Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The Silk Road...

I guess it's safe to say that man is nomadic. We've always been on the move. I think it's hard to find a family who can say that they've been in one place for 10 generations. Hence, all these apartheid-like sentiments (even in Malaysia) make not much sense. And anyway, life is the ultimate journey too. There is a starting point and also the end. Despite what cryogenic science (or hoax) is trying to do to induce modern mummification, life still ends.

Today I was thinking about the Silk Road. The Silk Road is not actually not made up of just one road but multiple pathways (land and sea) that lead from Chang-an to the Mediterranean Sea. And at other points in history, even the maritime routes that go around the Cape of Good Hope are considered part of the road. Like any journeys, you get a wealth of experience just traversing the routes. Life is like going onto The Silk Road. The starting and end points are rather clear but there are multiple pathways that you can use, depending on what you want and how you are lead.

As you travel along The Silk Road, sometimes you tend to 'pick up' other travelers. Sometimes travelers band together out of necessity; for safety to keep bands of bandits away. They help each other survive the journey. At other times, a few stragglers or two would join a bigger group. Eventually some of these stragglers stay and contribute to the well-being of the group. Then there are also those who join a bigger group so that they can leech on them. Once they are done 'using' them and get to their destination, they move on. That's how it's like in our lives today too... those people who wander in (and also out) of our lives.

Like The Silk Road travelers who see new sights and learn new things as they journey; as Marco Polo did on his journeys to China; we too learn from the sights and lessons from our interaction with the people who go in (and out) from our lives. Some leave a bitter sweet tastes, some leave sweet bitter tastes, yet there are those who leave only a sweet taste and also others who leave only a bitter residue. Lessons from the journey.

How we react to these elements in our journey.... we could reject them outright as many of the traveling groups did too, when they felt that their survival might be jeopardize by the presence of the new additions or including new members might mean stretching their resources and it's just too much hassle. Or we could provide them the protection as did too by other traveling bands. Also we could just include them in and hope assimilation takes place in the journey together, we get used to each other, even enjoy each other..

The Silk Road wasn't exclusively just for the trade of silk as many other things were traded via it.. ivory, spices, gold, etc., etc. Similarly too, our life shouldn't be bound by just the things we see as important to us only. It's also about looking at the bigger picture, the benefits and good that we should be able to do and get out of it collectively; a symbiosis of the mutualistic kind rather than just commensalism kind or worse still, parasitic. Both sides come out of it the better. For on The Silk Road, from the West came stuff like ivory and gold and the journey from the East brought silk and ceramic.

The Silk Road, even though it no longer serves the purpose it used to, there are still a great many lessons we can draw from it, not just the historical facts. The Silk Road, though often seen from the point of the journey traversed physically is also a journey of other sorts... Ah! Ramblings on a morning after a night of conversation with a friend. And perhaps someday, I'll make the actual journey there myself too... to the adventure beckoned by The Silk Road and soak in all the footprints of those who were there before me.


Thomas C B Chua said...

AJ7, very philosophical one. What have you eaten or drunk? LOL

AJ7 said...

A friend got me thinking....