Hello pine. I'm pleased to meet you. I have to admit that you look really extraordinary and you're also growing in an extraordinary beautiful place on a panorama spot; there is even a sign pointing to this hill saying that there is a beautiful view. But unfortunately, you're lying down on this hill, since several years, it seems, because your roots and your trunk have gathered moss for a while. But I can also see that your crown is living well and thriving. So despite toppling over, falling in a storm, I guess, you continue living in this reclining pose, as if nothing happened. It's remarkable and it's amazing, and it's really difficult to imagine how that could be comparable with human existence, but, maybe it could be like... Because of course you can live even if, for instance, damaging your spine in such a way that you have to you use a wheelchair or lie down even. I know about the danger of trying to find similarities in order to help one feel empathy. I just read a text recommended by a colleague by Michael Marder, a text I read several years ago, but which I had forgotten most of the points of, which is really a severe critique of empathy, even more a critique of pity. And there is also the mention of the notion of compassion, of suffering with, that has been suggested by some philosophers like Schopenhauer influenced by Buddhism and so on. But, I agree that when I try to somehow address you, and speak to you, I'm actually talking to myself and I'm somehow projecting something of myself into you. But, so I recognise those limits, but I'm not sure it's any better to think of you as somehow completely other. So I'm not so sure that what he calls "totaliarising" vitalism would be so dangerous. Well of course, anything that is "totaliarising" sounds bad, which means that we would somehow not recognise the differences, but vitalism in the sense of recognising the common features of all life, despite the differences, I cannot see really the danger with that. I think there might be more danger in thinking of vegetal life as something completely separate. And yes, Marder suggests that we should recognise the vegetal in ourselves, yes, why not. But in some sense, the idea of assuming that there might be capacity to suffer and even a form of consciousness or, or whatever sophisticated forms of life can produce in vegetation, like in old trees like you, I would prefer to, to err on the side of caution, so to speak. So, I like to think that, although I cannot know, how you feel, or what you think, I want to leave open the possibility that you feel, and that you think. And I think or I am convinced that it's completely wrong, to think of humans as so utterly different from all other forms of life. Of course, that's been discussed a lot by contemporary post-humanist philosophers and so on, but the legacy of Western philosophy of somehow emphasising the spiritual dimension in humans and spiritual in the sense of an inner soul, that is distinguished from the outer body and this old mind-body dualism in a way, but also this idea of something inner as opposed to something outer, which is used to make a big difference between animals and plants or even more between humans and plants or humans and animals, there is something that is wrong with that. But, I would like to somehow, I would like to think that that you can be completely other, but we can also be the same. Because if I sort of out of respect, consider you as completely other that otherness becomes an extra barrier. I think it's enough difficult to try to, if not communicate with you then to suffer with you, to enjoy with you without such extra barriers. I guess we could learn a lot from some indigenous cultures where there is assumed respect for other forms of life, even considered as persons or entities or... This fear of animism, or maybe in discussions of philosophy, the fear of vitalism is something I'm not really convinced of. All right, I'm not a philosopher, so my lack of conviction is more emotional or intuitive. Why would vitalism be so dangerous? Why would the assumption that life has similarities? I think biologists think that there is a common source for all life on Earth. And even though life is, different life forms are continually differentiating, it doesn't mean that they would somehow live in a completely different realm from humans. Well, it's difficult. And then, on the other hand, the idea of animism, the idea that there is an anima or animus or a soul, or life force, or even some sort of personhood, in everything, not only in living things, but in rocks and rivers, and islands and so on. Yeah, well, it might feel strange, but there is something in the human way of thinking that invites to that. I mean, we can get angry with our computers when they don't work, so... and think of them as somehow animated, so why not? Why not trees? Just because you're silent and slow to our eyes, why would you lack, well, soul. Soul is difficult, because soul brings immediately thoughts of the Christian conception of separation of the soul and the body. Sorry for bothering you, with these thoughts, which are probably utterly meaningless to you. Or would be, if you could hear me or understand me. But, although I admit the limits of empathy, and somehow dangers of narcissism and anthropocentrism that somehow inevitably are included in my attempts at addressing you, I still hope that you could sense my appreciation for your resilience and for your beauty in this living in this marvellous spot and living in this spectacular way lying on the ground, which is not that usual for people of your kin. So, what else can I say? Except that I hope that my weight is not too much for you to carry, but I don't think so, because your trunk is really thick and you have been obviously lying here for quite a while. So, I wish you many years to come and thank you for your patience and apologise for my clumsiness if I address you with the means that are available to me. So yeah, sorry for for not being able to empathise with you or be, to suffer with you in an appropriate manner from your perspective. But, yeah, take care.