There is a line in the Kate Bush song, Cloudbusting, that states, “what made it special, made it dangerous”. I’ve never given it much thought before – probably because when I was a child and my mother used to play it, I didn’t go much on Kate.
However, now that I am older with different tastes, I appreciate the creativity behind music, as opposed to simply being mortified that my mother would dance around the house, limbs flailing, larynx wobbling, in her best Bush-impersonation.
And isn’t it so very true? If something is special, then it can be needed or wanted not only by us, but by someone else – which in turn can make it dangerous. Power, money, love. If we want or need something, we worry about it. We may hide it or conceal it, for fear that it will be taken, and we may lock it down under cover, in order to keep it safe.
If something gleams, whether truly or metaphorically, it draws the attention of others. Envy, lust and greed can ensue – all ugly emotions, and emotions that can be dangerous.
Across the centuries, things that have been special have been sought after. Jewels, art, the leadership of political parties, and all of these things come with a price to pay. This depends particularly upon those who want them, because for some, even monumental bloodshed has not stood in their way.
As human beings, we are willing to go to war for what is ‘special’. In fact, human life itself is about as special as it gets – think about the lengths you’d go to for your own child or kin. Think about the lengths science has gone to – and will continue to go to in the ages yet to come. Science can be special, but it is also dangerous, and raises issues of ethics and morality, and the concept that just because we can do something, it does not mean that we should.
As Kate Bush once wrote, what makes it special, makes it dangerous. The traits that rise above the rest, are those we covet most.
Silence speaks volumes…
A lesson that most of us learn as we age is that, sometimes, it’s better to say as little as possible. Sometimes, it’s best to not even bother defending yourself vehemently and, occasionally, it’s better to simply say nothing at all.
The old adage that we should ‘sleep on it’ is golden advice and nearly always works, as opposed to leaping in. Social media is a minefield for this and best avoided when cross.
In fact, silence can say more than a thousand words. Not responding when provoked, or resisting the temptation to leap to our own defense, can be the more rational option. It is not necessarily more satisfying in the short-term, but in the long-term, it can speak volumes.
Another year grows old
It’s that time of year. The time when autumn is just beginning to show its russet-face and the mornings are tinged with a crystal chill, the promise of winter in its wake.
Hence, it is also the time of year when Tesco et al fill their aisles with mince pies and Christmas chocolates, advent calendars and all manner of ludicrous party attire, that should only ever sported after a glass of festive merriment.
I found myself thinking that this was all a tad too early until a student pointed out to me that it’s something ludicrous like only 11 Mondays until Christmas. Admittedly that’s also 11 weeks, which sounds decidedly longer and more manageable but, nevertheless, another year is growing old.
First published on Saturday 8th October 2016