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Re: Comparison of philosophical languages

From:Roger Mills <romilly@...>
Date:Sunday, January 19, 2003, 15:55
Sarah Marie Parker-Allen wrote:

>You can't really argue that a fir is a universal religious symbol, but then >few things are. However, the Christians (and I'm one) definitely borrowed >evergreen plants (of all sorts) as a religious/spiritual symbol from
>European pagan groups, for the simple reason that not a whole lot grows in >the winter, and the stuff that's still green when not much else is, is >inspirational even without any specific doctrinal definitions
True, but then, the oak and the ash were also venerated, and they're deciduous. There's also the "tree of life" concept, though the images I'm familiar with don't seem to represent any particular variety of tree. Personally if I were designing a classificatory language, trees would be distinguished according to deciduous/evergreen, hard/soft wood and other things I really haven't thought much about....maybe rot or water or insect resistance, or other useful aspects, like fruit/nut bearing (and then edible/inedible), suitability for construction/carving/firewood-- the list could get quite long.
>JOOC, does anyone know what plants grow all year long in India? Or New >Zealand, or Haiti, or Indonesia?
Don't know about NZ, India (with fairly wide climate variations) or Haiti, but I seem to recall that trees in Indonesia almost never went totally bare (since, except maybe in the very high mountains, they're never exposed to extreme cold and don't go dormant). Some lose leaves and thin out in the dry season, but new leaves are right there ready to take their place. I don't recall ever seeing evergreens/conifers, but then I wasn't paying a lot of attention. One noticeable exception-- the kapok tree, which does go totally bare, and looks quite desolate and frankly a little weird, with the big seed pods hanging in it; from a distance they look like a flock of crows in the tree. Important: the banyan, which even in Moslem areas has a residual sacredness, and in non-Moslem areas, offerings are frequently left under them, or hung on them. They also, of course, provide dense and very welcome shade. Sacred in India too, IIRC.