Love as violence

R.D. Laing was an unconventional psychologist. One of the thing’s he talked about was ‘love as violence’.

That is what we do to our children. Because we want what’s best for them, we go beyond simply loving them. We equip them to survive in the world. To us it looks like love.

Looked at from another side, it’s actually damage. One instance he gave concerned Indian beggars. India was a very poor country. Millions were starving to death.

So, when a beggar had a child, she had to consider how it would survive. Because nearly everyone in India lived in poverty, no one gave money to beggars. Not unless they had a seriously good reason to beg.

An obvious, and major, disability that prevented them working. Otherwise, they’d definitely starve. That was the world of the beggar.

So, if a child was born without a deformity, it was a serious problem. If you really loved your child, you gave them what they needed to survive. A withered arm or leg, a crushed foot, or blindness. That way they should be able to make a living as a beggar.

This is love as violence. How the world appears depends on where we see it from. Because that’s the only world we know. R.D.Laing said that, in the West, we do the same thing to our children. But we do it mentally.

We couldn’t see a healthy, fully-formed mind as a possibility. No more than the Indian beggars could recognise a healthy, full-formed body.

In their world, they see a deformed body as suited to survival. In our world, we see a deformed mind as suited to survival. So we train and shape our children from the moment they’re born.

We send them to schools to learn to do everything exactly as we did. Exactly as everyone else does. We break and shape that fully-formed, healthy mind until it fits our preconception.

Until it’s suited to survive. We commit love as violence just as the beggar does.

This is R.D.laing’s view of what we do to our children. And yet what choice do we have? We can’t know any world outside what we know.

So what do we do? I don’t have the answer.

But I do have the question. And that’s a good start point. To do what we think is right, while being able to hold the possibility that it may be wrong.

Not to go on auto-pilot. Not to knee-jerk into the fastest possible answer. But to constantly be in the enquiry.

Aristotle said: “It is the mark of the educated mind that it can entertain a thought without accepting it.”

Now for most people that’s a big jump. To be confident enough to say, “I haven’t made my mind up yet.” We are taught that uncertainty is weakness. We have to have an instant answer at all times. One side is right, the other is wrong. But doesn’t this just show an inability to think?

Alfred North Whitehead said, “The problem with the world is that the ignorant are arrogant and cocksure, while the intelligent are full of doubt.”

Instant certainty is often just football-supporter mentality. “Our team’s great. Your team’s shit.” Ignoring any evidence to the contrary is a matter of pride.

Unthinking allegiance proves you’re a true supporter. Why is that something to aspire to?

Where an ability to entertain more than one thought is seen as weakness?
 
Jeremy Sinclair’s favourite quote is from Socrates. “The more I know, the more I know I know nothing.”

Personally, my favourite quote is from Lao Tzu.

“The wise man knows he doesn’t know. The fool doesn’t know he doesn’t know.”

Having immediate certainty on any problem doesn’t prove someone has an open mind. In fact it proves the opposite. It proves they approach every problem with an open mouth.

  • Grilla Login

    Hey Dave

    ‘Go to work stoopid’ is a good dictum.

    Some of us have no choice in the matter. Still, stoopidity has its compensations: low expectations from others for one. They don’t see you coming, is another… my own personal favorite.

    [P.S. Was the Sinclair fella chewing a malodorous monster of a cigar when he said it?]

  • http://www.Ruttledge.com SEAN RUTTLEDGE

    Epic

    Thanks Dave

  • http://www.bobashwood.com Bob Ashwood

    Dave, This creates an entertaining quandary for me. In your recent post on ‘art schools Vs unis’ I commented, “It’s good to argue against your own train of thought. Rebel against your own manifesto. Otherwise, you can become a little smug and play at being a ‘creative’ surrounded by other ‘creative’ people. I get a buzz out of being totally wrong about something.” I learn from that. I learn something about me and others. So now, via your reference to Lao Tzu, I’m thinking am I wrong to think I am wise, or am I right to think I’m the fool? If I think I’m the fool, then maybe I’m actually wising up to not knowing I’m not knowing.

  • Dave Trott

    Hi Bob,
    There’s a story of a guy seeking enlightenment, who went to see a zen master.
    He started telling the zen master everything he;d read and everything he’d studied.
    The zen master began pouring tea.
    The guy carried on about the meditations he’d done, the various schools he tried.
    The tea overflowed the cup, the master carried on pouring.
    Eventually the guy shouted, “Stop you can’t pour tea into that cup, it’s full.”
    The master said, “Your mind is like this cup. It is too full to accept any more.”
    I think all we have to do is create space for new stuff to come in.
    Keep chucking out pre-formed idea.
    Come off broadcast and go on receive.

  • Grilla Login

    Dave, Budgerigar’s have a saying;
    ‘If at first you don’t suck seed, it will remain hard and difficult to swallow.’ Perhaps in the Greek Philo’s and Zen Master’s humans are looking to the wrong place for their wisdom.

  • Kevin Gordon

    Cor Dave,

    This one’s a tough call for me. It took me back to a very uncomfortable place.
    Sitting in a 4×4 in Jeddah going to a meeting. A small kid comes up to the car and begs money whilst stopped at the traffic lights. As I rummage through my pockets a fellow employee from that part of the world says to me: “Don’t give him anything. You see he only has one arm. It’s been chopped off by a gang. They steal illegitimate children, chop a limb off, and get them to beg on the streets for them, and if they don’t deliver they beat them up”.

    There is no right or wrong answer.

    If you give them money, you’re propogating the illegal trade, if you don’t give them the money they get beaten-up if they don’t go home with enough, and that money is channelled into bringing more kids illegally into the country to have their limbs forcibly removed to make more money for these awful people. My only way of dealing with this was if we went out to a restaurant, I’d get a takeaway or a tin of drink and carefully hand it to the kids without anyone noticing because I knew this would directly benefit them.

    I learnt later, the one armed infant, has a one-armed 10 year old corporal, who has a one-legged, 16 year old colonel to report to. It’s organised crime, and the Saudis are doing all they can to stamp it out. What I would have loved to have done would have been to take them in the car and get them the hell out of the place, but you can’t do that in Saudi Arabia. Visitors are not allowed to engage in such a way.
    You are the observer, you are the cameraman, and woe betide anyone who steps over that line. It’s easy to see these things through the lens of a camera televised from afar. It’s not so nice to see social injustice face to face because it confirms just how powerless we are over our own principles and ethics.

    Having said this, they have a wonderful thing in Islam called Zakat, whereupon every year, all companies give 4% of their income to the poor, and it is distributed evenly among the poor. We always hear terrible things about Islam in this country, but it is not all bad. I met some truly wonderful loving spiritual people out there whose hospitality and charitable works are second to one.

    For westerners it’s a real journey into uncertainty I’d recommend to anyone.

  • John W.

    To reach a conclusion indicates you’ve stopped thinking.

  • Dave Trott

    One of my favourites John.
    That’s Edward de Bono.

  • Kevin Gordon

    Hi John,

    That’s what annoyed me so much about the tutors in my Psychology studies:

    They were always reaching pre-determined conclusions, demanding empirical evidence, encarcerating your thinking in reinforced concrete and burying it at the bottom of the sea as a pillar to build learning based on flawed thinking.
    Then, they would cover their back sides by adding the caveat:
    “Of course this raises more questions than answers.. ”

    Argh!

    A fellow student from the RAF gave me this quote at summerschool which I love:

    HTFQITFA “Half the effing question is the effing answer.”

  • Dave Trott

    Hi Kevin,
    I was sitting in a Buddhist lecture one evening many years ago.
    The speaker was taking questions, but he wouldn’t answer immediately.
    He’d sit for a few minutes and let it sink it.
    And he’d think about it.
    Then he’d formulate a response.
    Very unsettling in a world where we equate speed with intelligence.
    One of his responses stayed with me ever since.
    After a silence he said to the person who put the query, “The answer asks the question.”
    I often think of that.

  • Thomas Heginbotham

    Interesting post Dave.
    Once upon a time you blogged about advertising!

    Your recommendation that “do what we think is right, while being able to hold the possibility that it may be wrong” sounds about right.

    There’s a book I’m reading at the moment (Philosophy and Social Hope – Richard Rorty) which deals with this sort of pragmatic outlook. He maps out the philosophical landscape after the influence of Neitzsche and Dewey and sketches a understanding of ‘truth’ based on usefulness – rather than a Cartesian ‘representation of reality’, or Kantian ‘correspondence to the thing in itself’. Though it touches on cultural/moral relativism, his is far from an ‘anything goes’ postmodern philosophy. Definitely worth a read – it even tackles our beloved Whitehead ‘footnotes’ quote in the intro.

    I’ve not managed to cull any sentence-long sound bites from it yet, but here’s a more substantial taste:

    “To see the employment of words, statements and beliefs as the use of tools to deal with the environment, rather than as an attempt to represent the intrinsic nature of that environment, is to repudiate the question of whether human minds are in touch with reality – the question asked by the epistemological sceptic… On this view, to say that a belief is, as far as we know, true, is to say that no alternative belief is, as far as we know, a better habit of acting.”

  • Thomas Heginbotham

    Oh and Bob, I see what you mean about the paradox. It’s like saying…

    ‘I know for certain that I’m open minded, and nothing’s going to convince me otherwise.’

  • Grilla Login

    Dave, hope you’re in receptive mode as some brave soul has posted a comment underneath ‘Subaru ‘MY2010 Legacy’ by Chick Smith Trott’

  • http://www.bobashwood.com Bob Ashwood

    Thomas, I’ll settle for the paradox over the paradigm any day.

    Life – the beautiful risk.

  • Kevin Gordon

    Thanks for that Dave,

    Your reply has made me stop and think, and stop and think, and stop and think.

    It the answer asks the question,
    then there is no real answer…

    and if there is no real answer,
    then there are no real questions either.

    In reality, that leaves us with nothing,
    which I guess is the key to meditation.

    I don’t know.

    The above is not an answer either,
    it’s just a grid reference of where I am
    at this moment in time,
    and that is all any of us have.

    A series of moments.

  • Dave Trott

    Hi Kevin.
    That’s interesting.
    If there is no answer, then that’s the answer.
    But if that’s the answer, then there is an answer.
    So “there is no answer” can’t be the answer.
    And if the question is the answer, then it can’t be the question.
    And, since you can’t have an answer without a question, that can’t be the answer either.
    So we have a world without questions and answers.
    But that would be an absolute.
    And an absolute would be the answer.
    Which you can’t have in a world of no answers.
    So there can’t be questions and answers.
    And there can’t be no-questions and no-answers.
    Now maybe we’re getting somewhere.

  • John W.

    Our lives are defined by opportunities…even the ones we miss.

  • Thomas Heginbotham

    “Life – the beautiful risk”
    “That’s all any of us have… a series of moments”
    “Our lives are defined by opportunities…even the ones we miss.”

    I’m reminded that this is an advertising blog.
    We’re starting to sound like fortune cookies.

    Dave, Kevin – you might be interested in Lyotard’s work, particularly the concept of ‘paralogy’.

  • http://www.bobashwood.com Bob Ashwood

    If you like reggae music, consider adding Johnny Nash “There are more questions than answers” the lyric goes on to say,”…the more that I find out, the less I know” Thomas, you raise the question “What is advertising if not an ongoing dialogue that can be the most trivial and the most meaningful” Either, advertising at its best is a conversation.

  • http://www.bobashwood.com Bob Ashwood

    On the last line above, I meant to say, either WAY, advertising …etc, etc.

    Also when I say ADDING ..I meant to your ipod. Apologies for tardy proof reading.

  • Kevin Gordon

    Hi Dave,

    I have to thank Thomas for providing the reference:-
    http://users.california.com/~rathbone/paralog2.htm

    I don’t know whether it’s possible to be a Philistine and a Paralogist at the same time,
    but it kind of feels uncomfortably nice… so here goes…

    If an absolute is not the answer,
    what about an unquestionable absolute?
    If it is absolutely unquestionable
    Surely this is paradise,
    as questions are only raised by doubt,
    and answers are only provided to erase doubt.
    The only unqestionable absolute I can think of is blind faith
    but is that just looking for an answer when one is not needed?
    because we are brought up in a world that demands answers?
    because the World has such little unquestionable faith?

    There was a female writer called Suzie at Saatchi.
    She was a Buddhist.
    One day, I told her I had a lot on my mind
    loads of questions bla di bla di bla,
    and answers rummaging around in my brain non-stop.
    She said to me:
    “Meditate, say: “Nam-myoho-renge-kyo”
    and keep repeating it til something happens.
    I looked at her rather strangely
    but I was so attracted by the concept of using something I did not understand,
    I had to try it.
    So I tried it in bed that night and something did happen.
    I drifted into sleep without knowing it.

    I neither had an answer nor a question for that,
    and I still don’t know what “nam-myoho-renge-kyo means,
    and that doesn’t bother me either.

    I don’t know whether that takes us further up the road in this conversation
    or off the edge of a cliff, but somehow it doesn’t matter.
    My daughter has just challenged me with making an apron for her for
    a Halloween Party tomorrow night, and I haven’t a clue what to do.
    She just asked me what I can do while I’m writing this?
    I just laughed out loud and said; “I don’t know.”
    and as you know, that’s the worst thing anyone can tell a teenager!

  • http://www.bobashwood.com Bob Ashwood

    Dave, Kevin, Folks, A handful of people know what I’m about to say. I’m not too concerned to share it further. I’ve a history of dealing with depression. I’m fine most of the time. But, I have a black dog that gnaws at my heals every now and then. I’ve learned to cognitively manage it. You learn a lot about yourself and others in the process. At what was probably my lowest point, I spent time in a moods disorder clinic. Two weeks into the treatment, I had a debate with a psychology post grad who was assigned to assess my mental state via a series of research-based questions. After I’d answered them he said “You see everything as either black or white. There are shades grey too, you know.” I thought about that and said, “According to the list of questions you just asked me that’s the conclusion you’ve been trained/instructed/conditioned to arrive at. What if there were a lot more questions to be asked that enabled me to reveal/discover my grey side?” He told me these questions were designed to reveal the truth about how I’m thinking right now. My response then is pretty much how I feel now. I said, “You haven’t revealed a truth. You’ve come to a conclusion. A judgement. Surely, truth is the absence of judgement?” He gave me a ‘me doctor, you patient’ look and upped my dose of Prozac. I have since placed a lot less importance on finding answers. I value ‘good works’. Which brings me to a humble request to hijack your blog, Dave. I’ve recently been working with an organisation connected to the Paralympic movement. There’s a font that has been designed by Fontsmith that enables visually impaired and people with reading disorders (primarily dyslexia) to read text better. It’s a great idea and every time the font is sold, Mencap get a royalty. Brilliant. Here’s the rub, it is my understanding that the font can only be used in print or as an image-based element online. Not as online text. That doesn’t make sense to me. So here is my question to everyone in the communications industry (via your loyal blog readers) is the font FS Me that much more effective/accessible in enabling greater legibility for the impaired, why isn’t it encrypted/encoded for online use – the medium that is the most accessible of all? I’ve been asking this question and, as yet, I don’t have an answer.

    So forgive the ‘hijack’, but I’ve kept it on the subject of questions and answers with a bit of industry relevance thrown in and it will help some currently disadvantaged people who might find it easier to read your blog and everything else online. IF we as an industry applied enough pressure, raised awareness and got someone to fund its implementation. Microsoft, are you reading FS Me? Thanks Dave.

  • Dave Trott

    Bob,
    That’s a great use of the blog, I’m proud to have it here.
    You might want to doctor the comment a little bit and put it on my other blog:
    http://www.cstadvertising.com
    Plus, if you have a website of your own with this comment expanded into a post. I can put it on twitter too.
    Well done.

  • http://www.bobashwood.com Bob Ashwood

    On behalf of all those people in the care community and those who champion accessibility for those who need it most, thank you. I will follow your advice. I see no reason why we can’t achieve something with this one. Anyone else out there who wants move this forwards, spread the word. Ask the question. Cheers, Dave.

  • Kevin Gordon

    Dear Bob,

    You don’t know how happy I am you “Hii-jacked” the blog. My brain was beginning to hurt, turn to jelly, and meltdown. I think what I got out of Dave pushing me though was that we know nothing really, because as mentioned in one of his other blogs, it’s all opinion, but some of those opinions have helped me to shape other ideas in other ways.
    Sometime’s I’ll write something just like a kid poking someone with a shirtpin at school, just to get a reaction, because that’s the way you get conversation. I’m a bad boy!

    I couldn’t agree more about there being a lot of Psychologists out there who have no experience of the lived experience. I’ve spent 20 years in one particular field which I know more about than some professors, but because the “Decree Niisi” (PhD) is respected more than the lived experience from the powers that be, they choose to ignore the lived experience against statistical analysis, because they want everything cast in stone. They want to categorise everyone into some sort of dictionary definition, wrap them up in a nice parcel, and place them on a shelf to show how clever they are. To me that’s like living life through rose tinted spectacles. It’s all ego.

    Humans are not statistics, and they never will be, because we all behave in an illogical manner. I’ve just joined this mental thing called xtranormal, where you can make your own blog cartoon. Two lads did it to try to snatch £1000 off Gary Lace & Co. so….

    …I nicked the idea (You should be proud of me Dave), and hi-jacked a couple of other characters I’m calling Suity & Suite, as in Suit, and Edit Suite. It’s such a lot of fun. I’ll do one on FS for you Bob, and Bung it on Facebook and You Tube as my contribution to a worthy cause. The first one’s about Alzheimers. My Mum died of it, but so what, humour shouldn’t stop just because someone’s passed away, or had an illness.

    We all deserve a place on our planet. Nobody’s perfect. One guy in my last place told me he was perfect, and that he had no problems. I told him that was the biggest problem of all. It’s fun getting to know everyone a little more. Have a nice day.

  • Dave Trott

    Hi Kevin,
    It always fascinated me that, in a ‘primitive’ society, the medicine man is the one who can actually cure people.
    If his patients don’t get well no one goes to him and he’s not the medicine man.
    In our society the medicine man is the one who’s got a piece of paper saying he’s passed the tests.
    If his patients don’t get well it’s because of an unforeseen complication, an untreatable condition, or something else that isn’t his fault.
    Either way he’s still the medicine man because he passed the tests and has the paper that says so.
    My wife is Chinese, and I was intrigued by their superstitions.
    In the west we aren’t superstitious, because we rely on logic.
    Gradually it occurred to me that that was our superstition.
    Logic.
    What’s most important to us is ‘should’ it work.
    In more ‘primitive’ societies, all they care about is ‘does’ it work.

  • Kevin Gordon

    Hi Dave,

    I know what you mean. My wife is Russian, and a lot of their literature is all about dreaming, waking up in dreams, living dreams, chasing devils in the snow. Sometimes I’ll say to the missus, “What are you doing?” to which I get the reply “I’m dreaming” which may last an hour or even longer ??? @?!*

    What she has taught me is there’s nothing wrong in fantasy. It’s an ability many of us have lost over the years in Western Europe because we often prioritize profit before the idea. So here’s a not-for-profit idea for Bob. Just for a laugh.

    http://www.xtranormal.com/watch/5575013/#

  • Kevin Gordon

    Hi Dave,

    I know what you mean. My wife is Russian, and a lot of their literature is all about dreaming, waking up in dreams, living dreams, chasing devils in the snow. Sometimes I’ll say to the missus, “What are you doing?” to which I get the reply “I’m dreaming” which may last an hour or even longer ??? @?!*

    What she has taught me is there’s nothing wrong in fantasy. It’s an ability many of us have lost over the years in Western Europe because we often prioritize profit before the idea…Unlike Michaelangelo.

    So here’s a not-for-profit ad for Bob. Just for fun.

    http://www.xtranormal.com/watch/5575013/#

  • Kevin Gordon

    Hi Dave,

    What about when something shouldn’t work, but it does?

  • Dave Trott

    Isn’t that called a discovery?
    Like conventional wisdom said the world was flat.
    Now conventional wisdom says it’s round.
    Soon there will be another discovery and conventional wisdom will say something different.
    Apparently, according to the laws of aerodynamics, a bumblebee can’t actually fly.
    Something to do with power-to-weight ratio?

  • http://www.bobashwood.com Bob Ashwood

    Flat Earth stuff. Changing paradigms. Douglas Adams gives us an inkling in Hitchhiker’s Guide.. An alien species from another universe decides to invade Earth. They despatch a heavily armed armada across light years of space. They finally arrive undetected just outside our atmosphere. The order is given and they attack. The entire armada lands in a dog’s bowl and is lapped up without anyone knowing they’d been here.

    We have no real idea of scale. That’s part of humankind’s conceit. One day we may discover the Earth is but an atom in a mega-molecule.
    With that thought in mind, I’m so pleased those guys went to so much trouble to win Robert Campbell’s thousand quid. It puts it all in perspective.

  • Thomas Heginbotham

    “When we say that our ancestors believed, falsely, that the sun went round the earth, and we believe, truly, that the earth goes round the sun, we are saying that we have a better tool than our ancestors did. Our ancestors might rejoin that their tool enabled them to believe in the literal truth of the Christian Scriptures, whereas ours does not. Our reply has to be, that the benefits of modern astronomy and of space travel outweigh the advantages of Christian fundamentalism. The argument between us and our medieval ancestors should not be about which of us has got the universe ‘right’. It should be about the point of holding views about the motion of heavenly bodies, the ends to be achieved by the use of certain tools. Confirming the truth of Scripture is one such aim, space travel is another.” – Richard Rorty

    Sorry to quote at such length, but i figured it was about as relevant a passage as you could hope for.

    It rules out the overly simplistic right/wrong answer distinction and substitutes it for an openly ethnocentric model of truth; one that is quite crucially based on usefulness (as a fully contingent and admittedly subjective notion).
    Whether you agree or not is a different matter!

    PS. Not really up on the whole FS Me thing, but sounds like a noble cause Bob. Good work.

  • Kevin Gordon

    Hmm, Discovery.

    If “the answer is in th question” there are countless possibilities unless we can determine what the question is. So I ask myself, “What is the question?”

    The same question can be asked many ways.
    Here are just two examples:

    1. “What is the question?” (question)

    2. “What, is the question.” (answer)

    Using the same words makes them both part of the same thing
    yet they are poles apart in meaning.

    Going back to some of Dave’s earlier blogs, we discussed the difference between fact and opinion, and the middle ground in a Venn Diagram. Let’s just look at how that translates to top-down, and bottom-up thinking for a moment.

    Lev Vygotsky came up with a theory called ZOPD, Zone Of Proximal Development.
    He explained it as the key to educational and developmental thought.

    Graphic examples of this are Yin and Yang where opposites harmonise.

    An example of this in practical terms is CST’s Food 4 life “Food Chooser” where a healthy food alternatives are offered against unhealthy ones.

    I think, as Thomas mentions, what frustrates me is the reluctance by most Alumni
    in cetain scientific fields to simply discount the spiritual aspect to everything, as if we live in a man-made world, which as Bob points out is the height of human arrogance.
    The more I look at this world, the more I see, the more I love its diverse abundance, the more I realise just how unimportant I am.

  • http://www.bobashwood.com Bob Ashwood

    I know what you mean Kevin. I sometimes observe insects and other wildlife and wonder if they’re looking back at me thinking,”When are you lot going to clear off? This used to be a nice neighbourhood till your kind moved in.”

  • Kevin Gordon

    Here’s an answer from a man with the ticket (PhD)….

    by Doug Craigen, PhD (physics)

    Revision 1.0 – Feb. 9, 1996

    How often have you heard it said either as part of a point being made in a sermon, or in conversation, that science cannot explain how a bumblebee can fly. I’ve lost count of all the times I’ve heard this. Usually it goes something like this:

    And then there’s the case of the bumblebee. According to the greatest minds of science, it cannot fly. Its wings aren’t big enough. Aerodynamics says it is impossible. The biggest computers in the world all come to the same conclusion, it can’t fly. But what does the bumblebee do? It ignores the great minds, the skeptics, the computers… and it just goes ahead and flies.
    A statement of this generic sort is then used as a springboard for one of many moral lessons.

    Aside from the obvious overstatement, the question then is: among those scientists who actually care, those who study the aerodynamics of winged insects, are they able to explain how it is that a bumblebee can fly?

    The first error is the belief that the biggest problem in explaining the flight of the bumblebee is its body weight. Certainly there is a lot of weight for such little wings, but the biggest problem is its static aerodynamic design.

    If you were to take a bird carcass, spread out the wings, and throw it, it would glide for a while and come to rest on the ground some distance away. If you were to do the same with a bumblebee carcass, it would tumble end over end and plummet. The difference is that whereas a bird has a nice static aerodynamic design which allows air to flow easily around it, a bumblebee creates turbulance that flips it around. This is the mystery, how is it that a bumblebee can fly without tumbling?

    The answer lies in the fact that static (still) objects are governed by different stability laws than dynamic (moving) objects. For example, take a bicycle. As a static object it is not stable (like a tricycle would be). Leave a bicycle standing without support and it will fall over. However, a moving (dynamic) bicycle is perfectly stable, and it is easy to explain why with basic physics. The bumblebee is the same, as a static object it is not aerodynamically stable, it cannot glide. But when it is flapping its wings, we’re into a whole new ball game for how air moves around it.

    Maybe all those nice bumblebee sermons could be revised to have nice moral lessons about the need to ‘keep flapping’, lest we go tumbling end over end…. just a thought.

    One question, one of 905,000 possible answers from Google.

  • http://www.3sixty.co.uk Jonathan Waring

    NASA couldn’t work it out either, fortunately nobody told the bumble bee.

    ;-)

  • Jayne Marar

    Dave, wow, thanks for keeping things so very, very interesting :)

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