So this will be my last post before Christmas. And here is what I have noticed lately. I heard an interview on Radio National Australia where the question ‘is homosexuality genetic?’ was put to a panel. A delightful and clearly erudite woman (who I shall find out more about) answered that it was. She also said that a better way of thinking of this was more in terms of a ‘man-loving’ gene rather than a homosexual one. Because as it turns out families which include gay men tend to have all members carrying the gene. Enter the straight people. The response in a straight person is to go out and have heaps of babies. Having completed the necessary prerequisites of course. So the ‘man-loving’ gene is good for the species…if we want to keep going that is. I will check up on this one and get back to you.
On a somewhat different topic, I have been struck by the work of Dennis Proffitt who says that his research tells him something like this. If you are looking at a hill and working out how steep it is, and if you have a weighty pack on your back, you are going to OVERestimate how steep it is. If you are looking at it with a friend standing next to you, you will see it as easier. If the friend is a long-term friend then you will find it easier still. This is kind of interesting in terms of working with people in hard times. What hills are they confronting? (Okay this is a metaphor right), how are they looking at their hardships? Are they facing them alone or with someone? I will look into this too and get back to you.
And as I look at the newspaper today there is an article by Hugh Mackay entitled ‘Triumph of ideals stirs a return to the big picture.’ He refers to a writing competition where young people were asked to respond to the question ‘what matters?’ And as he says, there is no better question. He goes on to say how the responses tended to be about things like poverty, bullying, indigenous issues…topics which are anything but superficial. On the same page of the newspaper is the following ‘cartoon’ by Michael Leunig.
Now I love Michael Leunig and I couldn’t agree more about the commercialism of Christmas. I also know that optimists live longer…and tend to have a few more laughs while here. I know too as Daniel Gilbert tells us, that depression is on the rise in the English speaking western world. And Michael Leunig has many aspects and I have to say that I know this cartoon is simply one of them.
Cynicism I suspect is one of our major enemies…so….if I can choose, or when I can choose, I will choose optimism and hope. And if it helps me with the hills, I will try and confront them when I am feeling lighter of load, and certainly I will do it with the good company of a friend. Good wishes to you at this time of year. I hope this time is just as you would want it to be.