• neil

Day 76 (1 June) Whits aside.

The Arts Corner

First of all, and à propos de rien, here is a lovely photo taken by Lucia, a faithful reader of this blog. She is such a gifted photographer and the photo is so beautiful I had to share it with you.

It is called “Birmingham by Boat’.

I was on a training course there last year for international election monitors but realised pretty quickly that my desire to see free and fair elections in various troubled parts of the world was outmatched by my desire to keep all my body parts in some kind of loose formation.

Yes. Of course it is Venice. Birmingham is much prettier. I can’t help thinking, Lucia, that if you were to try building the houses the right way up with the chimneys at the top you would all stay drier. Feel free to do something with that….

As soon as you go south of Dover, people do the strangest things.

I love you all so I’ll be a bastard

Remember I mentioned the Bregman book ‘Humankind’? I’m not sure exactly when; roundabout when we were all packing our teepees and preparing to follow the buffalo south.

Anyway, a couple of things he wrote surprised me and I thought the ideas worth sharing:

On empathy: Empathy is not an entirely desirable quality in our species. It is something we feel for people who are close to us. Those we can touch or feel and for the people the TV zooms in on and brings into the heart of our living room. Empathy functions like a spotlight. And while we are concentrated on what is under the spotlight the rest of the world fades away. The bright light we shine on a chosen few makes us blind to those who are out of the narrow beam.

On friendship: Friendship can be a bigger motivator for violence than any ideology. It turns out from huge studies of veterans made just after WW2 that neither German troops nor American troops were principally motivated to fight for ideological reasons. In 1944 the German army was fighting incredibly hard every step of the way back into Germany not because of ideology, not because they thought they could win, but because of 'Kamaradschaft'. Comradeship. They were fighting mainly because of the “Band of Brothers” effect; they could not contemplate letting down their friends.

So it looks like I might have been doing things right after all.

Having but few friends and negligible amounts of empathy considerably reduces me as a threat to world peace. I am not likely to jump on my bicycle and invade the Netherlands tomorrow - even though its so flat there I could probably secure Amsterdam by Thursday. I could do what they do; bring all my own food with me on the back of my bike.

I just wasted ten minutes calculating the total load I could inflict on the bike while still advancing at a reasonable speed and then dividing that load between food, water, spare parts, shelter gear and ammunition. I would have no allowance left over for ammunition. I’ll have to stay home.

My goodness. Kill the fat-shamed pig and open a bottle of advocaat! I have realised there is actually a thread running through today’s post! Both Venice and Holland have a very intimate relation with the sea! Can you imagine either without the sea? Especially Venice. They'd have to call it Venie.

I am stopping early today a I am going to get some dinner ready for my n° 2 daughter. Yes I have a visitor! 😁

Have a lovely Whitsuntide!



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