Monthly Archives: December 2017

Opening Pandora’s Box

For years I was someone who tended to keep his distance. I liked (and still do) my own company, tended to meet people on neutral ground, pubs for example,  and felt awkward in more intimate social gatherings.  A partygoer at times but always at other people’s parties. That childhood outsider remained one and it became my default mechanism. Indeed, so much so that I never questioned it. It was me and I’ve learnt that I’m quite strong on that “me” bit.

This whole situation was made worse by a lack ability to do small talk other than in certain situations and, something that I now realise, was a lack of empathy. A great amount   of sympathy, caring and  personal, practical advice and help but empathy no, not really. Inside the shell that I’d created, I was safe, letting people in at my own behest. Until, one day, meeting one of my youngest daughter’s boyfriends, I felt  empathy for the first time and it hurt. Moreover it is, I now find, a one way street in which there is no turning round. I liken it to a Pandora’s Box.

Well, over the past few years and many years on the therapist’s couch, I learnt to face up to my demons and, in doing so, understand why they were there in the first place. As a result, most of them don’t plague me anymore. They were only in my head anyway although, unfortunately, that’s the last place you want demons to be.

Well, yesterday we went to Gaynor’s brother and his wife’s Xmas family get together. And I thoroughly enjoyed myself. Talking to people whose views I didn’t necessarily agree with and not labouring the point was quite nice really. My lovely wife even commented on the fact that a lot of the fury has gone although, as later was also to be commented on, not the passion or optimism.

So, if you have to live with demons, please try to understand why they’re there and send them quietly on their way. If my experience is any guide, the life that you will then lead, just as yourself, can be easier and more fulfilling. It would appear, after all, that opening that Pandora’s Box and letting the bad out, allows the good to flourish. Not a bad result, both for you and those around you.

Please Don’t Cock it Up

As any of those who know me will assert, I’m not very taken with belief in supernatural beings. To quote the inestimable Christopher Hitchens, “There is no supernatural dimension”. So, when it comes to finding out how the universe, and all that it contains, works, I look to science and not faith as my guide. If verifiable proof of the existence of supernatural beings is ever found, I will, of course, change my mind. Such is the benefit of rational thought.

Moreover, the more we discover, the more wondrous the universe (and any others we might find in the process) becomes. Just look at the images from the Hubble telescope to be truly astounded. Finally, for those who argue that, even if there was a “big bang” that started it all, some being needs to have been around to have created this, I would take the argument one stage further and say that, using just that perspective,  some being needed to be around to create that being itself in the first place. QED.

So what’s all this pontificating about then? Well, it’s the fact that over the past few weeks, I’ve been watching a couple of programmes on television presented by Jim Al Khalili. The first of these was on quantum mechanics; mindboggling in itself. The second, on quantum biology, was even more so. The fact that the biology and mechanics were linked may have been obvious, in retrospect. It wasn’t before I watched the programme. At which point the obvious unity between the two became extremely satisfying in its coherence.

So, not only is the wonder of it all utterly amazing, but that we now have a species which is able to discover why and how that’s so. If only we don’t cock it up in the meantime.