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Journey to the East|Ararat: the Ark on the brink of the East阿拉拉特山:东方边缘的诺亚方舟

Journey to the East cycling project is an attempt to map, understand and reflect upon the cultural axis of East and West, as perhaps the most lasting generator of global history and creative drive. Cycling this axis goes further though. From an intellectual discourse, this time the axis can be experienced as an immediate reality, being embodied by real situations in time and space, and real people living their lives before and beyond reflection. This is literally about leaving any proverbial armchair, and act with a profound physical effort and risk, going beyond any theory in favor of evidence, evidence, and nothing but evidence.


To break down this ongoing journey of many months in a row into smaller acts, there will be held several events, marking about any 1000km or so. Each of them will address a specific dimension of the East West relationship, intended to capture insights more precisely, to establish connections, and to generate a physical legacy to be taken on the journey towards final destination Shanghai, where a group of students will start working on a tangible conclusion of the journey.


Readers of this microblog may already be aware that I reached the Great Ararat, a mountain of majestic shape and proportions, a legacy of volcanic activities from ages past. It presents itself with one larger and one smaller conic elevation, together creating the impression of a colossal ship.


Indeed, I embrace this interpretation, previously mentioned by one of my readers.


Mount Ararat has been woven into the fabric of world cultural history at least twice, each time featuring a similar narrative. One is the biblical tale of Noah, chosen to outlive God's fury over the moral decay of His creation. He was instructed to build an ark that would navigate the waves of a punishing deluge, designed to cleanse the earth of its inhabitants. On the Ark, a select representation of life was preserved, safeguarding the essence of God's creations. In this narrative, Mount Ararat emerges from the receding waters as the final resting place of the Ark, allowing civilization to flourish anew and life to resume its intended course.


Another story comes from the epic of Gilgamesh, a hero in Mesopotamian mythology, who also encounters profound floods and seeks salvation.


The interpretations of these tales vary widely—questions of their factual basis, the identities of their characters, the Ark's passengers, its journey, and the final location of its remains are endlessly debated. Yet, such literal interpretations often miss the timeless truths these stories aim to convey.


In understanding their core messages, perhaps we should shift our focus from Noah, Gilgamesh, the Ark, or even an irate deity. The true essence of these stories might be better understood by considering the Mountain itself. Not as a savior or a landing site, but as a fundamental force of nature that enables all else to occur and be meaningful. The Mountain stands as an unyielding representation of Mother Earth, where the internal fire, celestial air, and snow-bound water converge to form a piece of earth so potent, it has sparked some of the greatest stories ever told.


In its presence, the Mountain dictates a harmony of cosmic scale, the very harmony that the Ark found and by which it was preserved by Mother Nature. And it is Mother Nature, embodied by the Mountain, that remains indispensable to us.


At its slopes, I discovered a budding Sedum acre, a symbol of new beginnings. Cycling to the edge of Türkiye heralded not an end but a transition to the East, recognized as the cradle of daily renewal.


Thus, I boarded my own ark once more, feeling the Earth's every contour beneath my wheels, and persisted on my Journey to the East.



Journey to be continued...

and to follow the Journey by





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