This has been a week of small pleasures at the same time as rather bigger things happen elsewhere. (Photos from the Belfast Botanic Garden walks and rose garden.)
Is it just indulgent to enjoy small pleasures? The news this morning is again of Syria and war. But, this time, almost unbelievably, UK parliament has voted AGAINST taking military action (many reports this is from the Telegraph).
Hurray Hurray Hurray – quietly hurray – as the dreadful events and destruction of ordinary lives in Syria still happens. However, as Confucius says “The cautious seldom err”. Before accusations of appeasement and politics emerge as if that was the same as ‘caution’ remember that Confucius also said many other things such as “It does not matter how slowly you go so long as you do not stop”. Without the military so-called solutions, there is room for the doggedness of efforts small and large, to talk, to hear, to offer humanitarian help. I hope that we will hear thoughts from Russia, China and Iran, as well as other places, and I mean thoughts, not just grumbles about them and their apparent intransigence. I have no sense in this conflict of supporting/not supporting any particular regime or rebel, I only have a sense that individual people, children and families, need time to get their lives together and time for their own small pleasures.
Another bit in the news, not so major to the newscasters, has been some research results saying that poverty is likely to reduce people’s capacity to make good decisions (many reports like this one). This is an important result. It backs a wider common sense compassion that of course it would – because as Maslow put it, there is a hierarchy of need. If need, for home or food or rest, is too great, then other things are just not there (things like cognitive thinking process, long term consequences, even belief and values concerns… just no room for them). I think this would apply in Syria too, as it has applied in Afghanistan and Iraq, and Chechnya, and Sudan and and and and… Please let our leaders, and much of our media, act more wisely to recognise how much damage poverty does to all, the poor and the rich, but more dreadfully to those who do not have what they need.
Back to small pleasures of the week – that they matter is not small. I met Speccy and girl1 and girl2. I walked around the Ulster Museum, and the long walks in the Belfast Botanic Gardens. I went with Sister1 to Mount Stewart. I went with Sister 2 to The Titanic Belfast Experience. ( I am middle sister). I have been ‘doing’ the stuff of Belfast and The Ards. A lovely week.
It is not indulgent to enjoy pleasures. It is necessary, so I can think, and, as Confucius advises, do not stop. I want our leaders and representatives to remember that everyone matters and realise at last that militant war gives no-one human rights. the needful fight is much more complicated than that.