Small is beautiful

For too long humans have been violently at odds with self-balancing nature, and we grow sick because of it.

The sparrow-hawk was dead before it hit the ground. In its tunnel-vision, terrain-skimming pursuit of prey it had crossed the path of breakneck, bludgeoning humanity. It had been swatted by a truck and lay like a stone on the verge. I cupped it in my hand - a juvenile, yellow-iris male I think – that still had the steel in its half-closed eyebeam; a warrior, as a Ted Hughes poem keenly summed, blue shoulder-cloak wrapped about him, weighing just seven ounces. Its Jurassic feet of shocking turmeric yellow, of clinical finesse and power, tipped with curling razor black talons, were as perfect as the counter-shaded bars on its chest. What a terrible waste.

At our wilderness farm, beyond the olive grove, there are the spooky shadows of the pine copse on the gentle sloping terrace above the corral. It is a place of whispers, corridors and half light, not so dense, nor too open, the fitting place to bury the sparrow-hawk. This is where these birds prey, breathe, strike, belong. On my looping route in and out of the wood, across boar and deer trails, I passed two scatterings of feathers, hawk kills, one of a pigeon, the other a blackbird.

The small, beautiful raptor evoked in me a powerful sense of the force and supreme evolution of that other world we rarely see and decreasingly sense: a lesson of life from the parallel universe inhabited by creatures who live in balance and who have the power to shake us humans from our ludicrous dream that we know and understand, are wise and supreme.

For too long humans have been violently at odds with self-balancing nature, and we grow sick because of it. The small sparrow-hawk was symbolic for me. How unnatural we have become - arrogant, superior, expending irreplaceable resources as if they are income when they are not, setting unsustainable materialistic and economic goals that fundamentally erode our capacity for logic, contentment, fraternity, security, fulfilment and happiness.

Please, please, PLEASE can Catalonia's constitution and advancement shake the world – with an iron commitment to biologically-sound protections and re-growth of the essential kind, to non-violent, sustainable technology and fulfilling work not jobs, reversing the relentless, endemic estrangement from reality. Such environmental economics will demand extraordinary intelligence and courage to counter the potency and structures of depressing materialism, to foster the logical priorities our sixth sense, our natural instinct, tells us.

Human nature is increasingly outraged by obscene wealth and gross poverty , the weapons industry and endless wars, the dire environmental deprivation and the feeling that time is running out.

I truly believe Catalonia can be a catalyst for fundamental change, for such is the inherent nature of this small nation and its people.

“Small is beautiful”. Dr E F Schumacher's 43-year-old “Study of Economics as if People Mattered”, is more current than ever, and the new generation of leaders and economists have to absorb it. Maybe you have read it and know how Schumacher somehow predicted the current human malaise. You may also recall this passage:

“A man driven by greed or envy loses the power to see things as they really are, of seeing things in their roundness and wholeness, and his very successes become failures. If whole societies become infected by these vices, they may indeed achieve astonishing things but they become increasingly incapable of solving the most elementary problems of everyday existence.”

But it is not just about leaders and economists. It is about us. Read Schumacher.

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