The interconnectedness of all things #1000speak #@1000speak

Douglas Adams, he of the phantasmagorical Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy penned another set of books based around Dirk Gently and his Holistic Detective Agency. Gently believed in the fundamental interconnectedness of all things and used that belief to solve his clients’ problems and charge them huge expenses.

sam's cat

the cats proving their interconnectedness – or did the Textiliste accidentally sew them together?


He was onto something (not the expenses; that has ‘crook’ written all over it).

Back in the early 1970, as a 16 year old I decided to take a history A level. They are the exams we take here in England (and Wales) as a precursor to going to University; such choices are important. My history master, a short, swarthy Zapata moustachioed Trotskyite  called Colin Boun was determined that we would be different and chose for us an entirely new syllabus – Modern History and International Relations: 1945 to 1974. We started in 1973 so we would be examined on history that had not then occurred (I hated Richard Nixon for very personal reasons as his resignation, occurring just outside the examined period caused consternation a few weeks before the exam as to how we should reflect it in our US domestic history course – the long term damage his criminality did to the trust in the political system was, frankly, a sideshow). That course was pretty unique, not that we 16 year olds realised it. We were just blown away by his ideas and his approach.

He challenged our thinking in many ways. One was on the environment. He told us about the growth of Greenhouse gases and how our planet was warming and this would be an environmental disaster. In 1973. Pretty cool guy, Colin. We, smarty pants that we were, told him what rubbish this idea was. We had had some grim winters; what on  earth did he mean about greenhouse gases and a warmer planet?

That’s when we were introduced to the work of James Lovelock. He is the author of Gaia theory which I have mentioned before.

The Gaia hypothesis proposes that living and non-living parts of the Earth form a complex living interacting system that can be thought of as a single organism

At the time, in the 196os the notion that the planet was one organism and if you impact one part all other parts may be impacted too and in ways both unintended and incalculable was derided as hippyish, new age nonsense and unscientific. It still has its critics, especially those like Dawkins who see natural selection as antipathetic to such a model.

And true, the theory has changed and developed over the years but today it has much more scientific backing and credibility. Lovelock pleaded with us to change our habits. Today a lot listen, but a lot don’t. Lovelock has opined (in The Revenge of Gaia) that it is now too late to change and make any difference to the outcome of man’s callous impact on our planet. I’m not such a pessimist but the point here is, optimist or pessimist we are all in this together and we, in the UK cannot just go blithely on in our own temperate little zone, glorying in the fact we can grow vines and make decent wine because our summers are better and not be cognisant of the changes that are impacting elsewhere.

There is another theory – the six degrees of separation or the small world problem – which posits one human can be connected to any other in no more than six steps. Many studies have looked at this since the original 1929 notion and nothing has been conclusively shown. However in all of these studies a  proportion, often a significant one does correlate. And perhaps our own experiences show this. Sit in a bus in Bolivia, or a cafe in Bhutan and find a local with whom you can converse. Or walk into a bar in Sydney or Sebastopol and talk to the first person you meet. Chances are there’ll be a link between you somewhere, some common ground.

We live in an ageing world. As you age you tend to become more conservative (small ‘c’ not wishing to offend my liberal minded friends) and resist change and novelty. Become more insular. We must not let that urge be an excuse to become inward looking and ignore, or worse, deny our fundamental interconnectedness wit everyone else.  After all, if you look at life’s building blocks, our DNA we are within less than 0.1 percent of being exactly the same as each other. And we share approximately 60% of the same DNA as a banana.

Do not look for differences, people, celebrate our similarities. After all, had your distant ancestors taken a different path you could have been a yellow fruit.

banana man 3

My dark secret…


Founders Yvonne Spence and Lizzi Rogers have created the village and called it 1000 Voices for Compassion. It started with a Facebook group and very soon over 1,500 voices signed up.

To read this month’s offerings from this amazing group, click here for the link-up.




About TanGental

My name is Geoff Le Pard. Once I was a lawyer; now I am a writer. I've published four books - Dead Flies and Sherry Trifle, My Father and Other Liars, Salisbury Square and Buster & Moo. In addition I have published two anthologies of short stories, Life, in a Grain of Sand and Life in a Flash. More will appear soon, including a memoir of my mother's last years. I will try and continue to blog regularly at about whatever takes my fancy. I hope it does yours too. These are my thoughts and no one else is to blame. If you want to nab anything I post, please acknowledge where it came from.
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40 Responses to The interconnectedness of all things #1000speak #@1000speak

  1. Ula says:

    I love this, so true. There are many ideas that are still discounted because they are thought to be too hippy or new-age-y by some. Great way to end. Made me giggle.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. roweeee says:

    Hi Geoff,
    I just posted my contribution on the linky and you were three ahead of me. I decided to just have a brief look at a couple as I’m off to the Sydney Writers’ Festival tomorrow and need to be packed and organised. Things were quite disastrous on my last trip to Sydney…phone flat, forgot to leave key for carer to let kids in the house. This time, I’m making lists of lists.
    Anyway, it was a lovely surprise to see I’d picked your post out of the multitudes and I love the yellow banana suit although I must add a “please explain”.
    I very much agree with you about the interconnectedness of things and also hope that it’s not to late to make a difference. I do what I can but really am very small fry compared to the pollution these multinationals spew out.
    Take care and think of me basking in Seventh Heaven tomorrow. I will be attending a session with Dr Norman Doidge, the neuroplasticity guru. Can’t wait. xx Rowena

    Liked by 2 people

    • TanGental says:

      I’m really jel. But it will be great. Glad you enjoyed and it resonated. I found Leuing btw – a fantastic cartoon about life a s a piece of string. Thanks for introducing me.

      Liked by 1 person

      • roweeee says:

        You’re welcome Geoff. After seeing you dressed up as a banana, that just confirms the recommendation. Sorry to tell you think but you had every reason to be jel today. Sydney put on its best sunny weather in ages and it was absolutely glorious there on the harbour. I’ll be sticking some photos up tomorrow and writing a review. I’ve come home feeling so over-stimulated and a bit shattered after attending 3 sessions and my brain almost exploding!! Oh yes! Bought a swag of books too. Couldn’t resist!!

        Liked by 1 person

      • TanGental says:

        I may growl A bit while reading. You know how to be cruel.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Autism Mom says:

    I love the subtext here: We must connect or we’re all bananas! 😉

    Liked by 4 people

  4. I didn’t expect to be reading about Gaia in your post. Hmm. Good stuff. I did expect something along the lines of the banana though, so I knew I was in the right place. Great post. Great message.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. I dread to think what life would have been like had we all been part Banana. Would my all time favourite girlband, Bananarama, ever have existed? I dread to think of life without them.

    Are you going tell us why you are dressed as a banana, or is that another story?

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Shelah says:

    Great post! It’s so amazing to me to think how everything we see is made up of the same ingredients. I never really thought it was possible until I cut wheat out of my diet. Did you know sugar and wheat make up 95% of food in U.S. and you could eat something “different” every day for months….it’s all basically the same thing. So yes, I can believe we’re more similar to bananas than one might think at first glance. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • TanGental says:

      A blogging friend found she was allergic to soy, so began checking what it was in and was horrified to find it in nearly everything from bread to baked beans. I too cut out wheat and found I breathed ore easily and lost a tonne of weight. I still love bread but know the consequences of indulgence. Thank you so much for the comment.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Kit Dunsmore says:

    We share 60% of our DNA with a banana? How cool is THAT? Love that all those wacky hippy thoughts were more accurate than anyone would have guessed. Now we need some wacky hippy solutions to heal our world!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Ali Isaac says:

    Love the post! And the banana at the end is the perfect finishing touch! Did you know yellow is soooo now, and soooooo you!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Yvonne says:

    You look good as a yellow fruit. And love your torties. (We have one, a gorgeous wee thing who runs rings round us all.)
    Your teacher was very advanced for the 70s. Good for him. I began recycling in the 80s and people thought I was weird.
    I also don’t feel as pessimistic as Lovelock partly because of the interconnectedness of things. I think somehow, even if we can’t see it, there is a purpose or evolutionary pattern to what is happening now. (And maybe I’m just deluding myself.) I enjoyed this post!
    I disagree with you on one thing though – people don’t necessarily get more conservative as they get older. My parents did the opposite, became far, far more open-minded. And my mum is still continuing that. I even read somewhere recently that women over 55 are the best suited to lead transformational change in organisations.

    Liked by 1 person

    • TanGental says:

      Thanks Yvonne. On agony, my own experiences are mixed but a survey as part of the exit polling in the recent election had a higher proportion of Tory voters in the Over 65s and that was the higher percentage group voting. At least that is what I read. Something similar exists I believe in the U S. I hope your experiences are right and that is wrong. My politics are certainly more liberally inclined than in the late 70 and 80s.


      • Yvonne says:

        Now you say that, I have seen that over 65s are more likely to vote conservative. Yet if you are more liberally minded now, and many others I know… it’s interesting how some people open up while others shut down. Would be interesting to do research into why this is!
        BTW, I left a very long reply to your comment on my blog, clarifying a bit, so do pop back.

        Liked by 1 person

      • TanGental says:

        Thanks I will


  10. Annecdotist says:

    Your history teacher sounds great – I wonder if he ever imagined it would lead to you dressing up as a banana! Another great post, Geoff, with a lot of depth and compassion.

    Liked by 1 person

    • TanGental says:

      Thanks Anne. He was a glorious Breath of fresh air in the stifling reactionary world of the New Forest of 1973. I think serfdom was still endemic, or at least it certainly felt feudal.


  11. Pingback: Weekend Coffee Share: Busy, Zadie Smith, #1000Speak | confessions of a broccoli addict

  12. lorilschafer says:

    I find it strange that anyone could think we’re NOT interconnected! For example, I recently learned that it takes five gallons of water to grow a walnut – yes, a single walnut. If I buy walnuts, I am supporting an industry that is unsustainable in the current drought. More than half of the United States’ fruits, nuts, and vegetables – and many other vital food products – come from California. If California runs out of water next year, as is predicted, prices of agricultural commodities will skyrocket all over the nation, making food unaffordable for already needy families. In other words, some child will starve so that I could have walnuts.

    I don’t think its humanly possible for us to base all of our decisions on the effects they have in faraway nations. But we would be crazy to pretend that those effects don’t exist just because we aren’t able personally to see them.

    Liked by 1 person

    • TanGental says:

      Every almond I’ve eaten has come from California. Six see Chilean blueberries for sale in the shops. As a child the only fresh food that came from miles away were bananas. Now it’s everything. All wrapped up in one unsustainable Gordion Knot.

      Liked by 1 person

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