The Power and the Glory of the Bigger Picture



Every day I turn on my computer, and venture into Outlook Express to see who is saying what to whom. Most messages are all about triviality in all its teeny-weenyness and the most disquieting stuff comes from the ‘Members Discuss’ email list of the Green Party, where I reluctantly identify all those who have too much time on their hands, spend too much time in front of the computer, are in are in love with their own voices, or are just tedious. Question: How can I identify these people if I choose not to read 85 per cent of the stuff on this fraught email forum? Answer: By seeing the same names returning again and again and again. The folks who sit in front of their computers and just barf it out onto the screen and keyboard, like something out of Fritz the Cat. I love them. I imagine them sitting in darkened rooms, with a stuffed eagle on their head and an eccentric landlady feeding them cold baked beans and chickpea sandwiches, the fumes of cabbage wafting around them as they tap away, by night and by day.

Testosterone plays a big part in this business of writing endless emails to such a ‘discussion’ list. Sometimes the women get fed up with the nastiness, and squeak for peace, calm, or politeness. That’s a waste of time. A message invariably returns from some person along the lines  ‘if you can’t stand the heat get out of the furnace’ or ‘if you don’t like what I say, I’ll make sure you get the full treatment in my famous bog’  – that was an interesting parapraxis, I meant blog… thank you subconscious… I prefer bog in this case.

There is a small-mindedness about this forum that makes me sad, and hate myself if I write something and post it; thankfully nobody takes much notice of what I say, apart from one very short email that triggered a load of poisonous invective, which was fun, rather like throwing a pebble in the water and watching the gunge rise to the surface. Occasionally the information is useful, but for some this communication forum has been cruel and sometimes damaging. Even more sadly, I see the women consistently coming off worst. It’s a small page in history that will, thankfully, disappear when something better comes along. The ideals of the Green Party are massive, inspired and cosmic, and much of the stuff on this membership forum is just the twittering of birds in the trees.

Out here in my street something very similar is going on. The parking arrangements are being re-organised. People who like to live a life on automatic, i.e. go to work, come home, pat 1.5 children on the head, have supper, drink a beer, watch the box and go to bed. They feel comfortable  knowing that their car is parked right to left, facing North in the direction of work, in front of the house for a quick departure after breakfast. But all hell has been let loose. The re-organisation of the parking means that life on automatic has been cruelly interrupted. One can no longer fall mindlessly out of the front door into the car in the morning. Some have to walk… at worse to a street or two away. This has caused terrible distress. Windows are full of posters proclaiming “Fair Parking for Fiveways!”

Hallo! Hallo! Do you not realise that there are too many cars out there? Do you realise that councils across the country have to reorganise things to grab a couple of quid that have been snatched away by HM Government, a Government that wants to crush local councils until they fade away. Have a look at the bigger picture, please!

And what is the bigger picture? It’s explained by Anita Moorjani in her book Dying to be Me (and also on YouTube) in which she graphically describes how she had lymphoma and while dying, in a deep coma, bereft of her five senses, came to understand the bigger picture very clearly, in its totality. Describing our world, as we see it, she says:

Imagine… a huge dark warehouse. You live there with only one flashlight to see by. Everything you know about …is what you’ve seen by the beam of one small flashlight. Whenever you want to look for something, you may or may not find it, but that doesn’t mean the thing doesn’t exist. It’s there but you just haven’t shone your light on it. And even when you do, the object you see may be difficult to make out…you can only see what your light is focused on, and only identify that which you already know… That is what physical life is like. We’re only aware of what we focus our senses on at any given time, and we can only understand what is already familiar.

Anita lived to recover completely from both cancer and near death, and has given us an intriguing picture of our lives, in our imagined world, massively limited by our fives senses and intelligence. In reality I have always wondered if this was the case; as a spider in the garden has a very different perception of the world to my own, so it seems only natural that we too are as limited in our worldview as a spider in the garden. The bigger picture is a great deal bigger than we can imagine.



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