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  • iaindryden1

on lemmings, dogs and humans.....

Avebury’s 6,000 year old stone circle wrapped around us as we ate our picnic, yet again opening my heart. Rooks entertained us as they hopped about seeking insects to take back to the fledgelings in their nests. I tossed a morsel, an intelligent eye peered at me, wings flapped, my offering was hauled up in to a tall chestnut bursting with pink flowers.

My wife was about to take a bite of her food when a dog bounded across the grass and leapt at her. Instinctively, I lifted my crutch, prodded the greedy animal in the chest, a gentle move though lightening quick. Rubber crutch-foot parting the hairs of its chest, the dog wide-eyed, backed off. The male owner who wore an expensive checked shirt and fine cotton chinos, grunted, “Humph! Some people obviously don’t like dogs!” As if it was our fault.

I said, “Look, we’ve food laid out.”

“Which is why he’s interested.” “Obviously,” I retorted.

With a sniff, he walked away without an apology, without calling his dog. I gave it a push and it left us and the rooks in peace. We’re used to this new phenomena. It says a lot about life in the twenty second century; we assume nature (dogs, cats, whatever) exists to entertain us and for us to possess.

Not all dog owners are insensitive, but a growing percentage are not considerate, are unaware that their semi-wild ’toys’ can suddenly invade other people’s lives. When you push their flashing muddy paws away from your brand new trousers which have just been ruined, you often get a rebuke rather than an apology, even when there’s a tear. “Was there before!” Somebody once shouted at me. You are out walking so it must be your fault, not the dog’s.

And it isn’t the dog’s fault. If it were well trained, well secured, it’d not blast in to your private existence. And right now as I look out my window I can see a large steaming dog blob ignored by the human who took his dog for a walk. Children skip past it on their way to school, oops, one of them slips, slides, almost falls. “Aah! Yuk!”

All of this is an indication of our consumer mad society. “I own this thing (dog, car, motorbike), it’s up to you to accept what ever might happen.” Even if you fear dogs or are petrified of the damage jet skis can do to human flesh swimming in the sea. It’s your problem. And on social media they rant at us for spoiling their fun. That’s the root of the problem and it began in 2008 when providers installed the swipe and like buttons and enabled people to forward content, thus forming ever more constrained groups who ramp up their own views. And so the ‘woke’ wave swelled into a tsunami.

University lecturers complain that today’s students abhor debate, taking it as offensive rather than an exploration of how airing contrasting views leads us to find consensus. Rather stick to platitudes than say anything which the ‘woke’ lot consider offensive. Social media’s microcosmic pools create an emotional tribe which lacks the ability to see beyond their minute views.

As for dogs, don’t get me wrong, I love them. I can’t help myself from talking in ‘dog-speak’ - a silly voice which draws them to me. I grew up tumbling about the bush play-fighting and swimming and running wild with dogs. I am subsequently part dog and when I play with them they know it and go bonkers within the tight rules of dog-play which is bound by mutual respect and hence I never find my clothes ruined during these wonderfully half mad encounters. However, when an untrained dog blasts in upon your privacy, like spoilt human children, they’ve forgotten the rules of consideration which they apply when playing with other dogs.

That we are lead astray by social media, by rampant consumerism, by greed which we have inadvertently been encouraged to enjoy, is not wholly our fault. We are human after all and humans are social creatures which adapt their behaviour to fit what is considered the norm in their tight little clan so that they can all work together towards a common aim. The trouble is that industrial leaders and internet moguls have fooled us in to thinking we are part of their clan. Cajoled, coaxed and lead astray, we assume these influences are our own.

Blindly following them, we’ve become the ’ME’ generation, so selfish we can’t see it. Multiply this by tens of millions of times and hey ho! we have a crazy society bent on raping the world, ruining the climate, caring not because we want to continue living as we have become accustomed to, even though it is sheer madness. Lemming behaviour... watch that cliff folks! “Who cares! We’re running! We’re skipping! Yippiee!”

Beware, that sheer drop is fast approaching.

Hmm, a lot to assume from a dog-incident….







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