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Wade Davis reports from the Dreamtime

Posted by: Emily McManus

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Wade Davis recently spent time in the Northern Territory of Australia, working on a film with the Aboriginees on Dreamtime and the Songlines. He reports from his time there:

I must tell you of the Dreaming. Spent a month in the Northern Territory. Here’s a copy of the note that I sent back in week three, from a sat phone at a waterhole 200 miles east of the road in Arnhem Land.

These are and were a people with no notion of linear time. Theirs was one of the great experiments in human thought. The notion that the world existed as a perfect whole, and that the singular duty of humanity was to maintain through ritual activity the land precisely as it existed when the Rainbow Serpent embarked on the journey of creation. The logos of the Dreaming was constancy, balance, symmetry. In the moment there is deductive logic, on a hunt for example, when the men pay attention to signs with a perspicacity that would put Sherlock Holmes to shame. But in life there is only the Dreaming, in which every thought, every plant and animal, are inextricably linked as a single impulse, the inspiration of the first dawning. Had humanity followed this track, it is true that we would have never placed a man on the moon. But we would most certainly not be speaking of our capacity to compromise the life support of the planet. I have never in all of my travels been so moved by a vision of another possibility, born literally 55,000 years ago.

This world is so amazing. The realm of the modern is just the floss. The ancient rhythms resonate in ways we can only imagine.

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