A Gerbil in the nattersphere
“Winning your gerbil’s trust is accomplished through patience, gentleness, and positive reinforcement. Be very careful not to frighten your gerbil when interacting with it; fright can cause your gerbil to bite”¹
I mean really, why blog? Or for that matter, why not blog? Does it matter either way? Am I not simply one more natterer in an overcrowded nattersphere? Clamouring for attention from other natterers, anxiously checking stats as if my life depended on it? Sometimes I imagine the blogshere as a planet-sized bag filled with squeaking gerbils, and there am I squeaking away in their midst. Aspiring to be a bigger squeaker, a gerbil-ozymandias soon forgotten in a desert of squeaks. Does our squeaking matter? Why should it endure? Why squeak at all? Far more talented squeakers have squeaked, and hardly have they squeaked when other gerbils scramble to take their place on the wheel. My turn! My turn!
Picture our noisy little planet, hurtling through the vast and silent reaches of space. All the chatter and natter, that doesn’t matter. And of course we’re all supposed to be frantically connecting with one another, scurrying to our gerbil-wheel. My turn! My turn! Perhaps it is better thus, and my curmudgeonly misanthropy is a far worse state of affairs than the the jumbled gerbilliness of everything. Have fun on the whizzing wheel, as the author of Ecclesiastes might have put it, for it doesn’t matter either way and our fate remains the same (vanity of vanities, every thing is chasing after the wind etc.) Does the Trappist monk (I think here of Thomas Merton) or the Buddhist monk (I think of those anonymous orange-robed men in Tibet) represent something better, or is theirs but an alternative gerbiliness? Whatever spins your wheel I guess.
“There are many things in an environment that can contribute to aggressive behaviour, such as overcrowding or threatened territory. An animal reacts to a direct threat to the safety of themselves, their offspring or sometimes, their mate, with a “fight or flight” response. A threatened gerbil will often first respond with a loud squeak.”²
I guess I am just uncomfortable in my gerbiliness right now, and blogging seems to exacerbate the disquiet.
And yet as one blogger said, the will to communicate is a part of what makes us human. Or is that gerbil?.
“Gerbils display symptoms of stress in ways similar to other mammals. .. (they) can become irritable and more aggressive, or they can become depressed and less active. Stress can have serious health and/or psychological effects. It is always a good idea to make an effort to determine what the stressor is (there may be more than one), and then correct.”³