The other day as I sat at my desk absorbed in writing, I became aware of a furious buzzing and bumping sound from my window. I recognised the sound as a trapped bee banging against the window, trying frantically to get out. I realised that if I didn’t do something quickly then the bee would probably die of exhaustion. So I got up, walked the 8 steps or so to the window and opened it. Without so much as a ”thank you” or a “bye your leave”, the bee flew away.
The whole experience started a chain of thought about perception; what we can know and how to behave.
Perception: I doubt the bee was aware of the bi-pedal mammal (me) sitting at the desk. I doubt that it could even imagine what addiction is, let alone the idea of another life-form writing about it. For the bee, the window/invisible barrier problem was simple cause and effect. He banged against the window with all his might and the glass barrier simply disappeared. Maybe he flew away thinking that he was an especially clever bee, as he had overcome what is known within the bee culture as the “invisible barrier” problem that had killed so many of his companions. Other bees might consider him to be a magic bee and venerate him.
What can we know? We humans have a pretty high opinion of ourselves. Some even believe that god has given us dominion over all things. Stop for a moment and just take a look around at the unnecessary suffering, the horrific violence, the greed, the way we are destroying the only home we have. Our actions (I include you the reader and me in this) show clearly that, in reality, our understanding of the bigger picture is at about the same level as the bees’ understanding of the invisible barrier problem.
If we want our species and many other species to have any sort of future, then we urgently need to expand our awareness and our consciousness, so we experience and cherish the interconnectedness of all things. We need to do this with humility and intelligence. We need to develop attitudes of kindness, of compassion (for others, all creatures and ourselves), of gratitude for being alive being here, being conscious.
This is the responsibility of each and every one of us right here and right now. This does not mean posting inspirational phrases on social media. It means taking responsibility for the difference we make and the difference we can make and doing the hard work to become the change.
We have to do this because as far as I can tell, there is no one to open the window for us, and even if there was someone or something to open the window right now, would they believe we deserve it?