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  • Writer's pictureCrone

The beauty of the fallen

This large branch broke off a tree in a recent storm. The ivy lived on - funny that I have ivy and mistletoe together, or close together, on this blog. Maybe I need some holly next.

Anyway, I've been writing about the bioconservatives and their irrational reverence for human nature. A human nature that includes the ability to commit genocide, commit rape in war, torture, oppress and discriminate against the other. And yet there is something about our neediness and dependency that I find beautiful. I think I elaborated on that in the posts about trust a few months back. The vulnerability and the fragility of people... I just wish we lived in a world where people were not afraid to express it. That would be my transhuman vision - humans who could admit that they felt pain... I guess people do tell me that they are lonely or hurting. People tell me they feel let down or alienated. Yet even so such truths tend to be not just spoken, but spoken as part of something less noble. This will sound deeply cynical, but I say it not to condemn us but to condemn the environment. We can't admit that we are frail, so we have to feel that the other or another is to blame. Or that fate is to blame. Often one or more of these happens to be true, but the pertinent fact in our relationships is that we are all alike in our capacity for suffering. Admissions of pain and the granting of sympathy, both seem somehow corrupted by claims of blame and feelings of obligation.

Maybe that's why I struggle with the cat outside - who is now called Anders after my favourite tutor, the one sporting a cat-facemask during his talk (the cat's face looks uncannily like that mask) - I feel obligated. That's my responsibility. Anders is not able to confer upon me a sense of obligation. But it is the sense I have so often with people. It's funny, I know people who've taken in strays but who hate cats like mine that are 'too demanding'. I guess they are experiencing the same thing. I don't feel it with my cats. I do feel guilt at not giving them enough attention, but I know that I placed the obligation on myself, whereas with Anders, he showed up and so I feel he put the obligation upon me.

Really, though, I wanted to write about love. Today, as I was driving back from a soggy run across the fields, a fox was running on the verge alongside the road, trying to get through the hedge. He turned, and looked with fear at the cars, and I was afraid he'd leap in front of one. I saw his face clearly. His eyes were brown-rimmed, almost like a raccoon. Unlike the urban foxes I see in London, scrawny and leggy, he was sleek and thick-coated. His eyes showed fox-cunning as well as fear.

When I had gone past I felt the upswell of love. Something so pure, rarified. Awe, really. And I thought of something written by Martha Nussbaum - 'If we feel wonder looking at a complex organism, that wonder at least suggests the idea that it is good for that being to persist and flourish as the kind of thing it is.' Oh I so what the foxes and the sparrows, the cats and the dogs, the badgers and the hares, the bees and the spiders, the deer and the stoats, the rats and the mice, the weasels and otters and rabbits and stoats, the creepy-crawlies and the slithery-slidies, the fish and the insects, the mammals and the birds, the sky and the air and the trees and the plants, the moss on the rocks and the lichen on bark and the parasitic mistletoe in the leaf-cleared branches all to flourish as the kinds of things they are.

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