Interconnectedness, The Difficult One

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 above picture shows the family cats (this from a few years ago as one is no longer with us) proving their interconnectedness – or did the Textiliste accidentally sew them together?

He, St Douglas of Adams 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 Boun’s 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 1960s 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 Sofia 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. We need to stay vigilant and stop this drift to sameness. We need to fight those pesky algorithms that say ‘if you liked this you may like that’ and swallow whole the notion that the world eats porridge, loves cricket and wears boxers – though if it did it might be a better place.

Blogging is another way we emphasise such interconnectedness. In no other world would I regular converse with Australians and Poles and Indians and the good people of Swindon. All so exotic. Except Swindon. The Bloggers Bashes we held were excellent examples with their international mix of visitors. The Facebook live broadcasts from the event were watched around the world. Through blogging 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…

…or this…

… but even without the inner Smurf rising to the surface, we must not let that urge to narrow our focus 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 several books: a four book series following Harry Spittle as he grows from hapless student to hapless partner in a London law firm; four others in different genres; a book of poetry; four anthologies of short fiction; and a memoir of my mother. I have several more in the pipeline. I have been blogging regularly since 2014, on topic as diverse as: poetry based on famous poems; memories from my life; my garden; my dog; a whole variety of short fiction; my attempts at baking and food; travel and the consequent disasters; theatre, film and book reviews; and the occasional thought piece. Mostly it is whatever takes my fancy. I avoid politics, mostly, and religion, always. I don't mean to upset anyone but if I do, well, sorry and I suggest you go elsewhere. 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 miscellany, thought piece and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

37 Responses to Interconnectedness, The Difficult One

  1. Suzanne says:

    Non bloggers just don’t get it. That glazing look as I get animated about a blogging comment. Oh well, I know where to go …
    One thing I hope to continually do is push the boundaries as I age the consequences of not doing so are not good.
    We’re back in Ak to conn6with other strange looking bald pale human beings 😉

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Suzanne says:

    My only regret while over your way was not managing to get to the bloggers bash!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. willowdot21 says:

    I agree Geoff on many things in this eloquent post! Nixon damn him was a bad man, your teacher was a genious and ahead of his time…. Got you young men thinking too and God bless the teacher who can do that!
    The climate we can all do our best and not bury our heads in the sand…. It may well bury us someday if the UK becomes a dessert.
    The six degrees of separation is a theory I have long adhered to , it really is amazing that if you put yourself out to talk to strangers , anywhere in the world we will always find a connection, sometimes quite a startling connection!
    Blogging is a great way of making connections as you say how else could we on a daily basis speak to people from all over the world?
    Bloggers Bash … Well you know how much I love the BB and I do miss the meet up!
    Oh! Mr Blue, Pink or Purple beard they all suit you! The banana thing explains by Ruby loves them then!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. willowdot21 says:

    I agree Geoff on many things in this eloquent post! Nixon damn him was a bad man, your teacher was a genious and ahead of his time…. Got you young men thinking too and God bless the teacher who can do that!
    The climate we can all do our best and not bury our heads in the sand…. It may well bury us someday if the UK becomes a dessert.
    The six degrees of separation is a theory I have long adhered to , it really is amazing that if you put yourself out to talk to strangers , anywhere in the world we will always find a connection, sometimes quite a startling connection!
    Blogging is a great way of making connections as you say how else could we on a daily basis speak to people from all over the world?
    Bloggers Bash … Well you know how much I love the BB and I do miss the meet up!
    Oh! Mr Blue, Pink or Purple beard they all suit you! The banana thing explains whyy Ruby loves them then!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Steve Tanham says:

    Great piece, Goeff. Any mention of D Adams gets my interest. Wasn’t your beard bright orange when we met at the BB?

    Liked by 1 person

  6. noelleg44 says:

    What a forward-thinking teacher you had! And I can’t remember what color your beard was when we met at one BB!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Solid post, Geoff. Connections are always a surprise when they come to light. Take the banana for example. I have always felt some sense of guilt when I ate one. Now I know why.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. JT Twissel says:

    The TV movie Gaslit really illustrates how crazy and evil Nixon and his cohorts were! I like the Smurf look best.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I thought your pinkness was a poorly executed photo until bluebeard appeared. Just how long have you had this desire to be a pirate? By the by, Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. A sort of connection came up a couple of weeks ago when a friend’s son & family went to stay in an Airbnb in your New Forest village! I’d never heard anyone else ever mention it before.
    I also hate the “you might also like” stuff which gets put on, say, your BBC iPlayer page, cluttering it up with all sorts of suggestions I wouldn’t dream of following up!
    Currently a lot of the green roads we were heading down before the Ukraine crisis are closed off (temporarily, one hopes).
    Those kitties both wanted the same spot!
    Thanks for this post.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Widdershins says:

    I’m discovering that I had been thrown off a whole bunch of WP sites that I followed, so it’s nice to be back. 🙂 … young Douggie had the right of it. 🙂 … blogging these days seems more important than ever, as a means of staying connected, as so many countries look to their borders and wonder if they should, a) retreat behind their borders, or b) storm right over them and gobble up the country next door.

    Liked by 1 person

If you would like to reply please do so here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.