Monday, June 02, 2008
Gardening is philosophizing
Some people find gardening boring. They think only of the weeds that disturb the plan and structure that they have made or want to make of the piece of soil that they call their garden. However, there is also another way of looking at this same piece of soil. Take for example the weeds that I just mentioned. It is true, there is something in a garden that we call weeds, which are nothing more than plants that do not grow on what we consider their proper places or that we do not want to have in our garden at all. Actually, there are no weeds; there is only something that we call weeds.When I walk through my garden I look here and there and sometimes I see a plant that I categorize as weed and so I remove it. But am I weeding by doing this? No, what other people call weeding is simply a casual act for me. When I walk through my garden, I look at the plants and watch how they grow. I look at the plan and structure of my piece of soil. I look at what grows and what fades away, and while doing that my hand is moving to a plant that does not grow on its proper place, which means that it does not grow on the place where I want to have it or that I do not want to have this plant in my garden at all. Or I see a plant called “weed” and I do nothing. As such I do not find weeds so important. The image of the whole is what counts, and if it is important from the respect of the view of the whole and the relation between part and whole to remove a plant, well, than my hand moves to that plant and removes it. We could call that weeding, but it is weeding of a different kind. It is not a task or an effort, in the sense of being a burden for me, but this “weeding” is here nothing else than making the parts fit together. In that sense there is no difference between gardening and philosophizing. When I am philosophizing, and I have built up and elaborated an idea and I have written it down, usually, on a second reading, it happens that I find a word, a sentence, a partial thought that was to be expected to fit in the whole but that appears to be like weeds in my garden. It has to be removed and if possible it has to make room for one or more ideas that fit better there. But this weeding is not a kind of boring job that I would rather have done by someone else. No, it is an act of completing my basic idea that I have elaborated and it is an act of taking care that the whole fits harmoniously together. And just that is also what we do when we are weeding in a garden.