Brian’s Reflection: Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Home life is no more natural to us
than a cage is natural to a cockatoo.
George Bernard Shaw
By “home life”, I assume that Shaw means being around other people, which is only intensified by such things as family, spouses, close friends.
I think he has something here. If he is saying that human beings are essentially unique, solitary beings, I think I agree. I don’t think that Shaw is just being cynical.
Think about “Adam and Eve”. Adam was at first alone. On the whole I think he was doing just fine! Sounds idyllic to me, from my own rather “monastic” temperament! Craving, and getting, Eve as a companion really made a mess of things.
But the story remember is teleological: it is an attempt to “explain” something “backwards”, as it were. In this case, it is trying to have a go at explaining why human relationships are so messy! We may indeed be solitary beings, but we in fact live in relationship – with other humans, or animals, or the land, whatever. It seems that “home life” is a given, on some level.
“Natural” is not the normal living state of human beings. “Unnatural” is. Being “human”, like it or not, is the product of our uniquenesses rubbing up against each other.
The secret is learning how to make “home life” enhance us, not diminish us. Such is the art of Life.