About rebeccaMpells

Artist and Writer

Parallel Time

RHYMES&REASONS

In recognition of National Poetry Day, I’m re-posting a poem I wrote last December.  Sadly it is as relevant today as it was then.

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North. East. West. South.

Instant. Happening. Plus one and real time,

Parallel worlds and lives which don’t chime.

Twenty four seven, channels to choose

Inward we turn, money to loose.

Pools of champagne, pools of blood,

Encroaching. Unwanted. Drought and flood.

Which world is mine in parallel time?

Reality TV talent to spot,

TV for real – someone is shot.

 Christmas delivered, targets to meet,

Harvest failed, kids in bare feet.

Toy penguins emote season’s first frost,

Polar melt – the arctic is lost.

Which life is mine in parallel time?

 Big Brother House. Ok! Hello!

Charnel house, Sierra, Aleppo.

White House secrets outed old lies,

Foggy Jungle King, Malala Peace Prize.

No arms, no legs…

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Patterns

RHYMES&REASONS

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Patterns are everywhere.  Life is made up of them.  We are their product.   From the extraordinary beauty of a single snowflake to the relative simplicity of the double helix which forms our DNA, patterns dominate life.  Nature produces them over and over, evolving yes but still within the boundaries of a recognisable pattern.  Man has replicated them from ancient times, everywhere you look you will find a pattern, not always obvious, sometimes we must seek them out.

There is a comfort in patterns, familiar, predictable they have boundaries and therefore a certainty about what has been, what is happening and what is yet to come.  Patterns dictate our behaviour too.  The rebellious teenager who pushes the boundaries of parental control and wisdom, wanting to forge their own path, unaware that they too are following an age old pattern.  They do not, however always work in our favour.  Behavioural patterns…

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The Selfish Gene – has it become our Achilles Heel?

RHYMES&REASONS

Human nature is hung in the balance, our behaviour driven by selfishness and our desire to co-operate to ensure the survival of the group” 

These are the words of E O Wilson during an interview on BBC Radio 4 The Life Scientific.  Professor at Harvard and joint author of a paper setting out the case for group selection he now challenges the ‘selfish gene’ theory he once endorsed.  Among his contemporaries he is something of a lone voice.  Since Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution we have believed in survival of the fittest and increasingly this now means of the wealthiest.  But do we hide behind this as an excuse for our self interest?

The interview reminded me of a recent conversation with a friend regarding the widening pay gap and we imagined a society where each job was valued -and remunerated – at the same level.  We concluded…

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Quantum Leap – the Connection between Darwinism and Climate Change

Written in April 2014

RHYMES&REASONS

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The above image is of a sculpture called Quantum Leap which sits on the banks of the River Severn in my home town of Shrewsbury, UK.  It was installed in 2009 to mark the bi-centenuary of Charles Darwin who was born here and educated at Shrewsbury School. It represents the great move – or leap –  forward that Darwin’s work made in our understanding of ourselves and the natural world.

Below is my own photograph taken yesterday in which the sculpture appears to be diving into the swirling flood waters of the swollen river following weeks of rain-fuelled storms.  I took the picture from the terrace cafe which hugs the side of the Theatre Severn on the opposite bank – what you cannot see are the flood barriers erected some weeks ago to assist the exhausted river to keep within it’s banks and heave it’s watery burden downstream.

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It was…

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The Burden of Choice

RHYMES&REASONS

      'The Writing Table'    www.rebeccapells.co.uk ‘The Writing Table’
http://www.rebeccapells.co.uk

Since the middle of the 20th century choice has become the cobweb in which western society resides.  The driver for consumerism and chief supporter of capitalism it is the meeting point of commerce, politics and our personal lives. The axis around which we chase perfection and happiness as along with the goods, we buy the idea that choice is desirable.  Choice has become synonymous with freedom – freedom to exert our preferences and spin a life exactly as we wish it to be.

  Expectations are raised and goalposts moved as we succumb to the intoxifying lure of possibilities.  But too much choice can leave us overwhelmed, saturated with options and oppressed by the burden to make the right decision.  Freedom becomes our jailor as complexity leads to paralysis and fatigue.  Too much information and too complex for us to be confident we are making the…

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Knowledge, Intelligence and Wisdom

by rebeccaMpells

first posted on RHYMES&REASONS http://rebeccapells.com/

I recently visited the New Birmingham(UK) Library which was officially opened by Malala Yousafzai.  It struck me that this 16 year old girl, thrust into the limelight following her fight for education in her homeland of Pakistan, already displays the hallmarks of wisdom.   I cannot deny that the library is a wonderful facility, crammed with information gathered, written and published through previous generations and which can now be accessed in any number of traditional and technical ways.

As time goes by and our understanding of the world expands, new discoveries are made and life becomes increasingly complex, so does the amount of knowledge recorded, shared and passed onto our children.  Each generation has to start at the beginning to learn the basics and despite increasing years spent in formal education, most of us can only hope to ever reach the lower echelons of the pyramid of knowledge. Our way of handling this overwhelming amount of information is to specialize and become experts in one tiny sphere and as such our outlook on life is forever skewed by our lens of choice.  When faced with challenges beyond that field of vision we believe it is not our problem, that someone else will have the knowledge to fix it and we relinquish any sense of personal responsibility.

How we record and share copious amounts of knowledge is one thing,  but for me the moot point is whether our propensity to spend greater amounts of time in formal education is producing the collective wisdom required to tackle the global challenges of 21st century life. Just 80 years ago in the so called western countries it was the norm to leave school at 14; today many are studying well into their twenties and yet the evidence that this has produced an equivalent increase in wisdom is not obvious. If we look at those individuals whose actions have had positive benefits for large numbers of people – Mahatma Ghandi, Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela – they are few and far between, perhaps one or two per generation.  None of them benefited from extended formal education and yet arguably they displayed a wisdom most of us are in awe of.  Can such wisdom be taught in a classroom or is it something which is innate in a few individuals and which given the opportunity, will propel that person to act for the greater good?  Do they perhaps view the world through a wide angle lens rather than one which has narrowed it’s focus?  In trying to increase our knowledge with unprecedented amounts of information are we actually overloading our minds and cluttering our ability for clear and wise thinking?

In an era which has for the first time in history enabled us to be acutely aware of global issues, does the forum and delivery of knowledge and the nurturing of intelligence require a different approach?  The encouragement of modern individualism seems at odds with the challenges which need addressing in the 21st century.  In Malala maybe we are witnessing one such wise individual but it seems we are far from knowing how to harness, share and encourage a collective wisdom.