A Swarm of Misconceptions?

Gazing out across open water to the horizon, where the sun is setting, the idea that there is a place where the Earth touches the sky is easy to accept. It’s right there in plain view. A crisp, clear line where water ends and sky begins. But we know better. That intersection between the edge of the ocean and the beginning of the firmament is not a definitive point of separation. Instead, it is a vague entanglement between dimensions. So, too, is every certainty in every circumstance.

Absolutes are imaginary. That is true of everything from flavors to colors to facts to love to pain to truth. Even truth. Truth is contextual. And facts. That horrid woman, Kellyanne Conway, was right. Alternative facts do exist, but not in the way she suggested. Her assertion equated alternative facts with bald-faced lied. Despite her claim, alternative facts are not lies corruptly presented as truth by unscrupulous liars. They are reality viewed from a different angle, unsullied by lies or deception. Consider how an ant appears to the unassisted human eye compared to a view of the same ant with an electron microscope; same creature, vastly different appearances. Both are real. A detailed written description of each image might be absolutely representative of reality, but vastly different.

What is the meaning of this, if there is any meaning? Only a reminder that perspective colors reality. And reality is illusory. We know nothing. We think we know, but our knowledge amounts to only an interpretation of what we perceive. And our perceptions may differ, depending on context. That is one reason politics is so messy and confusing. Another reason is that politics is laced with lies built not on perception but on greed and the hunger for power. But that’s going a little off-course. Not much, but a little.


My hand hasn’t fully healed, but it feels much better than it did a couple of days ago. I’m afraid, though, that the recovery is apt to be temporary; I hope my fear is simply an overly pessimistic perspective.


Until this morning, when I looked out my window to see rather large number of squirrels darting up and down trees and speeding across the forest floor, I had never considered the collective noun for squirrels. According to livescience.com, the proper phrase to describe the group is a scurry or a dray. Based on this morning’s whirlwind of the beasts almost covering the ground, I call the group around my house a swarm. Let’s see, which sounds more pleasing to the ear:

  • A scurry of squirrels
  • A dray of squirrels
  • A swarm of squirrels

I believe mine wins; it is a fur piece ahead of the competition. The groan I just heard was in my own head, a groan reserved for especially bad puns.


About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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2 Responses to A Swarm of Misconceptions?

  1. I like it, Warren!

  2. Warren Searls says:

    Did you not see squirrels scurrying about as a scurry of squirrels would do? Perhaps it was swarm of flying squirrels that had landed in your backyard.

    I agree perception is reality, the basis of successful politicians who are themselves rather squirrelly. Perhaps a “nervous” of squirrels would be fitting.

    As for the Trumpites, I believe them to be a bunch of swarmy obscurantists which a swarm of squirrels should scurry about devouring them along with all the other nuts. Who knows that might inspire Hans Richeit to draw a sequel to the Squirrel Machine.


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