Wednesday, 9 February 2011
The advantage of a butterfly mind.
One advantage of a mind which flits from one subject to another (see yesterday's blog) is that the smallest things sets the mind into action; the cogs whirr, bits spin off here and there and before you know it a subject for a blog becomes fixed in one's head.
And so it was this morning. A friend and I have been on a lovely shopping expedition. Readers of my blog will know that I HATE shopping, particularly for clothes (which entails getting undressed, trying things on and then getting dressed again.) But when a dear friend offered to drive me to our nearest large shopping complex at Teesside Park I made a list of possible purchases and off we went. (Thank you for a lovey morning W).
My friend spent all her working life in the retail industry and she has made me very aware of the importance of pleasant and helpful staff. I must say that the staff at Marks and Spencer were 100% well-trained. They were smiling and helpful.
As any woman reading this will agree, I got a tremendous lift when the skirt I wished to buy (yes, I am sick of wearing trousers and wish to give my legs a bit of an airing), was a size too large! The assistant changed it for me, I made my purchases - including two sweaters for the farmer (more of that another day) and we began our journey home.
First stop the diesel pump. While sitting in the vehicle I noticed this isolated bird's nest in the tree and away went my mind into several tangents. First of all, a quote from one of Ronald Blythe's books, where he hears a child say, "Just think, the birds don't even know it's Thursday."
I smiled as I thought of this - I thought of all the lovely trees there are in such beautiful surroundings and yet this bird had chosen to build its nest in a shopping park, in pecking distance of a petrol pump (I took the photo from inside the car, through the window). My very down-to-earth friend made the observation that at least there wouldn't be any cats about. And then I thought there would probably be plenty of bits of food dropped - crisp crumbs and the like.
And driving home I began to think about the idea of consciousness, which the bird does not have in the same sense that we do. The bird no doubt chose the tree with no thought at all for surroundings. Amd that brought me to a fairly new publication -
"Soul Dust - the magic of consciousness" by Nicholas Humphrey, in which he argues that we take consciousness very much forgranted and yet consciousness has developed in man down the ages and has evolved purely for our own pleasure. I heard him speaking about his book on the radio the other morning and saying that the very new baby does not have this consciousness and that it develops slowly, first with eye contact and then with language. I understand that this is quite a controversial book but it is one which may well be worth reading.
So there you have it - from shopping to birds' nests to human consciousness and beyond. You can't say you don't get around on this blog.