THE BALANCE OF FACTS
THE BALANCE OF FACTS
THE BALANCE OF FACTS
THE BALANCE OF FACTS
The Dreamtime, or the Dreaming, portrays the Aboriginal beliefs in spiritual existence. According to the tribes that first settled down in the continent, the Dreaming's roots date all the way back to the very begging of the creation of the world. The meaning and ideology of the term is generally not so well-understood by non-indigenous people as it is referred to as part of the culture of one of the early nations, which differs from modern perceptions.
The Spirits were the creators of everything. They made the land and the seas, the rocks and the plants, the sky and the earth. They were the higher power and the Australian Aborigines spent their lifetimes honoring this power, which guided their path and shaped their way of thinking. Not only creators of everything, which could be seen as well as felt, the Spirits also gave the Aborigines the Dreaming.
The time when everything started existing according to the initial Australians, was called the Dreaming. This is the foundation of the continent's culture. The origin of the Dreaming goes way back - 65 000 years back in time to be exact. The Ancestors of the nation shaped the land, forming some parts of it as sacred. The Aborigines were very careful and overprotective of those places, strongly believing in their significance.
The Australian Aborigines are known to have believed that the world didn't have any shape and was therefore empty. Darkness dominated, and life was simply asleep, but this changed when the creation began happening. After the Dreaming and the influence of the Spirits, objects began taking shapes and came to be. They created the four elements: water, earth, air and fire, as well as all the planets, the Sun and the Moon. The Dreaming therefore is a continuous process, which never ended. It is a small cosmos on its own, unifying the past, present and the future into one.
The Australian Aborigines' home riches so many vivid areas of the continent, including Fraser Island, Tasmania, Palm Island, Groote Eylandt and Mornington Island. The Aborigines had very strong believes in relation to the powers of the land, claiming that they never owned it - it rather owned them. The only reason they were able to call it their home is because they were looking after it and the land was taking care of the people in return.
Equally important to the Dreaming was the tribes' understandings of the disappearance of the Spirits. There came a time, when the creators of everything vanished from sight. Some of them were thought to have started living in sacred places, which is why the Aborigines perceived their homeland to be so sacred. The ancestors of today's Australians used to believe that the creators started living in rocks, in water holes and some went up to the sky to guide the people from above and keep them safe. Others transformed completely, taking the forms of the rain, the lightnings and the thunderstorms so they could be part of peoples' life.
Among the hundred's different Aboriginal languages, there isn't a word to describe 'time', because to them this simply doesn't exist. Dreaming and Dreamtime are used to replace it and summarize the ideologies of the Aborigines about everything they knew, everything they could see, feel and experience. This is why the Dreaming has such a vivid, and overwhelming meaning and has survived the obstacles of time. For the past couple thousand years, the Dreaming has built a rich cultural heritage that can identify a whole nation.
Read more about the Land, its connection to people and the way it has been perceived from different generations in the very first print issue of ORIGIN. The Land Issue covers varied topics, most of which remain related to cultural aspects of the land and its importance.
A lot of people travel to explore places and learn about them which is the message that ORIGIN wants to spread. With traveling, however, comes certain responsibilities that we should all be aware of. Elephants riding has become a popular way to explore locations by land. People have been doing this as part of their trips, mostly to places such as Thailand, Nepal, Cambodia and other parts of Asia. It is a common thing to see in certain places in Africa as well. We investigated the activity to explain why it is wrong and riding elephants should be banned everywhere.
Our first print issue studies culture and traveling represented through the land. We explored various location around the globe and learned what makes the land so valuable, which nations cherish it and how it helps us establish an identity. Traveling is important to us but traveling responsibly and making an impact is what we feel proud to stand behind. This is why riding elephants as a way of amusement should be reconsidered.
Let’s talk about the details. Elephants are very caring and extremely intelligent animals. It is a well-known fact that they never forget anything. When kept in captivity instead of spending their life in the wild, elephants die younger. Unlike in other species, this is common for the gentle giants and is often a result for stress.
Many African cultures respect elephants, believing they symbolize strength, loyalty and power. However, power can be a very tender concept. Elephant used as a tourism tool suffer from great pain daily. Elephants can be hurt very severely from the weight of carrying people and a trainer on their backs. The reason for this is the design of their spines. They have sharp protrusions, extending upwards from their spine instead of having round spinal disks. The protrusions and the tissue that serves to protect them can be harmed easily from weight pressure. Once a damage to their spine has been made, there is no going back and sometimes the harm can be irreversible. While this can’t be physically seen, the harm that the chairs can do to the elephants’ skin is. It is often the case that the chairs and the weight on their back can damage the animal’s skin and cause pain to their body. The chair, called Howdah, that gets attached to their backs, rubs on their skin and can cause blisters, which can sometimes get infected.
The training that elephants are required to go through when in captivity sometimes adopts a traditional Thai ‘phajaan’ or ‘crush’ technique. Explaining the technique would compare it to the animals’ spirits constantly and continuously being broken by the means of torture and social isolation. This is done in order to tame them. Elephants are wild animals, this is their nature as they are born in such conditions. Making them safe and obedient around people requires them to go through such training. As horrible as it sounds, in some places young elephants are taken away from their mothers to be abused with nails, bull hooks and bamboo sticks to make them obey rules, given by people. The animals often lack sleep and are starved to become submissive.
Actions from such nature are cruel and harmful as the technique is used to crash the animals’ spirit. Once wild and free, elephants become a source of tourism and entertainment. Nobody, who cared about sustainable tourism should ever ride an elephant.
In a sense, elephants have a human soul. They socialise and feel everything – pain, happiness, grief, sadness etc. They spend their life building families and finding friends. The largest land animals are a gift from nature and it is our responsibility to take special care of them and make sure they live according to their nature. Many animals, who are kept in captivity, are forced to live in isolation and carry heavy loads all day long, which is a wrong way to treat them. Their strength and power shouldn’t be abused but treated gently and celebrated by people. Elephants require minimal care to stay happy and healthy, which comes from giving them freedom to behave naturally and socialise. It is our responsibility to be culturally aware while traveling and make sure to spread awareness about the problem.
You can read the rest of the article as published in the LAND issue.
THE CRADLE OF WESTERN CIVILISATION
Travel to the country that layered much of the foundation of the ancient world and remains one of the most appreciated tourist destinations in the world today
Words: Aleksandra Georgieva
12 July 2019
Located at the crossroads of Europe, Africa and Asia and on the southern end of the Balkan Peninsula lays Greece. Not only does the country have the longest coastline on the Mediterranean Basin, but as its length exceeds thirteen and a half thousand kilometres, it also ranks as the eleventh longest coastline in the world. The location of Greece allows for a great experience either in the hot and dry summer season or even during the wet winter periods. The country's rich historical legacy is reflected in 18 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Greece was also a founding member of the United Nations, it is part of the EU, NATO, the World Trade Organization (WTO) and several other international unions. There is plenty to do and much to be visited, while the food culture takes a bit of space in the heart of anyone who has tried the traditional dishes and drinks, especially the fresh Mediterranean seafood cuisine.
Greece was the birthplace of the first advanced civilisations in Europe. It marked the beginning of the Minoan civilisation on Crete, the Cycladic civilisation on the islands at the Aegean Sea and the Mycenaean civilisation on the mainland. The cradle of Western civilisation and way ahead of its time, Greece served as a foundation to many other nations and governments. The Greek nation was organised into city-states, independent from one another, called polies ever since the eighth century BC. Pioneers in the principles of having equity under the law, trial by jury and a government based on the people, the Greeks layered the very beginning of modern-day democracy.
The country is where the Olympic Games alongside major mathematical and scientific principles, democracy, Western literature, philosophy and drama emerged. The literary forms, tragedy, comedy and poetry were all introduced by the Greeks and in turn influenced the entire Western artistic scene. The Greek culture and principles became integral aspects of the majority of the ancient world. From the east part of the Mediterranean and the Black Sea to the Roman and its succeeding Byzantine Empire, the Greek language and culture had a vital influence. Having gone through Ottoman oppression in the late 15th century and surviving a war of independence, the modern nation state of Greece emerged in 1830.
Today thousands of islands contribute to the territory of the country including Crete, Euboea, Rhodes and Lesbos, yet over two hundred remain uninhabited. While the west part of the country has many lakes, the majority of close to eighty per cent of the mainland of Greece is covered in mountains. Mount Olympus culminates at 2,918 meters with Mytikas peak and is known for being the home of the Twelve Gods. With Zeus in charge, married to his sister Hera, the rest of the Olympian Gods include Aphrodite, Poseidon, Dionysus, Ares, Athena, Demeter, Artemis, Hephaestus, Hermes and Apollo. An essential role of the Greek mythology which revolves around nymphs, magical creatures, legendary heroes and events, told trough ancient epics such as The Iliad and The Odyssey, was partly religious but above all cosmological in its attempt to explain the formation and function of the world.
With such significant history and beautiful scenery, it is only natural that tourism would be of the most beneficial factors to Greece's economy. In the past decade the country saw a steady rise in the number of tourists reaching over twenty-eight million visitors in 2016, compared to the seventeen million the country welcomed in 2007. This makes Greece among the most visited destinations in Europe. Its second-largest city Thessaloniki was named the fifth-best party location worldwide by the Lonely Planet in 2010. The following year Travel+Leisure showcased Santorini as 'The World's Best Island' with Mykonos ranking fifth in the whole of Europe.
People travel long and far to set foot on Greece's land. To walk the streets of this Mediterranean country means to walk in the footsteps of some of the greatest thinkers, philosophers and writers in global history. You can read more about the world-class islands of Greece and their extraordinary atmosphere or explore more of the global Destinations on NOMADSofORIGIN's official website.