An English In Kentucky


















Wednesday March 6th 2019Tim Candler9


    There's a good way to tell whether a Raptor is on the prowl. You look around and the Birds are silent and suddenly they are all gone, except Crows and sometimes an elderly Mockingbird who might have been your friend through thick and thin for a lot of years. Yet one Fall, a busy, confusing time for a Blue Jay, I watched a crowd of Blue Jays mocking a small Falcon. They were like flies to the Falcon, aggravating rather than threatening. But the Blue Jays were in high dudgeon, a rage in them that would not go away, they'd had enough of hiding, it was time to take a stand. Bolder Blue Jays would fly at the Falcon, loudly egged on by other Blue Jays. Then the Falcon made her move, she attacked a Blue Jay, fell to the ground with her victim who screamed as he or she died. The silence that followed was absolute, then as if by magic the crowd of Blue Jays disappeared, not a sound or sight of them. The Falcon didn't eat the Blue Jay, just left it there. I'd never seen such a behavior from Blue Jays, it seemed extraordinary, the memory of it clung in that way that memories can, drifting to the point where the truth of it, the interpretation of it, meets doubt. Days later, a good long way from where the Blue Jay had died, I found a range of sodden Blue Jay feathers that had been there a while. Maybe, I thought, it was the killing of this Blue Jay that had set a crowd of Blue Jays to rage against that small, bad tempered Falcon. A long step to take for a man of science, what's next they'd ask, as you fall into the Rabbit hole, end up in a Pantheon where there's a God of Blue Jays celebrating a birthday and calling for the defeat of all Falcon-Kind. In answer, there could be a suggestion that the moment kind of reminded me of a Nuremberg Rally, a whole bunch of Blue Jays all of a sudden going whobbidy-whobbity at the prospect of sticking it to someone because of who they are. It's also the case that back in the day, we were more like Baboons are around Lions, Leopards and Hyena. We were a difficult, disobedient, annoying, hardly worth the hassle kind of prey, but no match, unless we became as one in defense of each one of us, especially our children, the bigger our group the stronger we were.



    The question, why do we like flowers? is not usually answered with, because where there are flowers there's a potential for fruit in the future. As a jobbing gardener a scientific mind soon realizes that there's a whole thing with the interpretation of blooms which for mental health reasons just have to be dismissed as a neurosis and accepted rather than debated otherwise someone else gets an easy job. At the same time, where there are flowers there's a potential for Bees and Butterflies in the future. And given the current flow in these pages of what's called the Biophilia Hypothesis (philia in a word means fondness) I think I'm well prepared to embrace the idea that propagating a genetic mutation that became the Pollen-less Sunflower is a high order act of vandalism that's up there with that bouquet of neurotic behaviors displayed within certain political inclinations which I indeed hope are entirely fruitless. Quickly defined Fromm's Biophilia is a name he gave to that instinct he spoke of which leads us people toward relationships with our world and with others of our kind, it goes back to Aristotle's observation "Love of Living Things." It's in Critical Theory were doubt is expressed about whether economic systems devoted to worshipping a very limited idea of plenty might promote our more Biophilic elements in a manner which, as Freud might have put it, avoid becoming entirely neurotic. I guess a person can say neurotic too often, but it was Freud's view that there was no actual cure, the best he could do was bandage up and send back to the front line, the rest was down to us. His bandages were long talks, more anomalous patients probably had to pay less, and soon enough as Critical Theorists looked for societal solutions, Freud's bandages became the cheaper chemicals. I remember an old gardener, arthritic he smelled of damp earth and woodbine cigarettes, he suffered from a bad case of King Edward Potato Philia, he pretty much whispered around his crop so as not to unsettle his "little darlings," telling me that the trouble with "you" people "you're all spoiled rotten." It was as simple as that for him.


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