pristine turquoise plumes of respect, consideration and love for all that is rise from the black depths, clean springs of conscience and conviction displace fetid, dark waters. It is required in good conscience, to be in good stead with the interwoven whole to exclaim loudly in recognition of the expensive avarice that would pillage to ruin all that was once was whole, innocent and beautiful. The humble one knows that life in its astonishing complex interactions is crucial and equal - all the tiles matter. The natural world in all its interwoven incarnations is great. One must responsibly pinpoint, call out, disclaim the ravenous, the dark side within the ocean of man. One must find the glow within, luminous, expanding, stemming from the center, ascending up and out. One who knows humility and its forebear, awe, may gently sway in quiet abeyance within, blue aura in spite of the onyx. Courage finds voice. Voice implies heart. Awe creates humility.

One must extol the natural world that cannot glorify itself. It is responsible. Turquoise shall replace onyx. One must act as human shield to protect from onslaught that which cannot protect itself. It is a fundamental respect for the entirety of creation in all of its miraculous interconnections which casts light upon the dark waters. It is necessary that one ignite the glint within and upon the onyx facets - a fence at the edge of the rookery. May gathering glints and slivers of silver catch and illuminate facets of umber waves - nets across the valley rills. Rise up: this beautiful blue spring filled with light, a glow sparks in the deep - replenishing brooks and streams collecting into rivers, pouring relief into the seas welling up from within. Choruses of humble, rugged voices shall break above the din of crashing, dark waves and exalt above and beyond casting light and warmth - thatch joyously the houses of earth. It is sympathetic, meek, loving and most human. It is awestruck. Heartfelt and visionary: indeed, one can be mostly humble.

Penned by Wayne Paquette in December 2013