In the days before man, there stood a tree. It was a small tree, dwarfed by the other, normal tress around it. Don’t let this fool you; though it was small, it is of great significance to this story. The tree was mostly unfeeling, and somewhat apathetic. Though it felt no emotion, the tree still stood defiantly before God, for it had grown itself out of its own volition. This tree, much like God Himself, was an unmoved mover, it was created by its own hand (or other leafy appendage trees have that resembles a hand) and lacked any need for meaning. The tree became somewhat of an enigma, suddenly deciding on its off days that it didn’t want to exist, and reappearing several days later after it decided nonexistence wasn’t the right way to go. Whatever was convenient at time, I suppose.
Now, as man began his careful ascent to socially patterned insanity, the tree lived on. Naturally, Dasein was intrigued by the tree. How does this tree lack meaning, yet still exist? they ask themselves. How does it become the master of its own destiny?
God must reside in the tree, the Catholic Church reasoned, How else could it move and live in the way it does?
Jesus touched that tree, the Christian Church said, only then could the tree move as we do.
The tree follows the Tao, hummed the Taoists, it moves to where the Tao pushes it.
The tree lives to sustain itself, cried the scientists, and in doing so, benefits the rest of the world.
And alas, with this last observation, man finally found its answer concerning the issue of the tree’s existence. As such, he proceeded to cut down the tree, which became quite the ordeal as the tree decided it would be more convenient to be far away from the axes and the hacksaws. Why the tree didn’t simply pretend to be another tree and hide off in the mountains, I don’t know. Either way, man soon grew tired of this futile chase, and let the tree be (or not be, depending on the given moment). The reason man could never catch, or much less understand, the tree was because he never understood what it wanted. A tree wants to be a tree, and though this tree was a different tree than the rest, all it ever wanted to be was a tree. Dasein, on the other hand, expects much more of itself than even it can give, and as a result never becomes what it is. That’s the truth, pure and simple.
I guess the moral of the story is not to take existential lessons from trees, or anything else of that sort.
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