I would like to offer an amendment to the main points of my blog post that was recently published (linked here if you missed it). After deep reflection concerning my statement that “Mauna Kea is us”, I came to an understanding that it was missing a subtle component to it. So rather than go back and edit it, I left my last post as is, and am offering and new one here.
The purpose of leaving that post as is it was originally written is two fold. First off that represents my mana`o at the time and for me to go back and change and edit what was written would devalue their original intention. Also I think it is important, as this situation unfolds and new layers of its subtle complexity reveal itself, that we remain open to morphing our viewpoints to better shape an informed and well rounded view on the situation.
To summarize the main point of my blog post, the question was, what insights are provided by the song “Mauna Kea” by the Sons of Hawaii as it relates to whether the Thirty Meter Telescope occupies a proper place in the landscape of Maunakea in terms of it representing a balance and order with the elements and the world around us.
Before I expound on that point, I first want to make sure I am clear on my contrast of the journeys taken by Queen Emma to the piko of Maunakea and King Kalakaua’s journey around the world with the modern human’s journey to the summits of Maunakea to seek out spiritual identity either through native cultural practice or astronomical investigation. I need to make sure that this comparison is clear for my point to make sense. I think it is easy to make the surface connection without much historical context that when Queen Emma journeyed to the top of Maunakea and swam across Lake Waiau she was experiencing a spiritual rebirth which enabled her to be in better position to guide and help her people. And also, I think it is as easy to contrast that journey to King Kalakaua’s world trip in which he examined and learned about other cultures with the purpose of bringing what he learned and experienced back to Hawai`i for the betterment of his people.
What I need to make clear is how I am now making a connection between the journey of those two individuals with what we as individuals are doing today by journeying, whether to the stars or into our inner piko. What is different though from before, and the point I was attempting to make is that it is on Maunakea where we are all making this journey. There in lies my reasoning behind the statement I made in my last blogpost, “we need to reverse our perspective from ‘We Are Maunakea’, in order to better demonstrate a proper understanding of the balance of the earth, our land, our honua, our `aina, our moku, our wa`a and the elements…and let her speak to us.” So when I proposed that the guiding concept should be “Maunakea Is Us” what I am saying is that we are the ones making the spiritual journey, whether it be via the stars or our own inner piko, and that Maunakea is the vehicle for that journey.
This is a switch in perception from when it is said “We Are Maunakea”, as that statement directs and imposes our human perception onto the mountain, something that is not possible when taking a nature-centric view on the world. And if someone is to take the position that the mountain and/or the stars can speak to us what we are expressing and communicating is a nature-centric viewpoint. So here there lies a conflicted viewpoint.
What I reflected on specifically though is my statement, “Maunakea is us”. What I would like to say in retrospection is that this is a journey being conducted by the individual and by the individual only. Just like no scientist or astronomer can speak to the spiritual vision of everyone, the Hawaiian spiritualist or cultural practitioner cannot speak to the spiritual vision of all either. So my amendment to the “Maunakea is us” statement is to consolidate the thinking towards the individual and say “Maunakea is me”.
Maunakea is me.
So here I want to make a final point that this does not divide or segregate us, rather it brings us together. Through our individual journeys we are brought together in spiritual seeking and reflection. When I say “Maunakea is me” I am saying the Maunakea is where I find my spiritual destiny, I am saying I am going there to seek and to find out what is happening. The beautiful part of this statement is it is all inclusive, it allows all people to “look up towards her peaks and then into her piko, and then back out into the heavens again, we continue to seek, and we ask ourselves, ‘E aha ‘ia ana ‘o Maunakea?’. What is happening? What are we doing? Where are we going? How did we get here?” (from my blogpost “Maunakea Is Us”)
So this brings me to my second, and probably more challenging point in this discussion, does the Thirty Meter Telescope occupy a proper place in the landscape of Maunakea in terms of it representing a balance and order with the elements and the world around us? THrought he lens that I just presented, we have to consider that it possibly does. Political viewpoints aside, my concern again is for the whole humanity as I am part of the human race that temporarily resides in the earth’s space. TMT succeeds in fulfilling the function of occupying a proper place in the landscape of Maunakea in terms of it being a vehicle to draw and assist those who seek to more deeply understand the place of us as humans within the large expansive universe around us. And I do believe that failing to build this observatory will negatively impact the development of astronomy and the high sciences in Hawaii, and more specifically the Big Island, and will not fulfill the above stated function.
I hope this blog post was able to both clarify the points of my previous blogpost and also offer some deeper insights into them. And regardless of the direction that the proceeding events will take, Maunakea has done her job. She has called all who seek together and told us that she is us. And so I say in my most deepest and humblest of places to offer the more specific viewpoint that “Maunakea is me”.