We the Citizens
By HUGH & COLLEEN GANTZER
The Covid Lockdown has not been all negative. It has given us more time to think, analyse and take varying perspectives on events.
To start with we find new relevance in the old Gaia Theory. Briefly, the Gaia Theory contends that the earth and its living creatures including its billions of microscopic life forms are a unique selfprotective organism. A simpler way of describing it is that the earth acts like a living creature and it protects itself. In other words, when it found that the human species was endangering the planet, it created Covid to curtail the cancerous growth of Homo Sapiens.
On the face of it this seems to be an outlandishly bizarre theory. But then viruses are equally weird. Yes we are told that viruses are biological programmes that can exist as virtually indestructible crystals till they encounter a living host. They invade it, take over its cell reproductive system, and start producing millions of their own forms till they kill their hosts. Even more than James Bond, they are programmed to kill. So are these things the Executioners of the natural world? And if they are, then who or what summoned them here, and why?
Then there is another curious thought. Why must Gaia use such a relentless entity as a virus to restore the balance of nature? Aren’t there more human ways? Or is the Internet coupled with an international language, an Interlingua, not capable of handling a wasteworld economy hell-bent on selfdestructive overdrive?
A bullet-train is great, but a high-speed recycling industry to turn disease-breeding mountains of garbage into wealth would have been greater!
To tap the hidden knowledge-banks of the world, Gaia needed two things: : (i) a language so flexible that it encountered during their trade and marauding missions. There is even a fascinating legend that the English Underground station of Elephant and Castle was a mispronunciation of a British monarch’s foreign spouse who had the title of the Infanta da Castille! morphed whenever it encountered another tongue, and (ii) a means of communication which catapulted this language over frontiers disregarding oceans, mountains, walls and indignant frontier guards. It got the second when Internet blossomed all across the world leaving dictators gasping for breath. The first ingredient, the flexible globe-spanning tongue, had been slowing developing for centuries
The language that should rightly be referred to as Interlingua, probably started as Anglish, the language of the blonde and blue-eyed Angles. They soon merged, in history, with the invading Saxons from Germany, Saxony to create the Anglo-Saxons. The counties of Essex, Wessex, Sussex and Middlesex indicate the spread of these Germanic people. There were also invasions by the Romans, Normans from Normandy and Vikings in their Longboats. When the Brits sing “Britons never, never, never will be slaves” it is clearly a case of national amnesia.
All these conquerors left traces of their languages, and even quirky spellings, on English. The “kn” in knife, knee and knight probably came from the Scandinavians. But why did the British not change the odd spellings? Probably because they were too busy surviving in their tiny crowded islands. Eventually their teeming isles compelled them to migrate. They became, as Napoleon put it, “A nation of Shopkeepers!” Unlike the French, the Brits had no hang ups about maintaining the so-called purity of their language. If they did not have an English word for anything, they pilfered the word. The Tamil manga became the English mango, Jodhpurs remained unchanged, others underwent changes of both meaning and pronunciation. The Brits did that to all languages they encountered during their trade and marauding missions. There is even a fascinating legend that the English Underground station of Elephant and Castle was a mispronunciation of a British monarch’s foreign spouse who had the title of the Infanta da Castille!
Gaia has begun her global survival practices and Internet and Interlingua will help us adapt to them. Gaia works through the mass of our planet’s life forms, and that includes us as well as the rapidly evolving viruses.
A thought has just struck us. Last night we saw the downfall of Sri Lanka’s PM and President. Imran Khan had gone so had the rulers of Afghanistan and the Big D. If these are all part of Gaia’s planetary re-adjustment plan then, obviously , Gaia does not like dictators. But then Gaia could be a myth. So could losing an election as Mr. Trump proclaimed as he flew into the sunset!
(Hugh & Colleen Gantzer hold the National Lifetime Achievement Award for Tourism among other National and International awards. Their credits include over 52 halfhour documentaries on national TV under their joint names, 26 published books in 6 genres, and over 1,500 firstperson articles, about every Indian state, UT and 34 other countries. Hugh was a Commander in the Indian Navy and the Judge Advocate, Southern Naval Command. Colleen is the only travel writer who was a member of the Travel Agents Association of India.)