The Boomerang Effect
Although recorded in 1798 as “wo-mur-rang”, and defined as an aboriginal club, an anonymous manuscript dating back to 1790 was discovered which described the same type of club with the name “boo-mer-rit”. Another written record lists the same type of club in the language of the Turuwal or Dharug aborigines’ people.
Often thought of as a throw stick, Australian aboriginal boomerangs date back to at least ten thousand years. However, even older ones have been found in Europe, hunting tools going back to the Stone Age. One European boomerang was discovered in Poland in the Carpathian Mountains. It was made from the tusk of a mammoth and in a group of objects scientifically dated to an age of approximately thirty thousand years old. Even the famous King Tut of Egypt owned a collection of boomerangs. I bet you do as well.
Asian mythology differs from most of the rest of mythology, Native American or American Indian mythology being the exception, in its outlook. Western mythology emphasizes a progression of self from the current state of being to reconciliation with the Absolute, a deity of complete power and being in the universe. Asian mythologies see the world with both good and evil as a type of dance, a waltz in which one participates with the entirety of the universe. Rather than separating good from evil, Asian mythologies viewed both as part of the whole.
Two other large differences exist in Asian mythologies. First, they emphasize an underlying belief in animism, a belief that not only are people manifestations of an Absolute, so are all places and things. Third, Asian mythologies see the timeline of mankind as more a cycle rather than a linear forward moving straight path. The old saying “What goes around comes around” is another form of the karma these mythologies espouse.
We have no way to truly prove whether or Asian mythologies or western mythologies have the right approach. We also have no way to truly and legally prove which creation theory is correct. We also cannot prove just how the boomerang was invented. It moves perpendicular to the ground, much like hold your arm bent above the ground. Some believe the crook reflects a bent arm, much like a martial arts or defensive move when one is attempting to get another in a headlock.
The boomerang is actually the earliest man-made attempt at flying. It is an aerodynamically correct airfoil, a wing with complicated math that early man figured out. Many believe the returning boomerang was probably a mistake at first, an attempt to straighten out the throwing stick that, instead of going straight, actually returned to the sender. A boomerang even works in outer space in zero gravity. It was proven aboard SpaceLab, aboard the Soviet MIR, and most recently in 2008 by Japanese astronaut Takao Doi on the International Space Station.
So how are you a boomerang collector and how does this connect to our discussion of Asian mythologies? Simple…and yes, it also is proven every day by people of all nationalities. We may not have a physical collection of throwing sticks but we do harbor those spoken things and emotional feelings that are thrown our way. And we, all of mankind, are very good at collecting them.
Western philosophy and psychology advocates confronting the accuser and seeking resolution in peaceful settings. Western mythologies speak of forgiveness and moving forward seeking the Absolute, leaving the hurt self behind. Asian philosophies, based upon Asian mythologies, state that one is already part of the Absolute and that only by losing one’s self can one find that harmony so desperately sought.
It is an interesting premise. How would you act towards your coworker if you knew already that said coworker was going to give you the key to the most valuable vault on earth? Most likely it would be like the beginnings of a love affair. Very little bothers the couple when they are first smitten; only after the relationship has become mundane do little things start to annoy. What once was seen as “cute” can become irksome. How kinder would you be to the person who just stole your parking place if you knew the next one would provide you with a free shopping trip, letting you purchase anything and everything at no cost?
We put ourselves into the world but want to control how others view us, act towards, and respond to us. We want life to move on our terms and when it doesn’t, we harbor ill feelings, holding on to them as if they were precious gemstones. We have our own boomerang collection and even do good deeds only if they can also benefit us.
Whether you believe in a linear path to ultimate resolution or a circular one, a never-ending cycle that reflects the ultimate power in everything already present, our actions are powerful. Not only are they powerful in affecting others, they are powerful in affecting ourselves. Ultimately the best thing we can do for ourselves and others is to let things grow, hunt for the positive and trust that the negative will make its own metamorphosis. We don’t need to harbor the negative, just waiting to throw it back to another. We need to grow and move forward. Life is not about collecting the bad or being stagnant. Life is about throwing out good things to the world. It’s the best kind of hunting stick and reaps the best harvest…here and in zero gravity.