As I was walking to work, I was in a hurry, lost in my thoughts. I glanced at a tree trunk, in passing. It occurred to me that it could have been made of steel for all the effect it had on me. The fact of the matter was that it was an organic thing—a tree—but it just didn’t register as such.

This world has become a world of ‘hard circulation.’ I want to coin this term to mean or convey a sense of hardness of thought that does not differentiate between living things and inorganic matter. A bird is not a car tire. There is a certain sensitivity that is inherently associated with a living thing. Its aliveness makes it different from hard facts. And in this world, we are constantly bombarded by non-living data, and thoughts, which, when combined with actual inorganic matter like speeding cars or concrete, make us lose our human aspect altogether. Sometimes, I don’t like using the word ‘humanity’ because it doesn’t seem to mean what it did in the past. If humans have turned hard, then the term ‘humanity’ doesn’t capture the emotional, sensitive attributes it once connoted. Nevertheless, being human is still a fragile affair, on some levels, especially when there is pain and suffering.

To observe the world as if it is lifeless, or dead matter, is a condition which I think plagues large parts of societies today. I don’t think I am exaggerating when I say that nearly everything has become ‘hard.’ And we are so wrapped up in hard thoughts that we can barely understand simplicity; for instance, that a squirrel has a little, beating heart and is scared. Children still know the meaning of life, although they are being forced to step into the hardness of the world at an early age.

I caught myself devaluating the tree of its ‘treeness’ and life pulse. But I stopped and looked at it closely. Yes, without trees, we would be dead. The tree actually was living matter that connected with me emotionally. Without the gestures of sincere and compassionate minds and hearts touching is there any longer a ‘humanity?’  /ez