"I dream of a hard and brutal mysticism in which the naked self merges with the nonhuman world and somehow survives...Paradox and bedrock."-Edward Abbey

11 February 2012

Flame Dance

To say it is fascinating to watch fire would probably invoke insinuations of being primitive. Of course, I have been accused of being either American or rustic primitive before. I'm not sure if such attempts at labels were meant as insults. In any event, I tend to let it slide, labels being oh so limiting.

Watching the flames as they tickle its fuel is something primal. There are thousands of stories, which supposedly answer how, when, and why hominids got fire. Some of these tales are quite entertaining. Despite  superstition, apocrypha, and other forms of mythology, I tend to think of the lone, or pack of hominids, finding a literal burning bush; set alight by lightening or perhaps a volcanic eruption somewhere in the Rift Valley of eastern Africa.

Light. Heat. Protection. It gave an interesting taste to the food held over it. Predators would not come near, for fear of the flames. Those primates had come across one of the oldest magics.

Fire, and the manipulation of it, is what sets the hominid genus apart from other species on this planet. The civilization and technology has been built upon this knowledge. A 'puter and the ability to finally step off-world, to touch the very stars themselves, comes from that time in Africa, gathered around a literal burning bush.

When stoking a fire, I sit for several moments, captivated by the flames consuming the fresh wood. I feel like I'm in Africa, millions of years before the first kingdoms of Man.

It's hard to believe fire is not alive, but I have read that scientist say since fire does not evolve, it is not alive. I have encountered people who do not evolve. Interesting.

For not being alive, fire is the womb. Destruction and creation. Equal sides of the cosmic coin. Flames of wild fires have laid waste to entire continents. Yet, on the other side of that cosmic coin, were it not for that moment in Africa, around the literal burning bush, none of what has been accomplished, good or ill, would have ever come to pass. Those flames are one of the oldest magics.

12 comments:

  1. I liked this muchly. "I have encountered people who do not evolve. Interesting." lol

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  2. Hmm. I can't help but disagree with the scientific reasoning behind the "if it doesn't evolve, it isn't alive" theory.

    Fire is born from a spark of energy, lives as it feeds on whatever fuel is available, grows from tiny to epic, and then dies. It's comforting, sustaining, destructive and magical. How much more "alive" does it need to be???

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    1. I would tend to agree. Just because its biologics are on another scale does not mean it's not living.

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    2. Indeed.

      It's interesting how quickly an idea as fundamental as "what life is" breaks down instantly when examined in detail at the edges. The only way to kick fire out of the life box is to define life rigidly, based on our tiny perceptive abilities and experience.

      Saying "well, life has to have cells/an approach-avoid system/ Innate Response Mechanisms / Fixed Action Patterns" Means you also have to define those hallmarks of life with arbitrary narrowness, usually revolving around life needing DNA.

      As a species we are so laughably certain that what we see is everything there is. We forget we are a permutation of a rule-set, and not the rule-set itself.

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    3. Human intelligence seems to be overshadowed by its own arrogant ignorance. I'm rather interested in astrobiology, and that discipline seems to be questioning and redefining what life is on an almost daily basis.

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  3. I think that fire is in control of us. It just lets itself be contained whilst it suits it.

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    1. An interesting thought. Personally, I think the whole concept of control is an illusion, period. But I think you might be on to something.

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  4. Scientists seem awfully narrow-minded. Fire is just as alive as we are. It eats. It breathes. It seeks a higher level of existence, and it grows as a result of that.
    Thankfully, it's still a simple creature, alive or not, and we are free to bring it in existence or to snuff it out out our discretion.
    Wait...crap. What I really meant was, "Insightful writing, Robbie. Good job." (Sorry. Din't intend to babble...)

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    1. Thank you, and I didn't think you were babbling.

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  5. Fire does work as a great theme/symbol for life, no? I really enjoyed this. Great job.

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  6. Thank you. I am inclined to agree.

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