The Intersection of Fear and Surprise, and Birds and Bees

The role of fear in the human landscape is a frequently visited theme on this blog, particularly as it functions as a predator or parasite in our lives; and more particularly how it is we stand in relationship to fear and our emotions as informational intelligence and environmental allies.

Where Tasty Morsels Fear to Tread is a new post up by Olivia Judson at the New York Times. It is a very interesting post incorporating thoughts on ‘the landscape of fear’ and predation and prey and their role in natural ecosystems.

It is also a great post on the interconnectivity of life, something we humans often experience in surprising ways. That relationships are the language of life too often seems beyond the comprehension of our modern minds, shaped as they are by our drive to herd toward conformity. And what is the role of fear in that?

Here, Olivia quotes from Darwin in a beautiful illustration of Life’s interconnectivity (Note that his humble-bee is our bumblebee):

I have very little doubt, that if the whole genus of humble-bees became extinct or very rare in England, the heartsease and red clover would become very rare, or wholly disappear. The number of humble-bees in any district depends in a great degree on the number of field-mice, which destroy their combs and nests; and Mr H. Newman, who has long attended to the habits of humble-bees believes that ‘more than two-thirds of them are thus destroyed all over England.’ Now the number of mice is largely dependent, as every one knows, on the number of cats…Hence it is quite credible that the presence of a feline animal in large numbers in a district might determine, through the intervention first of mice and then of bees, the frequency of certain flowers in that district!

Thanks to our friend at The Golden State blog for alerting us to this recommended article.

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