the masters of the forest and the world

I stand at the window and watch the action on the opposite side of the road. On a piece of forest. It seems that clearing work is necessary. Four strong men have arrived. Dressed in cut-proof protective clothing. Forest green and neon orange. Helmeted with face and hearing protection. Each is equipped with a chainsaw. In their entourage: two vehicles with a loading area, a huge Fendt tractor with trailer – designed for transporting tree trunks -, a four-wheeled extendable crane with an open cabin at the top (technical term: cherry picker) and a mobile machine for grabbing, sawing and limbing trees (technical term unknown).

Two men with their chainsaws cut a swath in the undergrowth to allow the vehicles to pass. Then the cherry picker. Incredible. The crane travels with its crew to a height of almost twenty meters. It can be rotated, tilted, and inclined in all directions specified by the operator from the pulpit above. Once a pine tree has been lopped off at the top by the second man in the pulpit and shortened to a suitable height, the crane chugs on at walking pace to the next tree, commanded by its master and master craftsman at the top of the controls. Then the sawing machine comes into action. It moves forward, grabs the previously shortened tree with its claw, a short screech. Briefly, startled, I think it’s coming from the tree itself, but it’s the automatic saw that decapitates the tree in seconds (maybe two, but not three) just above the ground. Like through butter, unbelievable. You can’t see it at all. There’s something almost insidious about this hidden saw that suddenly strikes in this merciless embrace. The claw lays it out, the huge tree. Turns it as if from the wrist. It looks unreal. A feeling like watching a gymnast or body artist slowly push himself into a handstand on one hand. No momentum, just force. It’s not the kind of force the normal person is used to seeing. Another screech. Not much longer than the first. The tree rushes through the machine and comes out the back delimbing. Now the tree trunk is loaded onto the trailer of the Fendt tractor by claw crane.

So the group moves slowly and inexorably through the woods in a constant screeching and whimpering. Helmeted, booted – armored and protected from the destructive power of their own technical creations and their consequences.

A large branch from a treetop, sawed off by the men in the cherry picker, falls onto my neighbor’s property from a height of twenty meters. Knocks down the fence and an old jasmine. The men do not notice it. You understand it later when you walk through the aisle they cut. It is such a scale of destruction that these people experience and bring about day after day that a piece of broken fence and a winter bare flat bush can no longer reach them. If the jasmine had bloomed, they might have been considerate. – Maybe – maybe not. Their work is of such great and tremendous power that small details – death on the edge – cease to exist in their perception.

As I stood at the window, while these people exercised their rule over the world, which they were not conscious of at all – equipped with the technical creatures of the human mind, which carried out their will precisely and without disturbances or inhibitions -, it became clear to me again, why there can be no more God, no creative power for the people in this world: Was and is nevertheless the influence of the hunter-gatherers – our ancestors or today still existing tribes – on the creation surrounding them small. After all, the vast majority of the world is not „made“ by them and is not subject to their influence. Their knowledge that there must be something else which „makes“ everything and which exerts the influence on all this happening in the world is therefore always present. When I see this machinery, I also see: the house, the car, the refrigerator, the penicillin, the shovel, the pin, the space flight. And everything else that modern man has „made“. All this serves the mastery of the rest of nature. Modern man looks around – and sees only this. It appears to him, his influence on the world is greater than that of God. Because we – I look out of the window – saber slowly but purposefully the creation, which God has let grow, without larger efforts. Who has more on it? He or we? „Then he will probably not exist at all,“ say those whose thinking only revolves around technology and who no longer perceive their sense of soul because it is completely overlaid by the intoxication of the five other senses. Like the forest workers, they miss the details in the machine inferno. The fence, the jasmine; overlooked and therefore broken. And so they see only the man-made. The limited view creates in us the illusion of independence. We help ourselves! But the question still remains unanswered: „Where does it all come from? We, too. Where do we come from?“ If there is no God, then there can be only a technical reason! After all, we have the impression that we can act like divine creators with technology. Actually: To be able to act better than the creation power even! Look at our fallible bodies. Compare them with the perfect constructions of our spirit! And only on this technical level answers are searched. The technical answer serves only the five senses of the mind. And within them all know that this answer is not sufficient…Those who perceive other than logically know with absolute certainty. Also the most sophisticated machine has its origin in the creation. The igniting thought of the developer of this machine has its origin in the creation. We have put something artificial on the creation. A layer. And now we are not able to look under this layer and look at what it finally rests on. Or we have simply forgotten that under this layer something supporting still exists. We are not independent. Only we do not notice it, if we do not transcend ourselves with our look, but stop at the things.

I once spoke to a man. Maybe he was in his mid-forties. He lived in a small house in the forest; he heated only with wood. He cut this wood himself, transported it himself, sawed it himself, chopped it himself, stacked it himself, dried it himself, and burned it himself. Wood was an important part of his life and he spent a lot of time doing the tasks associated with it. He said that even as a child he enjoyed going into the woods with the woodworkers and watching them work with fascination. I asked him, „What was it about forestry work that fascinated you back then?“ – „The technology,“ he said without hesitation. He didn’t have to think for a moment for that answer. I am speechless with surprise for a brief moment. My drawers were not expecting this answer. My drawers said, „Wood, forest air, earth, physical strength in harmony with nature, being exposed to the weather, good exhaustion in the evening, the smell of the wood and the soil, the warming fire, being and passing away…“. – The technique… – Now I look out the window and I have to think of him again.

Pain must never be allowed to guide us. Our actions grow out of the fearless knowledge of our security in the meaning, of our soulfulness and of the eternal unity of everything. We always act in love for everything and everyone. There is no inner separation. Pain alone must never guide us.

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