“Unemployment is capitalism’s way of getting you to plant a garden.”
– Orson Scott Card
It’s a widely held view that gardening is the closest mankind gets to playing God; to creating life.
Having spent several days in the garden recently, my observations have been quite different. I’ve mowed grass and weeded, pruned trees and dug up and potted squirrel-planted hazel trees. I have attempted to rip out every last root of an unwelcome run of bamboo but I haven’t created a single thing. My role has been ‘arbiter of fitness’ to survive. I have a vision of how the garden should be and I ruthlessly remove or modify anything that opposes my scheme.
I’m not God, I am Evolution.
“Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.” – Translation of the Bhagavad Gita, quoted by J. Robert Oppenheimer on seeing the first atomic bomb.
As The West contemplates an appropriate response to Islamic State, we need to be aware of our own potential for ruthlessness in protecting our chosen cultural memes. Perhaps we should look at more flexible planting schemes.
I have dug a ditch around the bamboo for now, to contain it but another voice calls for it to be destroyed by fire, before the original shoots we planted get out of hand again. Creation is harder to control than destruction.
Oppenheimer underestimated the awesome power of branching chain reactions too.