On one of my trips to Hawaiʻi, Dan and I climbed up to the top of Diamond Head Crater. The view was fantastic, an overview not able to be had from down below. Whenever I have been to Hawaiʻi, I have taken hundreds of photos. When I view the photos later I sometimes have the experience of remembering what that photo does not show, what was just outside of the frame, what was there but was left out.
When we use a camera we view the world through how we frame it. In living Life, how we frame it often becomes how we view it. Western culture has framed the world and life into artificial segments which lose an overview of the whole: Secular vs Sacred, Independence vs. Interdependence, Work vs Play.
What I pick up about Hawaiian culture is that it does not foster this dividedness. Life is hā, God’s own breath of himself, and Hawaiian culture seems to view Life and all of its components as “sacred”, meaning that anything that constitutes living is sacred. That Hawaiian culture does not recognize an artificial division between sacred and secular, Hawaiian cultural values, in my opinion, fosters wholeness.
Hā, Life, comes to us from others, which perhaps explains the Hawaiian emphasis on genealogy. Hawaiians value that we come from others, that we are part of others and that we therefore are obligated to live with a sense of respect and gratitude. This Hawaiian sense of inter-dependence certainly clashes with the western concept of independence. Once again, I think that Hawaiʻi has framed it better.
So much of our life seems to be the struggle for wholeness, the struggle to see and remember what is outside of the frame. Hawaiʻi, I think, has the correct overview… whether from up on Diamond Head, or down in the homes.