Nature’s intelligence rises in defense against man

There’s a mystical sense in which nature has an intelligence, which responds to the human assault in ways that gradually move toward ecosystems toward a stronger recovery. But here’s a story of a species with individual intelligence which probably exceeds humans in some ways, retaliating against our ships that plunder their seas. They appear to be smart enough to identify the rudder as the boat’s most vulnerable part, and organized enough to form teams to take down a boat.

In an almost unbelievable story, Live Science is reporting that Orcas have “sunk 3 boats in Europe and appear to be teaching others to do the same.” The piece goes on to say that scientists believe the attacks are coordinated, and began following an orca experiencing a “critical moment of agony.” Further, they believe “the behavior is spreading among the population through social learning.” This is a stark reminder that we as a species impact our environment and that, sometimes, there are consequences.

Ralph Nader

Paean to Science

My sixth grade teacher said, “The more you know
The more you know you don’t know.” She’s long gone,
But words she said inspire six decades on —
My sense of wonder never ceased to grow.

How often science speaks its “final word”.
They’ve searched and searched, and now they’ve got it right!
Their paradigm established, we must fight
Complacent, brilliant minds — just to be heard.

How often do we reach a paradox,
Then treasure chests (years later) loose their locks?
How quickly we forget that tortuous history,
Now that we clearly see what had been mystery.
How rare and fine, this scientific thrall —
Not knowing is the greatest thrill of all.


Patient trust

pdt 2

Patient Trust

Above all, trust in the slow work of God.
We are quite naturally impatient in everything
to reach the end without delay.
We should like to skip the intermediate stages.
We are impatient of being on the way to something
unknown, something new.
And yet it is the law of all progress
that it is made by passing through
some stages of instability—
and that it may take a very long time.
And so I think it is with you;
your ideas mature gradually—let them grow,
let them shape themselves, without undue haste.
Don’t try to force them on,
as though you could be today what time
(that is to say, grace and circumstances
acting on your own good will)
will make of you tomorrow.
Only God could say what this new spirit
gradually forming within you will be.
Give Our Lord the benefit of believing
that his hand is leading you,
and accept the anxiety of feeling yourself
in suspense and incomplete.
― Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, SJ [source]

unsigned translation from the French

  Avant tout, aie confiance dans le lent travail de Dieu. Tout naturellement, nous sommes impatients d’être en chemin vers quelque chose d’inconnu, de nouveau… C’est pourtant là la loi de tout progrès qu’il se fait en passant par de l’instable, – lequel peut représenter une fort longue période. C’est ainsi que, depuis un an, nous sommes en suspens au sujet de la civilisation de demain. (…). Fais à N.S. le crédit de penser que sa main te mène à bien à travers l’obscurité et le « devenir », – et accepte par amour pour lui, l’’anxiété de te sentir en suspens, et comme inachevée.  (Genèse d’une pensée, p 70, 4 juillet 15) [source]

Wild riders we

The surest thing there is is we are riders
And though not too successful at it, guiders,
Through everything presented, land and tide
And now the very air on which we ride.

What is this talked-of mystery of birth
But being mounted bare-back on the earth?
We can just see the infant up astride,
His small fist buried in the bushy hide.

There is our wildest mount—a headless horse.
But though it runs unbridled off its course,
And all our blandishments would seem defied,
We have ideas yet that we haven’t tried.

— Robert Frost

What a bee knows

We think of bees as automatons that have intelligence and adaptive flexibility only as a hive. But individual bees also have rich lives. Bees can learn and remember and communicate about where the flowers are (what can be more important?) and who are friends and who are enemies.

Most bee species are not eusocial — that is, they do not live in hives but fend for themselves, retiring each night to underground burrows.

Bees can recognize individual human faces and can perceive patterns of polarization in the sky that are invisible to humans.

Most of the plants in the world, including almost almost all the ones that humans dependent on for food, rely on bees for pollination. Bee populations generally are in decline. We won’t know how much danger they are in until it’s too late to do anything.

Article by Stephen Buchmann


Even now we were on the boat, even now I was leaving, I was out at sea when all at once, like a lottery prize, Joy, she of the faithful memory, appeared and said, “It is I, Harken!” — and she swept me up, losing no time about it, and conducted me to that place from which we have come, all of us.

— adapted with apologies to Henri Michaud, who was born this day in 1899

Planetary security

We feel that we must have weapons to protect ourselves from weapons of the enemy. This fear legtimizes the development and stockpiling of new weapons and results in the election of public officials who will not hesitate to use violence. This, in turn, attracts the warrior to politics, and reinforces his belief that military might is the best assurance of security. If the public were convinced that there were real, viable alternatives to war, such figures would lose their mandate. Therefore, it is vital that a new concept of security is formulated, which puts earth and its inhabitants first.
Dr Rosalie Bertell

Dante’s Prayer

Thou Virgin Mother, daughter of thy Son,
    Humble and high beyond all other creature,
    The limit fixed of the eternal counsel,

Thou art the one who such nobility
    To human nature gave, that its Creator
    Did not disdain to make himself its creature.

Within thy womb rekindled was the love,
    By heat of which in the eternal peace
    After such wise this flower has germinated.

Here unto us thou art a noonday torch
    Of charity, and below there among mortals
    Thou art the living fountain-head of hope.

Dante Alighieri was born this day in 1265

This song was composed by Loreena McKennit, inspired by Dante’s vision