Feng Shui is all about noticing the nuances of nature and honoring the environment. To that end, I have a major beef with mainstream thought that I think originates from a materialistic view of life - a way of thinking that teaches humans are superior species and all other species are inferior, “dead”, one-dimensional, void of spirit.
The subject is “weeds,” and more specifically, Scotch Broom, a species of plant that is considered “invasive.”
It was during a time when I was commuting to grad school along Old San Jose Rd. when the issue of Scotch Broom first came to my attention. The Santa Cruz Sentinel had featured a story about a woman who was singlehandedly trying to eradicate Scotch Broom wherever she could. I wish I had saved the article, but I did not. As I recall, this woman would coordinate Scotch Broom eradication efforts throughout the Santa Cruz Mountains. As I was driving through the mountains, I was very aware of this plant blossoming prolifically on the side of the road.
At that time I was studying Process Work at the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology. Process Work is a discipline developed by Arnold Mindell that draws from Jungian psychology, Quantum Physics, and Taoism. One of the primary teachings is that the Earth is a living being that literally responds to whatever impacts it.
In the article about the woman attempting to eradicate Scotch Broom there was mention of the “fact” that the species was not “indigenous” to the area and thus was considered an invasive entity. In the little research I have subsequently done on the plant via google searches, I have read that the plant is credited with costing farmers and the timber industry incalculable amounts of money in attempted eradication efforts and lost crop damages. Since American culture is all about money and production, I can understand the concern about this “headstrong” plant.
What infuriated me were the following assumptions:
- That the concept of “indigenous” is commonly interpreted to mean that everything should be static and stay where it was assumed to have originally come from (and this can never really be known – not the way people think it can be known – a good example is ethnicity. Part of my heritage is Northern Italian, and I am blonde. I have been told that it is well known that Northern Italians are blonde. Now why would this be the case? Could it have to do with the fact that Northern Italy borders on Switzerland – a known blonde haven? If that is the case, then I guess the Italian heritage also must include Swiss heritage if you go back far enough). In the case of plants and the way I interpret Process Work, I would assume that the plants have a wisdom and that they are growing where the conditions are good for them to grow. Where is it written that plants have to stay where it is believed they orginated from? I seriously do not understand the logic of this and don’t think any arguments could stand up to scrutiny.
- The idea that there are such things as “weeds” is socially constructed thought, meaning it is a purely fabricated – “made up” idea. Weeds are plants that people have designated as being undesirable. The fact that most people do not even know this is a sorry commentary on our schools, but that is a subject for another rant.
- The idea that this woman thought that she knew better than nature what was appropriate for the Earth and that she thought she could actually make a significant impact by randomly jumping out of her car and wantonly ripping the plants out of the ground was more than absurd to me. I couldn’t believe the Sentinel gave her obsession such a spotlight without also noting how absurd the notion was that a few people (she and her obsessive-compulsive plant hating posse) could eradicate an entire species of plant from a huge area, where it was growing (and continues to grow) quite prolifically. The plant is absolutely thriving in the Santa Cruz Mountains!
- The fact that it was just assumed to be “true” that this is a “bad” plant that had to be eradicated for the good of mankind. As I recall, the Sentinel article said that the plant is “bad” because it chokes everything else out and makes it difficult for birds in some way. My response to that is that nature is King or Queen and no one can argue with nature!
This past Easter, one of my daughters hosted a family get-together at her house and I noticed a plant that looked suspiciously like Scotch Broom in her front yard. She PLANTED it on purpose. She purchased it from a nursery.
I find this so amusing.