Born in a heavy-industrial urban slum, but raised in a nearby semi-rural, coalmining village, as a, now retired organic, ecological horticulturalist and wild-flora and fauna conservationist, I see the creation of a harmonious civilization, in harmony with the whole of the natural, sacred Creation, as being like the creation of an ecological, all bio-diverse garden, in which there is a fine balance between setting down a formal ground plan and letting Nature evolve, flexibly, in its own way. By way of explanation, I have chosen the above title due to my fascination, since childhood, with the historic, British “Holy Grail” sagas of the Arthurian legends (of my Welsh ancestors) as if one might say that this “Holy Grail” has become the “Harmonious Civilization” of our aspirations, the question How does one best arrive at a full understanding of the guiding secrets and laws of harmony? How does one comprehend clearly the complex whole of which all are parts?
Of all the many books of theology and philosophy that I have read and reflected on, perhaps, the most influential have been, in my early twenties The Way of Zen by the 60’s Californian poet, Alan Watts  and The Way and its Power, the Tao-Te-Ching of Lao Tzu (by Arthur Waley) , the verses of Taoist Chinese Philosophy. The intuitive method of Zen Buddhism is the very anti-thesis of the Western intellectual approach of analyzing & arguing. Zen offers the secret of how to extract a lasting Wisdom of what brings harmony (equals shared happiness) and what does not from this slip-stream of endless data. The Taoist message is very simple, like “Mother (Nature) knows best”. On our higher spheres of being & living, we need, likewise, to cultivate a social, economic, ethical and spiritual ecology/harmony.
One, very early, observes, as a child, that sharing one’s toys in friendship is far more conducive to good, harmonious relations than fighting over them; this is so self-evident that all too many adults overlook it, the result being all the un- harmonious relationships that plague us with so much war & suffering! The golden key through all my life way was the Hellenic ideal of seeking The Golden Mean that brought balance and harmony between all experienced and perceived extremes. Now, with an emerging global consciousness, and so much free-flow of data, is not this the current state of humanity as a whole? I had, in a long poem of my late teens, sought to resolve the secrets of harmony, by imagining being a truth seeker conjuring up all the ancient Greek philosophers who had contradicted each other about the secret of happiness, such as, juxtaposed, Diogenes, Zeno & Epicurus . This craving to find “truth” had arisen from my teenage loss of faith in the Christian religion of my childhood and early youth, which I had assumed to be “the truth” & the guaranteed way to harmony ‘according to the Laws of God & Jesus’. Too much questioning analysis dismantles the whole: but how to put the fragments back together?
From this “whirlpool” or “crucible” (my favorite metaphor, being born of the iron & steel city of Sheffield) however, had emerged “a golden thread through this labyrinth” in the form of the philo sophy of existentialism.
While rich in life-experience that taught much Wisdom, this was not conducive to happiness, in fact, almost the reverse till it was, after another bout of existential & emotional despair, that I went into retreat, in the country, with a rescuing poet friend who introduced me to his practice of meditation in the tradition of Zen-Buddhism and Taoism as a way of clarifying the chaos of ideas and emotions hitherto embraced, “as in the still pool where turbulent waters become clear and one sees both the parts and the whole clearly”.
For this reason, I would recommend, “seekers of harmony” in either human civilisation or the Planetary Creation as a whole (the two are intertwined and inseparable) to balance up seeking “truth” intellectually in books (the “thesis”) with such intuitive retreats “to find one’s true self and God” apart (the “antithesis”) so as to finally arrive at the synthesis of concepts of harmony that are not imposed, as dogmas, but, in tune with the laws and nature of the greater creation which one learns by dogma-free observation.
The key “existentialist” questions, here, of all things observed or experienced (as of the lesson of the child with his or her toys) are “Is this way of living or going about things conducive to the happiness and well-being of both oneself and all with whom we are involved collectively? And is only individual or private family happiness/harmony possible, in isolation, or is it possible for the greater collective of all?”
At 26, I had not yet reached the stage of going beyond personal to general harmony (even though the two are inseparable all being interconnected & mutually dependent), but came to the basic conclusion (applicable to both) that, to paraphrase Buddhist teachings, one cannot have right feeling, thought and a action, without right life-style and right livelihood, hence my taking up an ecological career on the land. At first, I tried to formulate the “perfect plan or blue-print” to impose on lived reality: but while, on the whole, sounder and more harmonious, in body, soul, mind and spirit, this “blue print” came to grief on the unexpected reefs of our flawed humanity. In our microcosm, at one with Creation, by ensuring an inner peace, harmony and control, despite the distressing disharmony, conflict and suffering in so much of the world around us. The dream of a totally harmonious world for all remains to be fulfilled which is what has driven my dedication to the work of our Vision Quester News Agency since 1991 and our Universal Alliance since 1993.
I still continue to observe all things, situations and experiences, in a non- judgmental and reflective way, so as to see what further lessons and Wisdom can be learnt, expressed, often as philosophical poetry, (as guidance in place of all imposed, traditional dogmatic & authoritarian “systems”, “isms” & “laws”), in ready response to whatever or whoever comes along and comes to pass, on the fundamental bases of the teachings of Jesus Christ in his Sermon on the Mount. I would suggest that this balance between “deliberate classical composition” (based on the Ancient Hellenic ideals of Harmony) and the flexible “play it by ear” Taoist jazz of ongoing lessons, observations of specific problem areas, is the best way forward to the success of “Peace from Harmony” world-wide for all humans & creation. One of our personal primary life-style pre-conditions for the harmony & spiritual peace we have created in the woodland wild flora & fauna sanctuary, here, is total non-violence towards all life-forms.
In conclusion, I think that my life way of the search of harmony in myself and in a world that has for me the key meaning, may be useful to other people, especially young humans during the transition era to a harmonious civilization.
The article basic postulates are expressed in the model of tetranet harmonious thinking, proposed and developed in the ABC of Harmony:
David Allen Stringer, poet, painter & playwright, born August 1944 in the Northern Industrial town of Rotherham near Sheffield, educated at Woodhouse Grammar School, Sheffield, then Fowey Grammar School, Cornwall, UK.
Following a 1960’/70’s career as a jazz, blues, folk & rock singer/song-writer, became, finally, an organic horticulturalist and wild-flora and fauna ecologist & consultant/agricultural contractor/small farmer, now retired. A life-long networker.
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