Encounter With a Tree

I’m currently taking a class called iEngineering. It’s a philosophical approach to answering questions like “Why do you want to be an engineer?” or “What do you want the impact of your work as an engineer to be?” It is a very interesting class and is a refreshing way to take a break from my engineering classes. Our last assignment was to come face to face with a tree for 5 minutes and then write about it for 20 minutes. Here’s what I wrote for my assignment:

Heidegger asks us to “let it stand where it stands.” He says that “thought has never let the tree stand where it stands”. It think he’s implying that the being of the tree is one idea removed from all the scientific knowledge associated with trees. Sitting here, I find it difficult not to associate the tree with photosynthesis, biology, the carbon and water cycle, etc. However, to appreciate the tree as its own being, those thoughts must be removed. Since I already know the tree in its scientific form, does that hinder or cloud my ability to see the tree as its true being? With people, it may be easier to see their true beings because they can talk. Talking and communication helps to remove the scientific process of the human body from the human as his or her true being. However this tree cannot talk to me or I to it. Therefore, it is more difficult to see the tree as its true being.

In my experience with other trees, I have become close to understanding the tree as a being. However, this understanding only occurs through one medium – photography. In my photography adventures, I never think of the trees in a scientific capacity. I just allow the tree to be there in its own form – to let it stand where it stands. I don’t know why my brain dispels all thoughts of the tree when I’m doing photography. This has allowed me to understand the tree as a being – but only the trees I’ve photographed and truly encountered face to face. It’s difficult to put this understand into words. There’s something about seeing the tree as a being that gives a deeper comprehension about the tree; its spirit, its life, and its presence. It cannot be described with science. Unfortunately, I don’t understand the tree I’m sitting under as a being. At least not yet.

Here’s a link to my photography blog: http://szlphotography.wordpress.com/