I shall be busy taking more pictures for Biodiversidad Virtual. This’ll be the last day of the testings. We already had a lot of pictures loaded, and there are around 130 species of invertebrates identified. Plenty more not identified, and loads more not even photographed. And most of the photos have been taken on less than a third of the property. And that’s not even talking about plants and vertebrate animals. As you can see, I don’t think we’re going to run out of subject material for a while!
Mysteries, esotericism, the occult: these words bring up images of secret orders, with strange rituals and sharing their secrets only to the select few. Historically this has been true, and is still true today. I’m sure most of us have heard of the Freemasons, for example. But information that was esoteric in the past isn’t so much now, and the content in many modern day “mystery schools” is out in the open. I’ve been told by a Wiccan that most, if not all the information of Alexandrian and Gardenarian traditions, is out there already, and as a member of druid order (OBOD) I can see that a lot of the information isn’t necessarily esoteric, but the structure by which it is presented is; it is meant to guide you through certain information along a certain way, instead of having to wade through the chaos trying to make sense of things by yourself (though this also has its virtues).
There are many subjects that are “esoteric” to me, and there are people with specialised knowledge in which I am not trained. Quantum physics for example, is an esoteric subject for me, though I understand or know of some ideas from it. Through the ages there have always been people with specialised knowledge and those without. I rely on the “esoteric” knowledge of builders, plumbers and electricians to fix what I can’t. School, colleges and universities are “esoteric” organisation, sharing their knowledge with the fortunate few (though in recent centuries education has become more open, not to just an elite class).
What really makes these subjects esoteric for me is my own willingness, ability and necessity to understand these things. There is nothing barring my way from understanding them except my own limits. And it is much the same for anybody. The “exoteric” information is simply data that the general public can understand, whilst “esoteric” information is what we don’t. And the boundary between exoteric and esoteric is always changing as the understanding of the general public changes.
If I want to understand something, I will. If I am able to understand it, I will. If I need to understand something, I will. And these three things, more often than not, should coincide. A year and a half ago the world of linguistics was very unknown for me, but I have since waded into the subject and understand more than I thought I would have. Though there still remain things I have a lot to learn about.
All “esoteric” information is out there, in plain sight. What “hides” or limits it, rather than secret orders (thought we might assume there are some), is simply my own need, want and ability to understand certain information. “Know thyself”, at the heart of esotericism, is something that no one can hide from you, except yourself.
There are so many species here, it’s hard to know them all, and keep a record of them all, but that doesn’t stop us from trying! There are so many types of butterflies, shieldbugs, ants, trees, flowers, birds, fungi, that I don’t think we’ll run out of subjects any time soon.
We had quite a few people turn up last Saturday, all with their own cameras and even specialities. In the end it all gets uploaded onto the Virtual Biodiversidad website, and there identified by experts. After that we had a nice shared banquet, talking about all things crawling and growing. And tomorrow (and every Saturday this month) we get to do the same. The photos here are some I did last week, and I’ll carry on sharing what I take this month.
Why fight against the system from within when you can do something much more subversive? To fight against the system is easy: you just become its opposite and do stuff that goes against that system. But then you subvert the person that you are, because you are still defined by that system, just as its opposite.
It is far more subversive to be who you are and live your own life, especially if the system is somehow antagonistic to these. Even better when you can doing it legally, in accordance with the system’s rules. The old becomes effortlessly obsolete, and the new grows in it place, without moving so much as a revolutionary finger!
Creating something new seems so much more appealing than destroying the old, doesn’t it?
Imagination, in the context of escapism, can often seen an alternative to reality, something that gives an opportunity to “get away” from reality, which distances it from reality; the imagination is seen as something abstract. But I think, instead of an alternate reality, it gives alternatives of reality; that we can generate ideas about reality, testing these and creatively applying them to the world around us, transforming it.
Another thing is that the imagination is seen as something abstract, but I think it is something very physiological. When we see a movie or read a book the stories evoke reactions in our bodies: hearts may race, breathing may slow down, butterflies might jiggle in our stomachs and hands get clammy. The imagination has its roots in the body, not in an unseen, abstract realm.
…or Virtual Biodiversity.
It’s basically an online archive that stores information about the biodiversity of an area (or punto – point – as they call it), and which is available to the public.
Where I live is a punto BV, a place marked out to go and visit and do “testings”, which are days where a group of people take pictures of the wildlife that they find and upload it here: http://www.biodiversidadvirtual.org (sorry, it’s in Spanish, but just go to Galerías to see the sort of things you can find). There are a few experts that then look at the photos and try to identify them, and so we build up a picture of the biodiversity.
This was one of the objectives of a landstewardship scheme we’d signed, which was to survey the area and see what species lived there. But instead of getting a professional in we have willing volunteers that will take photographs and upload them on Biodiversidad Virtual.
Next may we have a group coming each Saturday during May for testings, so I will keep you informed!
When we use words to describe things we are not merely “pinning them down”, we are entering into relationship with them, and giving them a chance to become a presence in our lives, not just a vague feeling or amorphous phenomena. We relate to the world with words, and by articulating our experiences we also give a chance for the world to communicate with us, whether it be human or not. A forest may not speak our language, but by us articulating our experience of it the forest has a way of communicating with us, making itself known to us. We understand much of our world through word, and there is a web of words surrounding us, if only we listen.