Excerpt from Béla Hamvas’ essay Trees
(Editio M Publisher, Szentendre, 2000)
Above Korcsula, if one goes beyond the cemetery, to the southeast, the fig tree stands in a not large grassy area. Its three thick branches immediately split in three on the face of the earth, then bend up and back. In August, it grows fragrant, dark violet, greasy, honey-flavored figs. It shades the grass, protects the space and the creature that enters the lawn. This big hen sits here, anyone who wants to hide under their wings. He who comes near the tree enters the space of the direct warmth of the maternal body: he is in protection, in protection that can only be created by the one who wants the good of man.
One can also wish for one’s own benefit. And this wish, if strong enough, will be fulfilled. Yes, desire is against need. Desire is the opposite of an anana. He wants more. If only necessary, all life would be according to the laws of physics, chemistry, biology. But the desire transcends it, it wants more than the ananke is willing to let go. The desire; he wants the impossible. And it can be such that it breaks the laws of necessity. The desire can be so great that it dissolves the ananket, melts the need in the fire of passion, and then the law disappears, the wish is fulfilled.
But desire, if one wants for oneself, has an unspeakable danger. It is the danger that the desire will be fulfilled, and then one will achieve what he wanted. He reaches out and sees what was what he wanted and demanded and longed for. You get it and you need to know it. It looks like a gift. And out of a hundred cases in almost a hundred: punishment. Here you got it.
Is this what you wanted? This is it. Here it is, you have to use it, you have to live with it and by it.
And now it just turns out that the desire was false. That’s not what he wanted.
You should set up the prohibition: do not wish for yourself that the fulfillment of which will be burdened, because your desire is fulfilled, and what you want, you will receive. Therefore, it is not good for one to wish for oneself. You don’t know and you don’t even know what you crave. And when he gets it, he just grieves and is disappointed. He used to want it, now he wants it, then he wants it back again.
Therefore, it is good to have someone who wants a man for himself: if he has a patron, a friend, a father, a loved one. Man never carries the blessing of his own life alone. Therefore, it is good to have a mother being like this fig tree who desires the good of man. If I’m under your protection, I know it’s unnecessary to wish myself anything: no need to crave. What he desires can be rested on, and it is better than I wish. He knows better what I want than I do. “If the fool gives the water of life, you can pour it out; if the wise give poison, drink it calmly.” Because the wise know that poison is good. Man lives here under the wisdom of the fig tree. What does it offer? What good wishes do you wish me? What do you know better than me? It’s not worth thinking about. I’ll get it. There is likely to be no visible sign.
One does not even feel the fulfillment of the greatest desires. He just feels that there is someone next to him who pulls up next to the person like that. He feels that he himself has become a fig tree: he no longer wishes to himself, but to another; and the others come to me, hiding under me, for they know that I wish you good in their place. They sit in the rays of blessing, eat the ever-sweetening fruit, stretch out on the lawn, and sleep under the green shady sky above them like an embryo. ”