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Acts of Kindness

The Higher Order Animal

August 2022
— Reading Time: 1 minute

The Higher Order Animal

Part of my ‘maintenance’ work for my manifesto is to interact with our Instagram account followers. Never having been an exponent of social media, this is a new and not altogether enjoyable activity for me. However, it has its moments…

Recently, while randomly sifting through the material in the feed, I encountered a visual post (my apologies, but I didn’t register from whom it was posted, and it has disappeared now). It was of a turtle which had been overturned and was spinning on its shell within the water, hopelessly floundering and unable to right itself.

As I watched – feeling empathic and helpless in turn – it continued to flail its legs, propelling it into a never-ending circle. Then, little by little, into the frame appeared a group of turtles, which formed a ring around their hapless representative. Slowly, slowly they tightened their circle until their shells were touching and they were almost upon the upturned turtle.

As I continued to watch, the edge of a turtle’s shell inched under the shell of their ‘friend’ in extremis and thereby created a solid platform from which it could flip itself upright. I must admit, I watched the whole process several times, absolutely captivated.

The caption contained words to this effect, ‘If turtles are able to help each other in need, then why can’t humans?’ What a simple and quite beautifully affecting message. Why can’t we indeed?

Remind me, who is the higher order animal?

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