How were we educated? Were we educated about what to think, with things being poured into us to absorb? Or were we educated to find out for ourselves, to inquire and to investigate beyond what was merely put forward by others? Were we shaped (for the most part) by preset molds, or were we encouraged to be whole and independent human beings who can intelligently question things, take nothing for granted, and who probe deep beyond the ordinary, unfeeling, and commonplace?
When we were very young, our canvas was blank; they (for the most part) painted it with what they thought should be painted. What they thought should be painted — of course — was an extension of how their canvas was painted in the past. So they painted our canvas. However, they (fundamentally) did not encourage us to be extremely creative painters. (The painting-like rendition of the ant — down below — has little or no relevance with what we are actually writing about, by the way.) Most of us are a product of their painting… and we see the world through (and “as”) the network of that painting. If that network largely consists of separation, isolating images of self, accepted conflict and fragmentation, acceptance of ordinary values, boredom, and groping for more… can one, in a profoundly significant way, change to a blank canvas and paint a very different picture?
It may be that the painter is the painted, that the tree and the ant are not merely two separate things, and it may be that we have to unlearn a lot of the baloney that we learned. Just like the ant and the tree, unlearning and learning may not be two separate things, just like living and dying are not two separate things (though so many of us think they are).