Seeing the bigger picture.

Look beyond appearance and prejudice.

I had in mind to republish a recent George Monbiot essay but then saw this post from Alex Jones’ blog The Liberated Way.  It seemed a perfect follow-on to yesterday’s Picture parade ninety.  It is republished with Alex’s kind permission.


Look beyond appearance and prejudice

Everything in nature is good says the philosopher Heraclitus. Humans love to divide everything into good and bad, thus missing the beauty of what nature offers in the blindness of their prejudices.
Everything in nature is good says the philosopher Heraclitus. Humans love to divide everything into good and bad, thus missing the beauty of what nature offers in the blindness of their prejudices.

A few years ago, I intervened to save a baby crow from traffic and school children, taking it to a veterinarian surgery, who had the contacts of people who could look after it. The receptionist annoyed me on seeing the bird describing it as “evil.”

In fact, if people can look beyond the superstitious nonsense surrounding these black feathered birds, there is an intelligent empathy lurking inside these beautiful corvids. If humans, dolphins and octopuses are in the top division of “intelligent” animals, the corvids, including magpies, jackdaws, ravens, crows, choughs and rooks, are in the same division. The corvids use tools, play, can problem-solve, express empathy and have a rudimentary sense of self based on experiments showing they recognise themselves in a mirror. The BBC recently reported how a child had developed a close relationship with crows she was feeding in the garden, birds that were leaving her gifts. A flood of feedback by readers revealed that gift-giving by corvids to those showing kindness to them was common around the world.

The symbol of my town port is the raven. My business carries the logo of the raven, a symbol for me of its intelligence. The stories of various archetypes such as Apollo, the Celtic Mercury and Odin had ravens as their messenger birds, who symbolised memory, thought, wisdom, intelligence, and the gathering or delivery of knowledge.

The sad situation is that most people blind themselves to the beauty of a living thing like a crow or raven, based on appearance and prejudice, so that they will do it harm, even though it might manifest the very qualities of intelligence and empathy that humans admire but often appear to lack.


There was a recent TED Talk that fits very nicely with today’s theme. It’s just fifteen minutes long. Enjoy.

What do you call a veterinarian that can only take care of one species? A physician. In this short and fascinating talk, Barbara Natterson-Horowitz shares how a species-spanning approach to health can improve medical care of the human animal — particularly when it comes to mental health.

Tomorrow things on Learning from Dogs are going to change for a spell. More details in twenty-four hours!

6 thoughts on “Seeing the bigger picture.

  1. The TED talk was enlightening. The holistic approach to problem-solving using multiple disciplines is the way forward in my opinion.

  2. It’s funny. Now that you mention ravens I remember that my mother had a raven as a friend. She used to tell me about it but I had completely forgotten. That must have been a very special friendship.

    1. Andrea, so delighted that this post brought back that memory for you. Thank you so much for coming to this place and leaving that thought of yours. Do hope to see you again, best wishes, Paul

  3. Crows and ravens are messengers of the spirit world.

    A crow appeared to me in a dream after my beloved Free passed on and told me all about life.

    Also, I enjoyed the TED Talk. I wish my vet was my doctor 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.