Category Archives: society

To Be There and Back

A short time ago I read a post by a friend about Homeostasis. Now don’t cringe it is a real thing. It happens all around us all the time, we just tend to ignore it. Frank over at Beach Walk Reflections (beachwalkreflections.wordpress.com) has a wonderful blog that you should check out. Homeostasis is about finding balance.

For the most part we take the idea of balance for granted. We walk, we drive, we run. But when we feel the least bit dizzy or off-balance, we realize how bad it can all become. Think of that on a global scale. Our world is off-balance, misaligned. We have drought in areas and yet a few hours away they’re drowning in flood waters. In some countries record number of people are dying from hunger and other countries there is so much food they are throwing it out. How is that balanced?

As this world evolved there were checks and balances. Predators and prey. At one time it was a finely tuned system. Overtime some species were naturally removed and new ones developed.  And, then we popped up. Talk about throwing a wrench into the works.  In our hubris we decided to give evolution a hand. It was the wrong hand. And what a mess we created. There is a story that I believe happened in Australia about a community that disliked the sound of a particular bird so much they set about eradicating it. With the decline of the bird there was a surplus of a particularly nasty snake. You see the birds’ favourite food was, you guessed it, the nasty snake. The bird was allowed to make a come-back and the snake population declined. Hubris.

The human species is like a small child who wants to run before they can walk. They don’t think what the ramifications will be to putting their hand on a hot stove because, well, they want to. And they don’t seem to learn from the pain. We don’t seem to learn. I am speaking generally and as a species when the truth is, there are those who are fighting to regain the balance. I just hope we haven’t left it too long.

As individuals you may think there’s very little we can do to affect the global imbalances but individuals are part of a community and communities are part of the whole which does affect everything.  So, when I hear someone saying that ‘there’s nothing they can do they’re just one person’ I disagree. Your small part is a part of the bigger picture and a bigger picture can move mountains. It all starts with one person, one belief, one action. Which becomes two, which becomes four, which becomes thousands. That’s how we get our work done…

 

 

 

 

 

Pulchritude

How can a word that means beauty, come out sounding like spit? No, really, it does. Or how about the sound a cat makes just before he lands a hairball on your brand-new living room rug? It is not a pretty word. It has a beautiful meaning but the word itself is unattractive.  And yet the word ugly actually looks kind of cute. All those curly bits. Confused yet? Read on…

I love words for their meaning but they also have other attributes. They can visually form patterns that are pleasing to the eye or perhaps discordant. I know most people don’t look at words that way but I do. I do not like the word yellow and yet I love the colour, some shades.  Why you wonder? I have no idea. I know what I like the look of, exactly the same way I know what I like the taste of. I don’t like beets. It’s as simple as that. Using beets to dye something can be incredible. They have the most extraordinary colour but I don’t like the taste of them.

There are several forms of poetry that are restrictive. Allowing only a certain number of syllables per line which actually forms an image. A shape that is pleasing to the eye. Was it intentional? Possibly, I don’t know.  What I do know is that some poetry forms are not as pleasing to look at. Again, is it intentional? Probably not. How many people do you know that are so twisted that they look at the image of the word on a page as well as its meaning? I don’t imagine there are too many of us.

When I write poetry or prose, I am always aware of how it looks on the page. Are there too many paragraphs? Are there too few?  I find different fonts are more comfortable, more pleasing to the eye. I think aesthetics is a big part of our understanding simply because if we find something pleasant to look at, we are more likely to invest more time reading the words. If I’m reading a book that is uncomfortable, I will put it aside. If the words are that compelling, I might go back but I might not.

Another thing I am constantly aware of is cadence. Perhaps more so in poetry because it does have a singsong quality to it, in my opinion. But it is also there in prose.  Long sentences tend to promote comfort unless they are too long in which case they are irritating. Short sentences are like short burst of energy. The words, the meanings are sharp and cutting. Using words that are over long and verbose is like having two types of gravy for the same meal:  unnecessary. If used properly words have such incredible power. They have the capacity to love, to hate, to cajole and to succour. Please use them responsibly.