No Man is an Island

“No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main.If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less,as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of they friends`s or of thine own were. Any man`s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind.And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.”

John Donne wrote these words  a few hundred years ago, and now we hear them as some part of our shared history. How often have you heard quoted ‘never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.?  I have been pondering the fascinating subject of shared histories, and the collective unconscious, that seems to touch us all.  Our present lives are as shaped by the experiences of ancestors we never knew, never even knew of. Our current thinking, and established practices are so often based on what has preceded us.  As this has been in my mind for some time, I was fascinated to come across a brief presentation on the internet , explaining how neural science is establishing new knowledge about the brain sharing understanding beyond personal experience.  Our ability to have empathy was borne by the magical introduction of these new neural pathways thatdeveloped in the human brain about 150,ooo years ago. It is why you cringe when you see blood spurting from another persons jugular, (at least , I hope you do.) here’s the talk, so have a peek! So now we KNOW how right John Donne was, when he told us that ‘no man is an island’.

The beautiful painting I have posted is ‘Portrait of a man’ by Antonella de Messina



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