“Tree, look at the tree,” Vladimir says. Estragon looks at the tree, and asks, “Wasn’t it there yesterday?” He believes that everything oozes. But do trees dream? If yes, when, and does this follow the principle of least activity? Do trees experience sleep paralysis? And do anxiety dreams ooze out of a static body?
In spite of all this, the sun shines, in Murphy’s static world, on nothing new.
Trees too cannot escape the wrath of a wildfire. Sun’s thermal predicament. Sacrifices are made and, as a result, Darwinian idea comes to rescue. It goes without saying that the fittest trees are selected. The real issue is, what does it take to live—or exist authentically?—under the state of siege, if at all?
Trees, in a ritualized act of submitting to the whims of stormy winters, learn to bend. They are left leafless and almost careworn. But, with a fraction of life—a token gesture. Isn’t docility in the face of oppression a survival skill?
Doesn’t it seem as if Murphy’s idea of sitting idly by and daydreaming is foretelling of what trees will continue to experience?
Ask Godot, I am told when I contemplate within the Beckettian framework.
I try, but how to wait faster?
“Use your intelligence”— Vladimir receives divine guidance.
And the sun shines darkly.
The function of sun, however, is of dependent type: some rays are more equal than others. If Ishiguro’s Klara is to be believed, sick trees—aren’t some trees more vulnerable than others?—need to benefit more from sun’s special nourishment than others do.
First, there should be the right to belong for sick trees to coalesce into lively stratum. While the sun is in the process of cultivating a global biome, devoid of self-centered idea of dominant vegetation, I dare to ask the self-styled proprietors of the sun: Does your sun permit imposition of characteristics of one forest-type on another? Why do you dislike intrinsic property of trees, your sun nurtured over generations, of congenial coexistence?
When self-styled proprietors of the sun, who thickened their bellies by sucking sap out of others, started believing that other trees didn’t have the right to belong, it was evident from the outset that sun’s Gandhian-Marxist ideology could raise a few eyebrows in the ecosystem: some trees are more equal than others, of course!
Fortunately for small trees,the residual idea of positive discrimination counts. Though unappreciated small trees receive, relatively speaking, a small amount of solar radiation, they live longer and sequester carbon faster. Still, there is the question of consciousness, equally applicable to all trees.
Certain trees of certain forests, fettered and sickened by self-centered frontiers, resist and bolt. Others connive at extermination. The theoretical construct of Gandhian-Marxist borderless-biome, whose proponents find themselves under attack, fails to deliver as some trees are condemned to this destiny, for they are condemned—as Sartre puts it? —to be free.
All these frontiers are closed off, separating their inseparable lives and deaths.
Alas, down-and-outs and their destinies. And not surprisingly, Gandhian-Marxist utopia of a frontierless world falls flat.
Instead of providing a minimum dignity floor, their resistance—their right to defend the minimum rights in their quest for a meaningful life—is demonized. To add insult to injury, a dominant broadside is cynically launched.
What if this word play confirms the luridness of the equality-of-oppressions paradigm and freedom—aren’t some trees freer than others?—becomes a dependent function?
And their only dream to be free?
Trees are back to square one, do tress even have the right to dream? What, then, would be its weight on existentialism, cloistered in Benedict Anderson’s imagined community of tree silhouettes, cutting through Anupama Roy’s polyrhythmic solar irradiance?
The ogreish dream of belonging to nowhere.
In the absence of entitlements, ceteris paribus, what are obligations if not abjection sentencing lives to excruciating unconsciousness, thus flustering Kierkegaardian and Sartrean premises. For how exactly does one proclaim that a tree’s existence precedes essence if, all too often, the essence is stripped of its meaning?
Hélène Lambertcastigates enablers of this hierarchical existence, but without blindly conforming to the deconstructionist operandi; she has a term for it: evil. Can apologists of this evil also codify the principles of natural justice? And, hence, to glorify absurdity at its worst: the belief of some trees that they can continue to exist freely at the expense of others.
A new concept, of climate resilience, emerges in this way. This being a special ability, every tree works—ah, the time-tested idea of carrot-and-stick—to normalize the unprecedented violence of authoritarian climate change regime.
Faced with a fait accompli, will those trees—monocultural echo chamber-dwellers—bear the consequences of acting as foot soldiers of regime that advocates monolithic bigotry and aims to destroy existence of diversity? So, when Chomsky says that an apartheid regime on Mediterranean coast has persecution complex, he silently unravels the hidden truth that persecution complex is not a myth, and it has real roots—isn’t it historically accurate that the regime that fails to accommodate species diversity works to upend socio-ecological harmony and risks giving birth to several apartheid regimes?—in harsh realities of the past.
Doesn’t the motivation for the legitimizing of monoculturalism justify revolutionary chaos—rationally, a defense mechanism?—in the whole biome? Dominant species aren’t forced to wrestle with the question of existential crisis on a daily basis, after all.
It is safe to assume that endangered trees are de facto endemics to a biome which—at best—is a living hell. To take an example: As many trees recently endured scourge of displacement and made room for irrational redevelopment dreams, these trees might find it easy to understand rationality of their lives, as some argue?
What more enlightening lived experience can there be for a tree than to feel anxious—awareness of existence.
What more truthful obligation can there be for a tree than to prevent a monopoly over sun’s special nourishment—entitlement of the highest order.
What more fundamental ontological condition can there be for a tree than to sunbathe—absolute freedom.