Wednesday, April 4, 2018

A murmuration of mankind?

I heard an interesting talk the other day.  May I share its basic premise with you?

It was the speaker's contention that mankind has evolved as far as it can in one direction . . . the direction in question being that of individualisation and competition.

As she pointed out, in the days of our early ancestors co-operation and a sense of community were essential for the survival of the species.  They hunted as a pack, food was for sharing, heat was produced from communal fires and shared body warmth.
Anyone stepping outside this concept, physically or mentally, risked isolation and death . . .  each one recognising himself as a component part of a larger whole.

As we evolved, so our sense of individuality became established.  With this came the acknowledgement of personal accomplishment and, in due course, competition.  Over the years this sense of competition has been actively encouraged, with modern children being urged to compete from an early age.

We have undoubtedly gained in individual creativity and accomplishment . . . but what have we lost?
Could it be, the speaker asked, that we've lost a vital memory . . . the memory of our basic unity?

Just think about it for a moment.  If we relate this to our own body, let's compare it to the relationship between our hand and our fingers.
Each of our fingers is an individual unit, but where would they be if they failed to recognise the overall unity of the hand?

If we're to progress, it seems that we need to recognise not just our individual strengths, but the fact that together we constitute a conscious whole.

We need to see how understanding, love and wisdom are far greater in the whole than they can ever be in the individual.

Occasionally we experience such unity . . . if you've participated in a choir or played for a football team, you'll know what I mean.
For a moment, just a moment, something is greater than we are.

But, to return to the analogy of the hand, wouldn't you agree that, at this troubled moment in time, humanity's self-obsessed fingers are choosing to wilfully ignore the hand that unites them?

Were we, even momentarily, to transfer our identification from the fingers to the hand, how much wider and more inclusive our perspective would be.

There are moments when the natural world clearly demonstrates this unity.
One beautiful example is known as a murmuration of starlings.

Click here if you need proof that the power, beauty and intelligence of the whole is infinitely greater than that of the individual.

I wonder, will there one day be a murmuration of mankind?
Will we see a world in which Jews and Arabs, Sunni and Shia, Brexiteers and Remainers all move together in perfect harmony?
At least we can unite in hope.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Birth of a Sun Bengal

Hello, it's Chloe here . . . I've had such an exciting week, have you a moment for a chat?

Just between you and me, I find it very hard to forget that I'm a Snow Bengal, and that my ancestors came from high up in the snowy mountains.

I'm purr-fectly happy for most of the time, but every now and then, and you can't really blame me, I do get a bit homesick for all that snow.

So, when I looked out of the window last Thursday morning . . . oh, was I excited!
I couldn't believe my good luck!

There it was . . . snow, wonderful snow . . .  snow covering the houses, snow covering the ground, and snow covering the trees . . . snow everywhere!
A beautiful blanket of white . . . just what a Snow Bengal dreams about!

I couldn't wait for my Mum to put on my harness and for both of us to get out into the garden.  The thought of that crisp snow beneath my paws had me rushing down the stairs so fast that my Mum couldn't keep up.

Oh, what fun I had . . . it was every bit as good as I'd expected!

There are, of course, one or two drawbacks to snow . . . for instance, no-one ever explained to me how you can have a successful toilet dig in such conditions.   But that's a very small thing compared to all the fun.

Someone had helpfully built a great big snowman on the lawn . . . perfect for a cat to climb up and get an excellent view of the snowy garden.

After that I made my way along the branches of one of the snowy trees . . . although I must admit that this wasn't a total success.  An icy branch was a little more slippery that I'd expected and I slid off and fell into a snowdrift.
Luckily, I don't think my Mum was looking.

But, oh dear, with all this excitement, and so much to enjoy, I wasn't prepared for the terrible disappointment that came when I woke up two days later.

I poked my nose out from the covers on my Mum's bed and the air smelt warmer.  This was a very bad sign, and I was worried.

You'll never believe what had happened.
Rather than stay here, giving pleasure to everyone, that selfish snow had decided to thaw!

My whiskers quivered with shock when we opened the garden gate and walked down the path.

Everything had changed.
Instead of a lovely carpet of shimmering snow, the ground was muddy, and puddly, and slushy . . . and look how the great big snowman had shrunk!

So here I am back home, curled up under my Mum's jacket and trying to sleep.

Sad to say, it seems that, for most of the year, a Snow Bengal can only get the snow she needs by closing her eyes and dreaming about it.

 But, wait a minute, I've had another idea.
What if I called myself a Sun Bengal . . . just until there's another fall of snow?