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  • Writer's pictureCrone

The heart of it

I'm reading Mary Midgley again - or, rather, listening. She is so good. And so readable (listen-to-able). There's a real common sense about her - as there is about Lin Yutang, whose book The Importance of Living, I am actually reading. With my eyes.

I find this common sense refreshing, reassuring, encouraging. Their philosophies incorporate the heart as much as the brain - and in Lin's case, the stomach as well. We are feeling creatures - feeling with bodies as much as with minds.

It's no wonder that much philosophy has so little room for animals and the more-than-human world in general: it appeals only to the abstract and conceptualised ratiocinations of highly educated and rather fortunate people (usually white men) who assume that what is good for them is universally true. And what is good for them is a well-thought argument not an actual event in the world, with all its complex interconnected impacts and effects of hearts and bodies as well as minds. Of course the more-than-human world is irrelevant to them: they have excised from their thinking the heartbeat of life.

Anyway, this little heart has been battling with the strain of being indoors too much and awake too much and driving too much. Also with a certain frustration.

Most of my great ideas have already been written as books by other people. What I was writing about the sacredness of everything? Check out Enchantment by Katherine May. What I have written about meetings with trees? Check out The Oak Papers by James Canton.

My animal cultures one still seems to be open. Really should work on that.

One idea I hadn't had, but wish I had, although I would have been frustrated is the tale of human relationships with animals - not the catalogue of industrial farming (done a fair few times) or the case against such ethical evils (done superbly by Matthieu Ricard), but a personal, quirky, comprehensive and readable account. Cue the wonderfully named Keggie Carew and her book Beastly. Carew has her own little plot of land, managed, or, rather, rewilded, for wildlife. She volunteers for the Wildlife Trust. She also manages to make you laugh and cry in virtually the same sentence. Wonderful.

A book that strikes at the heart of it.

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Aug 13, 2023

The books all sound good dear Crone. You do an impressive amount of reading. You and your ideas connect with the writings and ideas of others - that's how it should be. And yes, you've got writing to do on your animal cultures. Thanks for this post. And get some rest whenever you can. x

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