Thursday, October 11, 2012

Breaking News!

This thought has probably occurred to you, but it struck me the other day that there's one particular caption which, if it comes up on a news website, is guaranteed to capture universal attention.
The caption?
'Breaking News!'

The news item in question may relate to something very trivial . . . it may only apply to a small number of people . . . but it's 'new' news.  That fact alone entitles it to leapfrog every other item of news that has previously held prominence.
What could possibly be more important than the fact that it's new?  In fact, the very definition of the word 'news' would seem to indicate that an item is no longer valid once its age is in question . . .  logically, there can be no such thing as old news.

What does this make us, I wonder?  Are we so shallow that our interest can only be held by a new excitement?  Come to that, the phrase isn't just 'news', it's 'breaking news' . . . a qualification that implies some kind of eruption or damage.
Why this urge to break?  Wouldn't it be much wiser to mend and strengthen the old and familiar, rather than succumb to this constant desire to break open the new?

Those last three paragraphs are the start of a letter I was about to write to you exploring this theme.  I intended to wax lyrical on the virtues of sustainability, conservation and established values.  Then, quite unexpectedly, I came across a quotation.

What it said has caused me to think again . . . and I rather suspect that your letter is going to be very different from the one I'd planned!

May I share the quotation with you  .  .

"Life," it says, "does not accommodate you:  it shatters you.  
Every seed destroys its container, or else there would be  no fruition."

I have to admit it, the universe of which we are a part is not a place of make-do-and-mend.  Creation started with a Big Bang and, ever since, the nature of life has been to continue exploding.
From the moment the waters break in the womb, precipitating the baby's arrival, life is a series of breakthroughs.
Look at the effort demanded of a baby chick to break its way out of its shell . . . or the energy needed from an oak sapling if it's to successfully burst through the husk of the acorn . . . or the power required of the fragile butterfly if it's to emerge intact from the restrictive cocoon.

To evolve from one stage of development to another is not, it would seem, a question of slow and steady progress followed by a gentle emergence.  It's a story of 'breaking news'.

'The seed', we are told, needs to 'destroy its container'.
Let's look at the procedure, and see how this is demonstrated in the natural world around us.  An organism's inner growth may start at a gradual pace, but don't be fooled.  In order for it to emerge in its new state, in order for it to evolve, there's a need in the final stages for destruction and disintegration.  Components once essential, but now no longer necessary, have to go.  This is brought about by violent and explosive activity which, understandably, produces a period of considerable stress.  The pre-birth period is not an easy time, nor is a final breakthrough guaranteed.

Do you see what I'm trying to say?
If our world is undergoing a time of stress, a time of tension and confusion, could it be that we are pushing at the restrictions of our container?  Are we about to emerge as something finer, more highly evolved .  . . more sensitive to the nature of our planet?

Who knows?
Look out for 'breaking news' . . . and, in the meantime, keep pushing!