Since the beginning of this class we have continually mentioned loops and cycles and applied them to what we have been learning. When this semester began, our professor asked us to bounce a ball against the wall and catch it in the rebound. The exercise came with unclear intentions at first, but after reading the class materials and reflecting, that exercise symbolized practice and reception and a continuous loop.
In Disney’s The Lion King, there is a famous song called The Circle of Life. This song encompasses the ideas of how life is a cycle. Humans, similar to animals, go through a life cycle: birth, childhood, schooling, jobs and career, retirement and death. During the years when a person’s focus is their career, they often get married, begin a family, and then later care for their elders. Throughout this lifetime humans also create their own habit cycles. The process of learning requires a loop of mistakes and reflection to allow forward progress. That loop is meant to ensure that the same mistake is not made repeatedly and that a person is able to move on and acquire knowledge. Unfortunately, sometimes one person’s progress is made at the expense of other people.
Each year we literally circle around the sun and each day our planet spins on its axis and provides us with a day and night. On our Earth, natural disasters occur destroying an area and allowing for its regrowth afterwards which strengthens the environment, allowing it to stay healthy. Forest fires are a common example of this. The forest fires burn all the vegetation and afterwards plants begin to regrow, and the forest is eventually rebuilt. “Blood. The river of life.” (Everett, 21) is the idea that without destruction our earth would not function the same. Death often needs to occur for life to be appreciated.
Humans have created theories of Earth’s end and have been continually wrong, yet each time a theory failed a new one is created. This creates an everlasting cycle of trying to predict the future.
Home by Toni Morrison includes a scene where the main characters buried a man’s body at the base of a spilt tree. This symbolized the main characters becoming adults and beginning a new chapter in their lives. There are many ways to respect the dead through a funeral and burial based on cultural traditions. One type of funeral tradition is a New Orleans Jazz funeral where there is a period of mourning and after the burial the group parades around in celebration of that person’s life.
In class we learned about an African burial ground in Manhattan. Here there is a structure built in a spiral and when you walk down to the center there is a globe etched into the platform’s ground. This physical structure represents the cycle of life that occurs in our world.
In Zulus by Percival Everett, the main character, Alice Achitophel, breaks free from her old body and comes out in a new one as a symbol of a rebirth. Just like we are born to die, some people believe that when we die, we are reborn. Another idea of rebirth comes within your lifetime. You may find a way to cleanse yourself and move forward to become a better version of who you were. Creating a cycle of growth.