Let’s Connect

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. After all Brexit is the epitome of that issue and while I doubt we will change the decision, resistance isn’t futile. Possibly.

Yesterday I attended a Bloggers Bash with a mix of visitors. The Facebook live broadcasts from the event were watched around the world. In relative terms we are small but with an extraordinarily wide reach. We connect,  we converse and we learn from each other, mostly about how similar we are in our hopes and aspirations and fears.

Ok not everyone looks like this…

… but even without the inner Smurf rising to the surface, we must not let that urge to narrow our focus to be an excuse to become inward looking and ignore, or worse, deny our fundamental interconnectedness with 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.

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 geofflepard.com 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.
This entry was posted in history, miscellany, thought and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

34 Responses to Let’s Connect

  1. Ritu says:

    Love that! And I like bananas .. but wonder whether I’m being slightly cannibalistic now…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. JT Twissel says:

    I was thinking of Bluebeard the pirate banana…. Glad the bash went well. I was there in spirit.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. If I like this a bunch and found it apeeling…?

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Your whiskers are my favourite colour 😀 I thought of you lot having your bash when I rashly decided to pop in for a look at the other bash and ended up sitting in front of the TV until near two o’clock in the a.m. I was proudly among those twizzle headed hippie readers in the 60’s and 70’s and count Lovelock amongst my early mentors. I once tried to read Dawkins, in the spirit of let’s see what the nayists have to stand on, but had to give up on the fellows stubborn obtuseness and willful ignorance. Sometimes even a woman can see that bending the facts to fit a theory just doesn’t a case make.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. noelleg44 says:

    I wondered what color your beard would be this year! I do prefer the blue to the pink.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Very adapt Geoff. I totally agree with you. However not only the old have become very inward looking. As we more from one hemisphere to the other we are seeing it more. Then there are the different ones who embrace change,difference and grow without fear.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. willowdot21 says:

    Think this is just so you Geoff love ya! Blue beard or yellow skin 💜

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Elizabeth says:

    I remember how out there those ideas seemed then, too. I remember hearing that salmon would virtually disappear from the Columbia River and thought it was preposterous. Then it did.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Allie P. says:

    I’m finding quite a bit of the Gaia theory makes sense to me – look at natural forest fires, it’s a rather self-regulating system. Though it’s the unnatural stresses on our environment causing me to worry.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Erika Kind says:

    LOL… too funny 😄
    I am actually surprised how big the Bash has already grown and I am sure this is only the beginning. I cannot wait to hear about the date for next year!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Well said! Had the Bash been televised, I would have watched it as well. It looked as though you had a lovely day for it (unless the royal couple somehow managed to push all the weather off to London, that is…)

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Pingback: Monday Magic – Inspiring Blogs for You! | Pain Pals

  13. This is lovely, Geoff. All of it. (Even the bananas…maybe especially the bananas?) Anyway, LOVE the bright blue beard! I was hoping it would be blue this year. 💙 Sounds a bit like a pirate: Blue Beard.

    Liked by 1 person

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