Christmas Reflections 2012

Written by  //  December 25, 2012  //  Nicholson musings and messages, Reports  //  Comments Off on Christmas Reflections 2012



In this period of celebration for so many cultures, we offer some random thoughts on connectivity, knowledge and understanding.


Christmas and Connectivity

The delicate tracery of the Rose Window reminds us that life in all its forms is based on connectivity – a modern word, but an ancient concept, as old as the first grunted exchanges between our long-ago ancestors.

One of the delights of this season is the reminder that we are connected to so many friends around the world, who enrich our lives, support our endeavours and, when encouraged, enhance our understanding and enjoyment of life.

Appropriately, connectivity — defined in a somewhat circular fashion as the quality or condition of being connected or connective – is most often applied to telecommunications, the source of so much of our ability to connect not only with individuals around the world, but to centers of knowledge not previously available to a broad segment of the world’s population.

Connectivity implies support – networks can’t exist without the ability to connect –and also sharing, as impulses leap from one circuit to another.

And God said, Let there be light: and there was light

In western parlance, suppliers of electricity are referred to as power companies. Light – like knowledge – is power. It is noteworthy that the device that transfers electrical energy from one circuit to another is a transformer. As knowledge spreads among human beings, they are transformed.

In the dark days of the northern hemisphere’s winter solstice and its accompanying celebrations we are reminded of how much of our culture and vocabulary revolves around the concept of light and darkness.

Light is a precious and magical resource. Whether in the form of brilliant sunshine that sets each frozen crystal on fire following a snowstorm, the mellow glow of an old fashioned lamppost, the discreet circle that envelops a work space in a darkened office, the charm of a candlelit setting, or the brazen hydro-defying decorations that envelop some of our neighborhoods.

Light is a resource; and a powerful symbol. The Enlightenment followed the Dark Ages, a triumph of knowledge over ignorance.

In what appear to be increasingly dark days of geopolitical events, we refer to the light at the end of the tunnel. Is that light a symbol of emerging from travails to a brighter future, or is there a sense of transition from ignorance to knowledge to enlightenment? Or both?

Which brings us to information – as opposed to knowledge – which travels at the speed of light (pretty much) through the marvels of the ether and Internet. Its vast range and rapid distribution may be viewed as a good or an ill. As 2012 comes to a close and we reflect on the events of the year, we can reasonably pose the question: we have more information than ever, but are we better informed? Are we able to analyse and think more profoundly, or clearly? Does more information equate more informed knowledge? Only if our new ability to rapidly connect and exchange with others around the globe enables us to share knowledge and apply rigorous analysis to random factoids.

Furthermore, perspective is everything. As we absorb opinions, we need to comprehend the perspectives of others and be willing to adapt our own accordingly.

On the 11th of December, some of us witnessed the last of this year’s eclipses of the moon. It was touted as a particularly spectacular one, provided the viewer was west of the North American west coast, as the moon would appear to be very large and of a deep reddish tone.

It is comforting to know that some of nature’s displays remain brilliant and non-intrusive, as more often recently they have been spectacular and violent – a reflection perhaps of the darker side of human nature that has also been on display. Neither is a new phenomenon, but we are more aware today.

Fortunately, we only view that dark nature from afar. We consider ourselves blessed, and are deeply thankful for our vast network of friends that girdles the globe and spans a number of generations. Through you, we have acquired knowledge, insight, perspective, thus arriving at a number of truths. We have enjoyed rich debates, moments of quiet empathy, shared sadness and hearty laughter. Our sense of connectivity is rich.

We have lost some precious friends this year, including Knut Hammarskjold, Eric McConachie,  Wednesday Night’s OWN much-loved Central Banker, Jacques Clément , Erik Wang and Diana’s godson, Kirby Brackstone, taken suddenly, at the age of 43 –  far too soon. They will join our other Absent Friends to continue their friendly debate  at the Wednesday Night in the sky.

We have also gained some new friends, highly diverse and interesting individuals of all ages  who have brought us new perspectives, wisdom and often laughter.

And to our joy, some very dear friends of long-standing (we now avoid the word ‘old’) have renewed contact and confirmed that with true friends, the conversation picks up where it left off, whether a day, a year or ten  years ago.

To all, heartfelt thanks for your friendship that continues to be a valued source of light, knowledge and support; we wish you and yours the happiest of holidays, whether celebrating Christmas, Hannukah, Eid Ul-Adha, Bohdi Day or another festival of your choice, and a New Year filled with blessings and only good challenges.


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