The universe is in universal movement. Galaxies are expanding outward from some ancient unknown center at millions of miles per hour. The stars around galaxies are whirling through space at millions more miles per hour while around those moving stars inside the moving galaxies planets orbit as they rotate those suns. So everything in the universe moves and keeps moving. On the surface of the earth vegetation only moves in that general sense. Only animals move on their own. Trees remain where they are for life.
Our animal ability to move about freely, given certain limits of geology and geography, determines the very nature of our being. We do not have to bend from the wind effects of a storm. We animals can dig in, run, or in some other way move to avoid the storm itself. We do not have to face consequences. “Fight or flight,” as a response phrase to threat is really a defining phrase about our nature. Stay or leave. This interpreted phrase is descriptive of almost everything we do. Marriage and or divorce. Legal incidents. Employment or the search for such. Even territoriality, some common to all animals, allows for movement within the confines of a territory. The larger and more fleet the animal the larger its territory. I once expounded upon this ‘movement’ thing that affects all animals with a heating and air-conditioning technician inside my parent’s home. He listened intently and then happily refuted my stated hypothesis. “I’ve lived in the same homes since I was born forty-four years ago. If you drive a stake into my driveway and run a chain out from it, I’ve spent my whole life never outside of the limits of a twenty mile chain.” I pictured this lifestyle in my mind and then asked a question about something he’d previously said. “What about your vacation to Hawaii last year?” He smiled. “Oh yes, I go to Hawaii once a year and Paris every couple of years, but they don’t really count.”
My heating and air-conditioning friend confirmed my hypothesis in totality, from territoriality to far distant movements to satisfy any needs, not that he saw it that way. Humans move a lot. Humans are almost impossible to ‘know’ completely because of this ability. Other humans do not get any more than a passing knowledge of other moving humans, as they move themselves through life. Only in certain circumstances, like combat, prison or marriage do humans get to observe other humans closely for undisturbed periods of time. The result of such close association is one of emotional intensity. Total inclusion and total exclusion usually results, without the ability of anyone else outside this experience being able to understand anything the participants might say later about what happened inside it.
Humans are on a non-stop never-ending quest for what they don’t know. They constantly think up new things to pursue but change those goals upon arrival or because some other goal intercedes. There is no stopping. A human being that is stopped in either dead or likely to be dead in short order. Following our bliss, as Joe Campbell stated, is not something we must pursue a belief in. It is something that is such a deep part of our nature that we remain unaware of it. It is only the definition of bliss that impacts us, not that fact that we must pursue it whether we want to or not, whether we are aware of it or not.
The brilliant writer Shel Silverstein wrote a children’s book called “The Giving Tree.” Shel understood about the tree’s inability to move. He portrayed that intrinsic quality or limitation as being a willing gift to humans. It was not. It was the tree’s survival strategy to be ‘used’ exactly because of its inability to move. Shel’s protagonist took the fruit and ate it (thereby later distributing the seeds all around). The protagonist cut the tree down to use the wood to build a house (thereby providing the seeds a place to rise into the sun without limiting shade). Eventually, the tree (the remaining stump) and the protagonist (now old) reach equilibrium of movement by sitting together. There were no gifts. There was only mutual survival. The Living Tree is not a children’s story, in reality. It is a primer about life on this planet.
We must move because we are driven to move for survival. We can and do leave many things of merit and value behind us as we travel. That is a part of our nature. We maximize our survival and the survival of our spawn by traveling to places that we think will better support it. Trees cannot move. They use our ability to travel for survival in the same way we seemingly take advantage of their inability to escape us. There is no better way to describe why we are all in this together and that we can and must maximize the survival of all or there will be none.