Now it would not surprise me to learn that the overriding question uppermost in your mind as you read on, is simply this: interesting though, in its way, all of this may be, undoubtedly is to some; what possible relevance can any of it bring to bear on the situation and circumstances in which I now find myself? Moreover, if so little of what happens in the brain is understood, even by experts in the field, what possible chance can there be for me? Let me put it this way: At this moment in time I am sitting in front of my Apple Mac computer, with its world-wide ranging internet and email facility, disk reader/writer, scanner, laser colour printer and possessing several other “bells and whistles”. All of these, in the electronic or technical sense, are ready and available for use by this “dinosaur” (i.e. me) when it comes to computers and IT generally. I know nothing in terms of how they work from the inside out. Or take your television set, with its state of the art satellite receiver ‘dish’ and ready access to all the undoubted wonder and variety of satellite and internet TV. Again – if you are like me – you know nothing about ‘resistors’, or ‘transistors’, or circuit boards and all the other electronic paraphernalia, which is contained within (and beyond) the set. Clearly, someone needs, both to know about and be able to access it and – more often than not – when things go wrong, a quite unassuming electronic boffin will remove the back of the set, point to and replace a component (which might easily ‘sit’ on your finger nail) and all is well again. But whether it is a TV or a computer, all you need to know is how to switch it on and access its programmes, in other words, to recognize it for what it truly is and above all, how to use it.
When I was a small child, my sisters delighted to tell me (and I even more so to hear) bedtime stories. A great favourite in those days was the fable of, “the angel and the boatman”. It relates how late one evening as the boatman was ending his day a stranger approached, requesting immediate passage across the river. Believing that the stranger’s appearance and bearing portended a sizeable ‘tip’, the boatman readily obliged. Upon arrival at the further bank, the stranger first paid his due, thereafter handing the boatman what, in the fading light appeared to be a handful of wood shavings. In his frustration and disappointment, the boatman derisively cast them into the water and once again set off for home. Early next morning as the boatman was preparing his boat for the day’s toil ahead, he noticed something glinting in the bright morning sunshine. He picked it up as in an instant the awful truth struck him. This was no mere wood shaving, but rather a pairing of solid gold. As the fable has it, the stranger was an angel in disguise and in his impatience and failure to recognize the gift for the fortune which it undoubtedly was, the boatman had cast it into the river and away for ever.
What then all of this ‘boils down’ to is simply this: you and I are testament to (and in that sense part of) an amazing heritage, which has brought each and every one of us to where we are in life. Consequently and irrespective of what you may be experiencing at this point in time – indeed, possibly because of it – you and I are indeed, much more than we seem or than is immediately apparent; even to those who know us intimately. Moreover, we possess a rich heritage of and potential for adaptation, daily coping, overcoming and progressing ever onward and upward in life. Given appropriate guidance, stimulation, motivation and support, you – we – all of us – can at the very least, take things forward to the point where, to use the analogy, the tumbler is perceived to be a third or a half or, may even be, three-quarters full, rather than two-thirds or a half or a quarter empty. (C)SB.