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Opportunism - Life emerges where there is the opportunity

This week I have been revisiting the idea about opportunism I wrote about in the last blog. To be clear, I don’t mean opportunism in a selfish, egocentric way – as the word ordinarily suggests. Rather, that life emerges where there is the opportunity for life to emerge.

We all learned about food (or energy) pyramids at school – how creatures higher up the pyramid depended on the creatures lower down for their existence…


We depend on so many pre-existing factors for life to emerge in particular ways in particular places.


Settlements form alongside water sources…




Whether these sources are navigational – that the goods we buy and sell can be supplied up and down the river and to the sea…




Or communities on the coastline – good conditions for harbour and port, fisheries to feed the community...


Where there’s water, there’s life…



As here the River Nile brings life to the desert.


Creatures emerge if there are the conditions to support them…




E.g. the pine hawk moth lays its eggs on pine needles, the common oak moth on oak trees. It follows if there are no pine trees in a place then no pine hawks will emerge; no oak trees in a place then no oak moths will emerge.


Art forms emerge if there are the conditions to support them…




E.g. a theatre, an audience, funding, teachers, the script itself… The conditions have to be in place for the play to take place. Beneath those conditions, more generally peace and security in the land.


We hitch a ride on pre-existing currents like birds gliding on the wind…





E.g. wheat is an example of a wind pollinated plant. The wheat depends on the wind for pollination.


I think humans do this too. We get swept up in collective movements. My grandfather was a farmer after the Second World War when Britain was encouraging farmers and agriculture through policy and subsidy. And my generation is waking up the importance of mental health, and as a psychotherapist on the one hand and a trainer on the other, I am in my own little way, swept up in that.


Can you help me out here? Does this idea make sense? If so are there other examples that come to mind?

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