Sitting in the stalls of some concert hall, watching as this insignificant looking chap moves his bow across the strings of a violin and hearing the notes, haunting, powerful, and almost without mercy, draw the emotions out of a hundred dusty souls : caught in the beauty of that rare phenomenon, expression without agenda, I am transported to another sense of life.
Drunk with the music’s beauty, and the talent of the man who played it, I leave the concert hall filled with wonder at the power of someone to both create and express a sense of the sublime and leave it haunting my imagination long after the sound has faded from my ears. It is one of the wonders of existence. I think on this as I look at the large ugly and unsentimental hole dug in the side of some mountain where experts in a field of geology have detected oil, copper or some value added mineral. .
I watch a series on television where four or five strangers meet each other over a dinner for four or five consecutive days and pass some time together. During the course of it they reveal their thoughts about the others to the camera . I am always struck by the way some people are shielded from the full knowledge of how they are perceived by thinking other people like them a lot more than they do. As this individual drones on at some length about the role of the ball bearing and its importance in the development of the can opener, they believe the other guests are fascinated by their erudition, powers of expression and general worldliness when in fact they are longing for him either to pass the beer or re discover the beauty of silence. We all know the fellow.
The point of all this is, as I watched another programme about our tenure on this planet, I began to wonder how divine mankind really was, given his influence and impact on the world around him. Move over Penguins, we need a new car park here . Were we, like Mr Ball-Bearing, so lost in the image of our brilliance, that we couldn’t see our real natures and overestimated our importance in the nature of things. Meanwhile all the other species, as they gathered round some watering hole, or flew in steady progress high above us in the trees could agree, if nothing else, on one thing, That that weird and horrifying creature who moves among them and keeps burying the grazing under an inedible shell and waging war against their own kind, is the worst thing they have come across, and then some.
In short I wondered as I watched the story of how we wreaked havoc on ourselves and the planet , if it was possibly that the Dolphin, a creature more gentle and less destructive than ourselves, was divine and the object of God’s love and that we , like Mr Ball-Bearing, allow our arrogance to assume that we are the object of his imagination when, in fact, he created the garden of Eden principally for the Dolphin. The Dolphin, understandably, is too polite to correct us on this matter.
Possibly, at the dawn of creation God toyed with the idea of granting more than one species the privilege of divine understanding but, drained of patience by our conduct, withdrew that privilege from mankind. Perhaps in those haunting notes played so beautifully in the hall, or the movement of a paint laden brush across a canvass some timeless memory of our lost nature can stir an awareness of what we were and transport us, for a few and treasured moments, into a sense of what life might have been.