Monday, June 7, 2010
Stones of meaning
The Canadian Inuit use the symbol of an Inuksuk, which means "something which acts for or performs the function of a person." The word Inunnguaq is also used for this particular type of rock formation (that look more like a person rather than a conical heap of stones, and interestingly is shown on the cover of the Rush album Test for Echo).
I was given a small inuksuk today by a friend who recently traveled to Canada and brought back this "guardian spirit". Immediately I experienced a deep sense of gratitude and honor with this gift in my hand. It reminded me that all over the earth humans connect themselves with symbols unique as a design of stones, and with amazing feats such as massive concrete dams.
The surprise in all this is when we "use" a symbol of any kind to develop within ourselves greater understanding and appreciation of our culture, there's the chance we can see a bit farther into the future of our civilization. As Edward Abbbey suggests in his brilliant book, Desert Solitude,"Civilization is the wild river; culture, 592,000 tons of cement."