Active Minds

This week some Breton musicians came to the village to entertain and a lot of work was done in the school with the children to make sure they had a fun evening. It made me think about the attraction of cities where culture dazzles and is on tap, as against villages like this where everything has to be planned to give the community as much activity and interest as they can. I also recall my friend telling me there is a limit to the number of theatres you can go to even in a city. Sometimes there can be too much choice.

In both instances there is a lot of emphasis upon ‘doing’ upon ‘attending’, getting ‘active’ and I wonder why we have lost contemplation in this world. When I was at school a school master commented to me that when he started teaching the library was full every evening during the boys free time, now he was surprised to find more than five pupils in it at one time.

When human beings first made libraries possible they became wonders of the world, the loss of the famous ones has become the stuff of tragedy because they represented the liberation of the mind and the transference of ideas across ages. Have we lost the knowledge that there is no city in the world that can compare to the universe of imagination inside one’s head?

The View

You know it well of course, you look over a house and one of the first things you look at is the view from the windows. It is deeply within us to look out, like our ancestors crossing vast stretches of tundra, we look not only to see what is around us but also simply to look. We are used to seeing.

I know we all assume it is mostly because we need to see what may be threats, as castles have been built in the places from which they can see most of the land around. But we have become in doing this, used to views. Views which simple take your breath away, the vastness, depth and beauty of nature not just at your feet but set out before you as if to entice and compel you to view yourself.

There is a beautiful place in Cornwall, one of many, where you can stand when the tide in, on the flat, huge rocks. Behind you is over one hundred metres of sheer cliff. In front of you is the Atlantic Ocean.  Very few people dare to stand on those rocks or even know you can and the feeling of nature’s strength and our own tininess is inescapable.

I think people living in cities are suffering from a  claustrophobia they don’t even realise.

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December 2018
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