Friday, December 18, 2015

Winter Solstice 2015...

will occur at about 10:49pm on December the 21st here in Oklahoma. The internet makes it easy to find out the precise time of this event in your local area.

Were you aware that some human cultures divide the year into 6 seasons instead of the usual 4 that we colonized folks are used to? I bet most of you weren't...I wasn't. Now we can all begin this new time of more lengthy daylight (if you're in the northern hemisphere) with a bit of new knowledge.

I know the human calendar doesn't identify this transition from shorter hours of sunshine to longer hours of sunshine as the beginning of a new year...but it actually is...at least it is to me. So...this will be my last post before solstice and I'll share a couple of graphics that I really like.

This first one has a statement from Maya Angelou...a wise human. She was a delightful being and a treasure.


She was a wise woman.

This next graphic took me a while to fully appreciate...and I still discover new thoughts whenever I view it. I had to look at it for some time before some of the complexity of it became apparent to me. It is rich in meaning and one that is worth revisiting repeatedly because...like the statement by Dr. Angelou...it offers both wisdom and guidance.



I'm often lousy at implementing the wisdom so well presented in this bit of visual and verbal information. What we can comprehend or understand or see as being true is profoundly influenced by the position from which we are observing a truth. One of the big impacts I've noticed in how I behave (in part because of the veracity of the information in this graphic) is that I'm much slower to react to a number of things I encounter because I attempt to dig deeper into my perspective...and...to make a concentrated effort at trying to grasp what might be true from a differing perspective. I am clumsy and inept at this but I try much harder to do this than I might have earlier in my life.

There's a difference between my comprehending something from my perspective (or location) and my trying to imagine how something might appear from a different perspective. In other words...I can only fantasize/imagine what might appear to be "true" from a perspective (or location) that I don't occupy. Someone who actually occupies that location (or perspective) that I am imagining/fantasizing is going to have a much more concise and precise grasp of what things are true from there than I do (or can) simply because they actually are in that position whereas I can only be there in an imaginary sense. They are the authority about what is true from that position...not me...because I am not located there...and they are.

Please note that it generally is the case that power strongly influences how skilled/practiced folks are at being able to shift their comprehension from one perspective/location to another. It's pretty much the case that folks with less power tend to have greater understanding/comprehension. 

For instance...my position, partially anyway, is that of a white, elderly, male, English speaking, well-educated, relatively able-bodied, cisgendered, and so on. What that means is that my lived experience is from those positions/locations and any comprehensions or understandings I have of what life feels like to someone occupying different positions/locations will be a function of my imagination...not a function of my lived experience. Hence...their grasp on what is true from those positions/locations will be more authoritative than mine.

This is a very simple truth that has eluded me at various times and it is a truth that many of us humans...especially those of us with white skin...seem to be oblivious to way way too often. I deplore my obliviousness and spend effort every day trying to decrease it. Sometimes more successfully than others. I will endeavor to be less oblivious as this new year unfolds.

What's really snazzy (well...one thing that's snazzy...there are many) about these two graphics is that both of them are saying the much same thing...they're just expressing it differently. Consider these two images my solstice gift to you.

I will likely write more about them and the lessons in them in 2016...because they are rich in meaning and usefulness.

Enjoy...and happy New Year to you and to mother Earth and all her beings. 

6 comments:

joan.kyler said...

I especially like the Maya Angelou quote. I often despair because of all the harm I've done to animals over my life span of 63 years. I loved animals, but I just didn't 'know'. I look back in horror. All the animals I ate, the cat I had declawed, the list goes on. I guess all I can do is ask their forgiveness for my ignorance and do better now that I know better.

veganelder said...

Thank you for commenting Joan. All any of us can do is to do better once we know better. Thank you.

Have Gone Vegan said...

December solstice will be happening in less than 3 hours here. Can't wait until the shortest day of the year is over! And because it's been unusually warm in Ontario, we've been having too many gray gloomy days with rain instead of snow. I'm one of those people who usually feels better when the sun is shining, so every additional second of daylight is appreciated.

Great graphics indeed. Especially the second one as it's not as easy to grasp at first glance. Am looking forward to your future writings about them.

Happy New Year to you. And to another year of insightful writing as well! :)

veganelder said...

Thank you for commenting HGV. Glad you liked the graphics and thank you for your writings and Happy Longer Daylight Days to you!

Christine said...

A happy new year to you also. I too am glad the winter solstice has been and we can look forward to longer hours of daylight once again, though here in the UK it has been warm and not at all like winter . I did not realise that some cultures separate the year into six seasons. Love the quotes, though not sure I understand the second one. It is true that we can only fully understand anything from a personal experience rather than an imagined perspective.

veganelder said...

Thank you for commenting Christine. I was unaware re the six season conceptualization either. We've all been colonized. :-)

I'm quite taken with that second graphic...it packs lots of information into a small package.