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The circle in the swirl

[ by Charles Cameron — the one prediction that never fails to amaze is “surprise”! ]


There are two great paeans to diversity that my mind constantly recurs to: the Svalbard global seed vault, with its more than 750,000 distinct varieties of seed deposited in “black boxes” by various national genebanks — and the Jesuit Gerard Manley Hopkins‘ great poem, Pied Beauty:

GLORY be to God for dappled things—
For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;
For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches’ wings;
Landscape plotted and pieced—fold, fallow, and plough;
And áll trádes, their gear and tackle and trim.

All things counter, original, spare, strange;
Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)
With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change:
Praise him.

The world is fundamentally dappled: look where you will, you will find general rules — and unexpected exceptions. The whole Syrian opposition business is dappled, it’s a mixed bag, it’s subtle.

I dunno, maybe this can be my motto: keep it subtle, stupid.


Seen from another angle… variety is, as they say, the spice of life.

Or as the Qur’an puts it (49:13):

O mankind, We have created you male and female, and appointed you races and tribes, that you may know one another. Surely the noblest among you in the sight of God is the most godfearing of you. God is All-knowing, All-aware.

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