In Elsie Davenport’s book about hand spinning she describes working with wool as a ‘whole art’ because nothing is destroyed in the process of creation. This is an idea that is totally new to me, but how fascinating to distinguish between arts that are purely creative and those that require destruction or sacrifice, and to explore the idea of trying to live from whole arts alone. 

I suppose for the most part ‘whole arts’ would have been practised largely where there was no choice – there was not an endless supply of cows to kill for leather or trees to fell for beams, so shoes were wooden or woolen and houses were small and simple unless you were wealthy. 

What we now call low impact living, sustainability or permaculture was just called being alive until little more than a century ago – but a virtuous life lived in the absence of temptation is not necessarily a sign of virtue, and I have no doubt that our forebears would have been as thrilled as we are to be able to wear leather shoes and live in weatherproof houses.

To me, and to increasing numbers of people around the world, the challenge nowadays is to find the will to say no to that which is unsustainable, even though it is still easily available. And I think this concept of the ‘whole art’ is helpful. It gives a benchmark, a simple ideal that feels pure of heart and full of positive energy: create without destruction. 

Our lambs have grown up. Last night we separated George from his girls so we (hopefully!) won’t have lambs too early next year. Being novice sheep owners we weren’t sure whether we’d spot the changes in George’s behaviour in time, but I’m optimistic. His top lip started quivering yesterday afternoon and he was showing interest in the girls’ tail ends. Both pretty tell-tale signs! So we’re now making full use of Graham’s cleverly designed field shelter which is accessible from both paddocks. George can be close to Carmen and Dora and they can snuggle up against the hurdles for warmth, but nothing more until we decide the time is right! And I’ve already noticed this morning that having George away in a separate paddock is making the girls braver, so they’re coming up closer to me without spooking – and I’m happier as well, as I wasn’t too keen about being in with George’s horns!

Spend time in nature and you will be in the company of the lesser beings, and you will meet the higher beings later in your sleep.

Consume chemicals in your food, surround yourself with wireless radiation, and stare at screens emitting blue light, and you will render yourself blind, deaf and dumb to the guidance of spiritual world.

Experience that blindness, deafness and dumbness, and you will experience lethargy, purposelessness, misery, despair and insanity.

Consciously control the technology that is a barrier between you and the spirit world and you will gain a new awareness: of the existence of your spiritual senses, of the loss that you experienced when they were numbed, of at last taking the place in the universe that was waiting for you.

And you will be Human in an entirely new and meaningful way.

The man who faces no temptation cannot claim to be good. The man who turns his back on temptation cannot claim to be strong. The man who welcomes temptation and overcomes it cannot be defeated.

There is a famous paradox from Zeno of Alea, in Ancient Greece, called the Dichotomy Paradox. It ‘proves’ that motion is impossible by pointing out that before you can arrive somewhere you have to get half way there, and then you have to cover half of the remaining distance, and half of the distance then remaining, and so on – thereby never actually reaching your destination. If you are familiar with infinite series you will know that by definition, according to mathematicians, the sum of 1/2 + 1/4 + 1/8 + 1/16 + 1/32… is 1, which means that you will arrive at your destination – although to me there has always been an infinitely small piece missing from that bit of maths. A sort of a priori requirement that we devise a system in which the answer is 1, because if it isn’t, our understanding of our world quickly falls to pieces. Who says there’s no need for faith in maths.

But that isn’t really what I wanted to write about today. I was thinking about the infernal muddle that scientists get themselves in when they try to answer seemingly simple questions, and for some reason it put me in mind of Zeno’s Paradox.

Suppose a scientist asks a question. He breaks the problem down into pieces, as every good scientist does, and sets up an experiment to try to find the answer to his question. But in the process he finds that he can’t answer the question until he has answered two new questions which he hadn’t realised needed answering. Attempting to answer these two new questions, he designs two new experiments. But now he finds himself with four unanswered questions – and the process continues, with 8, 16, 32, 64 and 128 questions to answer, at which point he calls for help. He trains new scientists and shares out the questions, but still, with every attempt to find answers the number of questions increases exponentially, until each of the new scientists is forced to train more scientists to work under them. And so eventually we have an infinite number of scientists, and yet the original question remains unanswered.

This illustration is perhaps just as contrary to our experience as Zeno’s Paradox (although far less elegant in it’s falsity); clearly science has answered quite a few questions over the years. But generation after generation of scientists are trained and set to work on exceptionally specific aspects of science, with very little idea of what is being studied in the lab next door, never mind in other fields – even though they are usually being studied in adjacent buildings on the same university campuses.

The original scientist who asked the original question died long ago. So is it time we started asking today’s scientists to step back from their work, and once again ask that first question?

Science has proclaimed to the world many times over the last few hundred years that “we’ve nearly solved it”, “we know almost all there is to know”, and that soon “nothing will be beyond the understanding of science”. But any scientist who’s being honest with you will say that it’s become apparent that there is no endpoint to scientific enquiry. Even an infinite number of pieces can still be divided by two (and yes, you can double infinity, a rather fascinating idea which I remember being brushed under the carpet in first year calculus at university).

Of course the fact that there is no end to the process of enquiry doesn’t invalidate that process, but surely if you are on a path that has no end it would be wise to remember why you are walking that path – to shift your gaze to the horizon regularly, and see that the fragments of your enquiry are parts of one perfect whole, and that they only make sense in the context of that whole.

I spend a lot of my time thinking. Or, perhaps more accurately, thoughts spend a lot of time in my mind – it generally isn’t an active process on my part, and I therefore don’t particularly lay claim to these thoughts. They are not exactly ‘my’ thoughts. They arrive suddenly, unbidden, and often unconnected to any task at hand.

Having arrived though, these thoughts demand attention. They insist on being organised, connected to each other, argued about and solved. They demand analysis of and changes to the way I lead my life. And then, still unsatisfied, they congregate in the back of my mind and seem to ask me what I am going to do about them, how I am going to use them to make a difference in this broken world.

But if the thoughts aren’t exactly ‘my’ thoughts, then perhaps the use of them isn’t exactly ‘my’ task. Perhaps all I can do is to create  something with them – to turn that raw material into something more tangible, to release it with loving intent, and to hope that just occasionally the right idea will reach the right person at the right time.

And so I am going to try to make this blog into an unfiltered, honest expression of the truth as I see it. I am very well aware that my understanding of the world is quite different from most people’s, but in this world of fake news, alternative truth, propaganda and cynicism, it’s surely more important than ever to openly stand by your beliefs. And while social media, sound bytes and text-speak reduce the quality and complexity of the language used around us on a daily basis, I make no apology for nested sentences or complex arguments. Our world is a complicated place, and we would all be better off if we stopped pretending that it isn’t.

Life is energy
Relationships are exchange of energy
We need to be grounded for energy to flow
If energy doesn’t flow then it stagnates
Stagnant energy prevents growth

Do rituals help to ground us so that we can release unwanted energy? And connect us to the source so that we can find needed energy?

dieux et deesses de celtie
accordez nous votre protection
et avec votre protection, la force
et avec la force, la compréhension
et avec la comprehension, le savoir
et avec le savoir, le sens de ce qui est juste
et avec le sens de ce qui est juste, l’Amour
et avec l’Amour, l’Amour de toutes formes de vies
et dans l’Amour de toutes les formes de vies, l’Amour des dieux et des deesses,
et de l’innomé, et de l’innomé, et de l’innomé

Having watched and listened to Alma Deutscher recently it is clear that she is connected to the ‘truth’ of music somehow – whether she’s Mozart reincarnated, or ‘just’ a prodigy, she is tapping freely into knowledge that the rest of us have to fight to access.

The reasons for that are fascinating to think about, but what specifically strikes me today is that all children are probably born with that connection to a greater or lesser degree, but we lose it as we grow. We become human, in other words. Even Alma Deutscher has to study music theory – but when she ‘learns’ something she perhaps feels that she is really being reminded of what she already knew… And perhaps that’s the same reason that as a child I always expected myself to know things, and mum had to explain that teachers were there to teach you things you didn’t already know, not just to give you practice with what you already knew… And perhaps children with dyslexia or Aspergers have been cut off from this source either at birth or from some other trauma, perhaps in this life, perhaps brought with them…