Australian Aboriginals have a peculiar custom deeply rooted within their native culture.
Throughout their continent, landmarks are identified by songs and form a subtle navigation mechanism called Songlines. A Songline is a sequence of songs that describes how the world came to be and even indicate a distinct direction.
By singing the songs in the appropriate sequence, the indigenous Australians knew how to travel vast distances, even crossing deserts and other people’s territories. Over the ages, thousands of Songlines emerged from their culture, overlapping and connecting the many indigenous peoples of Australia.
There is a deeper meaning even. To the mind of the Aborigine, in singing the Songlines, the world is being recreated, keeping the land alive and resourceful.
What might seem as a mythical, almost spiritual thought remarkably resembles the way our own neurology works. In fact, as we explore and discover the world, new neurological connections and pathways are formed. The complex neurological network of pathways forms a map of the world. Much like the Songlines, this map is not the same as the territory it describes. It is a vivid albeit limited and very personal representation, or model of the world.
Singing Songlines recreates reality. This is also true for our own neurological system. As we think back to any particular past event, we re-present the images, the sounds and the feelings in the present. The more often we do this, the more vivid and real the experience becomes.
Although a mythical thought, the concept of Songlines, describing and creating our world, is a beautiful metaphor both in its simplicity and its complexity.
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