The Wise Oak Speaks

16 January 2023 10:12

Humanity must learn from the wisdom of nature, writes Christian Häuselmann. The first and most relevant lesson they learned is that life is an eternal ebb and flow of growth, destruction and rebirth.

When the world fell into an anxious panic of divisive hatred, The Wise Oak helped a tall, bendy pine withstand a windstorm. While the virus pandemic of 2020 spread from Wuhan, China like wildfire around the globe, The Wise Oak stood strong and unwavering, producing clean air for all. During the following Roaring 20’s when greed and selfishness exploded exponentially, The Wise Oak produced on average 2,291 acorns per year - precisely the same number as during the Great Crash of 2029, when the world was thrust back into anguishing poverty and deep transformation. The Wise Oak is on a long-term schedule of give and take. 

During the pandemic, with most businesses closed and all of humanity confined to their homes, life slowed down dramatically for all of us, and for many, life tragically came to an end. As the world’s problems escalated out of control, people reverted further inward to their personal life bubbles, where they could still wield at least some sense of control. 

The new life bubbles were more easily navigable inner circles of family, friends and neighbors resulting in a biosphere scarcely extending beyond their own neighborhood. These eerie and eerily important months offered a valuable learning period for life in the Greenvilles - the resilient, decentralized, human-friendly social and economic structure emerging at the start of the 2030s. 

As life became simpler and more locally rooted, the trees and forests naturally emerged as the newly favored source of ancient knowledge. In a world where things were rapidly flying out of control, the Greenvillagers looked to the majestic, stability of the oldest living organisms of our planet, for guidance and inspiration. 

The first and most relevant lesson they learned is that life is an eternal ebb and flow of growth, destruction and rebirth. Many trees experience an annual period of production and growth followed by a dormant period where they lose their leaves and appear to die. The Greenvillagers realized they too have the ups and downs in life, with eternal growth being a purely human, eventually failing concept. Occasional forest fires may seem like a devastating forest-ending tragedy, but there is often a period of new growth that follows. There are even some benefits to the forest such as cleaning the forest floor of debris, opening it up to sunlight, for other plants to grow and nourishing the soil. 

In addition, “Treevilles” are not homogenous nor selfish, but rather quite diverse and nurturing. Different species of trees live side by side and support each other during raging rain and snowstorms - but if they were all the same, they would simply bend and break with no one to lean on. “Treevilles” are give and take systems, taking in carbon dioxide and emitting oxygen for use by others. Trees even have their own mycelium-based neural underground network that is capable of facilitating tree communication, memory, learning and exchange of nutrients. 

When a system is give and take, both parties thrive and the system can go on sustainably for eternity. If it is only take and extract, then it will be short lived for all.

So, what can we learn? We might have to learn to embrace and celebrate negative feedback, failure, diversity, regional networks, balanced give and take, with a multi-generational vision and approach. Sounds impossible? Or rather doable, liberating and fun?


Christian Haeuselmann is president of the YODEL Foundation and lives in Del Mar/California, US.