Fish or fowl?

Which group would you rather be in – and why?

Fish in the harbour, by Chris Hill

Or this one?

Seagull and pigeons, by Chris Hill

And yes, ‘neither’ is an option!  But if you choose the third option, do say why and what might work for you instead.  

And no, this isn’t a trick question.

 Look forward to your comments.  They will contribute to a post I’m writing…..

This entry was posted in American character, British/English character, connections, organisational life, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

24 Responses to Fish or fowl?

  1. Viv says:

    Think I’ll be a rock instead.

  2. Karin says:

    Not helpful, Viv! You didn’t say why……………….I was counting on you!

  3. Karin says:

    No pressure intended and as it happens, I did think of that reference – maybe that will reappear as these ideas develop….Thanks – there’s already something there!
    Hoping you are well.

  4. Elephant Bill says:

    You have the Sky and the Sea – but no Earth Option.

    • Wow, Michael, you are more metaphysical than I would have thought. Guess that’s why you have a new identity! There is also no Fire option. Please feel free to add one or more – but reasons will also be helpful.
      I heard someone on the radio today who reminded me of you.
      Hope all is well.

  5. Elephant Bill says:

    Taurians are earth signs.

  6. Elephant Bill says:

    I mispelled it to see if you would be sophisticated enough to repeat rather than correct my error.

    Which part of America did you say you were from ?

    • Karin says:

      Now Michael, I thought we had an agreement about editorial control! I was merely acting in good faith.

      But thanks for the reference to Elephant Bill – I like the Amazon precis, and I can definitely use it as part of my data collection exercise:

      ‘A book comes along like this once in a lifetime. You read it as a small child, or even as a adult, and never forget the images it conjures up, of a wonderful Englishman who lives in the mysterious forests of faraway Burma and of the kind native people who teach him about their lovely country. But most of all, you never forget the elephants! For this is a story about those magnificent creatures. Though he was officially known as Lt. Colonel J.H. Williams, the author was known to the world at large as “Elephant Bill”. That is because he spent 25 years living with the elephants in the mountains and forests of Burma. There he trained them to haul teak logs out of the isolated jungles.
      Yet this is also a story of great courage because when the Second World War struck, it also came to Burma. The Japanese Imperial Army planned to confiscate the Burmese elephants, drafting them to make the bridges and railways they needed to invade India. When he learned of these plans to put his beloved animals to a war-like purpose, Elephant Bill knew what had to be done. The mighty kings of the jungle had to be evacuated to safety.
      “Elephant Bill” is thus the story not only of the peaceful days in the jungle, starting in 1921, but also the story of the largest elephant rescue in history. It tells the amazing account of how Elephant Bill, along with his friends and family, rode 45 of the great beasts across the mountains of Burma, before reaching safety in faraway India.A classic then. A classic now. “Elephant Bill” is a blessing to any library and a literary treasure. ‘

      From El Capitan in Yosemite Park, to Elephant Bill in Burma – and all in a small Northamptonshire village! A kind of Schindler’s Ark of the animal kingdom.

  7. Elephant Bill says:

    The Elephant was the national symbol of Gambia where I grew up.

    • Karin says:

      I had not perceived a national identity issue.

      You learn something new every day – and I just learned, amongst other things, that the Gambian significance of elephants (bearers of good fortune as well as sharp intellect) is similar to the Hindu where Ganesh, the elephant god, is said to bring health, wealth and good fortune. I have a small statue with me as I type.

      So you would rather be a lone elephant or in a herd? If a herd, what is it about herd behaviour that appeals?

    • Stephen says:

      Of colonial origin! Well I didn’t know that. I’d like to hear about your early years in Africa and how it has shaped your life, hopefully when we next meet.

  8. Karin says:

    Hi Amanda, you didn’t say why but I understand!
    Thanks for commenting.

  9. Stephen says:

    It was the seagull that made the difference. I shall always think of the book Jonathon Livingstone Seagull ( which came out in the early 1970s and encapsulated the hippie thinking of the period. I still have a side of me that loves the notion of freedom, experimentation and living outside the rules however the wisdom of the years and the yoke of repression/responsibility/maturity have taken their toll so that I’m sometimes fearful of leaving the house without a wallet full of credit cards and a carefully thought out plan in my head.
    Of course it’s easier to move through air than water (less resistance) and therefore one can fly faster than one can swim but speed is just relative. Factually and functionally there’s not a great deal of difference between living in either air or water. Perhaps being a dragonfly might be the answer where one spends several years living at the bottom of a pond predating on beetles then emerge by climbing up a reed stem to become a wonderful flying machine.

    • Karin says:

      Hi Steve
      Yes, I remember Jonathan Livingston Seagull – I guess growing up in LA at the time of publication in hippiedom gave me a natural distaste for that book! And strangely, it was an aesthetic response more than anything because I remember it being produced very cheaply, a book that did not sit well in the hands.
      Your comments are interesting. Speed and resistance are new parameters – thanks for those. And dragonflies – I do like those. They seem to travel individually or in a loose arrangement of a pair or trio, don’t they?

  10. Frances Burge says:

    I would like to say both because the idea of experiencing the world through the senses and the bodies of other animal species has always fascinated me. If I could choose a fish it would be a Manta Ray – moving my majestic fins slowly and languidly throught the vast waters of the oceans in the company of dozens of my kind synchronising our beautiful, mysterious life dance only for the other creatures of the deep. If I could choose a bird it would be a wandering albatross. I would soar high and free above the world forever suspended in the glory of the sun and the wonder of life – Icarus with no cruel ending. And if I had to choose one it would have to be the bird as I’ve wanted to fly (with my own wings) for as long as I can remember. And I still sometimes have dreams where I can fly and it always leaves me feeling at almost perfect peace on first waking – no Freudian interpretations thank you!

    • Karin says:

      Hi Fran
      What a lovely surprise to see you here! I find your comment very evocative – both worlds come to life so strongly through the creatures you choose and the experiences you describe. I do feel more drawn to your wandering albatross – I think it’s the combination of ‘wandering’, ‘soaring’ and ‘freedom’, themes that Steve also touched on with his seagull. Somehow an albatross is so much more romantic (with its many allusions, some poetic) than a seagull! And also a lot heavier, at least psychologically.
      Thank you for sharing all of this – beautifully written. It’s also given me another insight.
      Hope all is well,

      • Stephen says:

        Now I’m hurt 😉 I thought all creatures were equal but now it seems some are more equal than others, it was ever thus.
        I too loved the descrition of the Manta Rays. It reminded me of a visit to the Montery Aquarium in California where they have Bat Rays in a tank where you can touch them. Their wings are so elegant and balletic, making the swimming process look effortless, almost bird like. Having said that I think I’ll stick with my humble seagull that is willing to push the boundaries of its very existence and is prepared to risk its own life to go faster. The bravery of the pioneering spirit should live within us all.

      • Karin says:

        I did think I was being a little hard on the seagull who I guess doesn’t normally have too high a status in the pecking order – not sure of relative status with pigeons.
        I like your attempt to merge or meld the two species, Steve – the ultimate third option! I was reading an article yesterday that suggested substituting the reductionist thinking of ‘either/or’ with the expansionist thinking of ‘either/and’.
        I particularly like your comments about ‘the bravery of the pioneering spirit’ – I’m glad you came back to expand your thoughts.

  11. Chris says:

    I certainly wouldn’t want to be a fish, no snuggling up warm anywhere.

    A bird possibly – but ideally a majestic bird of prey. Living on my own wits and skill and swooping down on my dinner.

    Next best a dog or a cat in a household like ours where everything I needed was supplied and I was loved and cared for 24/7 but basically did what I wanted all day with no duties or responsibilities.

    But the best of all is to be a human even in our uncertain world.

  12. Donald Scott says:

    As we can’t know with any degree of certainty exactly what anything else actually feels, we humans have to extrapolate, imagine and hypothesize to make up for this inadequacy–that’s what contributes to our humanity–having to imagine. I can make no claims as to what’s really going on inside the heads of our Black Rock hens as they peck around outside the kitchen window as I write.

    I too have read Bion and agree that there are always more than two people in a room when they meet. Karin, if you find him hard work try Marleau-Ponty’s classic ‘The Phenomenology of Perception’ to exit the Richter scale of verbosity without meaning.
    Maybe our hens get him better!

  13. Karin says:

    Hello Donald, many thanks for your comment. I like the sound of your hens and hope you and they are enjoying the fine weather we’re having here.

    I agree, imagination is a core part of our humanity. As for the relationship being the third party in the room, the other night I attended a lecture by Murray Stein (Jungian analyst from US) on ‘ the transcendent function’ where he talks about ‘the space between’ being the third party in the (particularly analytic) relationship. At the time it all made sense, but a lot has happened already/since, so now when I look at my notes, I wonder if I ever knew what he meant! (other than in the most general/abstract way) I think I had best leave Marleau-Ponty for the moment, I remember coming to a similar decision many years ago when I may have dipped into something he wrote.

    Still on the same topic and noting that you are an osteopath, I also remember a yoga teacher talking about the tripartite relationship between the teacher, student and the tradition. That also made and continues to make a lot of sense to me – and I have lots of questions about it.

    Thanks for stimulating more and further open-ended thoughts,


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