the Gryphon - Issue 4

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t h e<br />

G R Y P H O N<br />

<strong>Issue</strong> N o 04<br />

What makes<br />

us human?

“What a piece of work is a man!<br />

How noble in reason!<br />

How infinite in faculty!<br />

In form and moving<br />

how express and admirable!<br />

In action how like an angel!<br />

In apprehension how like a god!”<br />

HAMLET (2.2.295-302)<br />


Welcome<br />

<strong>Issue</strong> N o 04<br />

2022/23<br />

Welcome to <strong>the</strong> latest edition<br />

of our chapbook, <strong>the</strong> <strong>Gryphon</strong>,<br />

in which our pupils, past and<br />

present, and staff consider <strong>the</strong><br />

essence of human existence.<br />

2<br />


Our ability to make people smile, realise<br />

opportunities and our potential and <strong>the</strong> power<br />

to care and forgive.<br />

4<br />


Our Sixth Form students share <strong>the</strong>ir ideas about<br />

what <strong>the</strong> essence of humanity means to <strong>the</strong>m.<br />

At Embley every child is unique<br />

and deserves <strong>the</strong> recognition<br />

of that as <strong>the</strong>y grow. We help<br />

<strong>the</strong>m achieve <strong>the</strong>ir ambitions,<br />

encourage belief in oneself while<br />

being mindful that <strong>the</strong> greatest<br />

happiness is achieved by being<br />

compassionate to o<strong>the</strong>rs.<br />

Embley Park, Romsey,<br />

Hampshire SO51 6ZE<br />

Main switchboard:<br />

+44 (0) 1794 512206<br />

Email: info@embley.org.uk<br />

www.embley.org.uk<br />

6<br />


Our life is a journey of highs and lows, successes<br />

and failures which define us as individuals.<br />

8<br />


A former Embley Head Girl describes how school<br />

has shaped her into <strong>the</strong> person she is today.<br />

10<br />


Humans are <strong>the</strong> only beings capable of<br />

changing <strong>the</strong> world to be a better place for all,<br />

writes one student.<br />

12<br />

Carbon balanced print is produced by a carbon<br />

balanced printer on carbon balanced paper.<br />

This edition of <strong>the</strong> <strong>Gryphon</strong>:<br />

73kg of carbon balanced & 51m 2 of land protected.<br />


Connection is central to our survival,<br />

our sense of well-being, our sense of self.<br />


Comedy.<br />

Courage.<br />

Compassion.<br />

The question we pose in this issue of <strong>the</strong> <strong>Gryphon</strong><br />

is ground well-trodden, writes Headmaster, Cliff<br />

Canning. It invites us to consider what is unique to a<br />

species that shares large portions of DNA with o<strong>the</strong>r<br />

sentient life and o<strong>the</strong>r carbon-based compounds.<br />


t h e<br />

G R Y P H O N<br />

will begin by looking at <strong>the</strong> question<br />

I from <strong>the</strong> point of view of understanding<br />

our capacities. What makes us human is<br />

our capacity for humour, something <strong>the</strong><br />

ancients understood very well. Aristotle<br />

wrote one book of Poetics on tragedy and<br />

<strong>the</strong> dramatic arts but two on Comedy, both<br />

sadly lost. Umberto Eco’s The Name of <strong>the</strong><br />

Rose describes an imaginative, if disturbing,<br />

search for an attempt to hide this work.<br />

Comedy fascinates me; <strong>the</strong>re is an essential<br />

conviviality with comedy. The ability to<br />

sing and perform touches audiences, but<br />

<strong>the</strong> ability to make diverse people laugh<br />

and <strong>the</strong> infectious nature of laughter<br />

brings people toge<strong>the</strong>r. Humans are social<br />

creatures, and <strong>the</strong> glue that binds this is<br />

laughter. It is unlikely that folk will ga<strong>the</strong>r<br />

for an evening to have a good cry, but much<br />

more likely <strong>the</strong>y do so to entertain and be<br />

entertained, to laugh toge<strong>the</strong>r.<br />

If <strong>the</strong> capacity for comedy makes us human<br />

and in so doing brings us toge<strong>the</strong>r, <strong>the</strong>re is a<br />

capacity that makes us human which stands<br />

us apart. The capacity for courage. Life has<br />

recently thrown a number of difficulties<br />

our way, but that is what life does. I am<br />

concerned very often at what I see as <strong>the</strong><br />

over amplification of anxiety free living.<br />

Why? Because it doesn’t exist. Anxiety and<br />

worry are part of our experience, to avoid<br />

<strong>the</strong>m is to intoxicate ourselves with a<br />

rejection of what is essential to humanity.<br />

Instead, <strong>the</strong> courage ‘to be’ makes us<br />

human. It is Hamlet’s cry from <strong>the</strong> heart, in<br />

taking up arms against a sea of troubles, we<br />

end <strong>the</strong>m. Not necessarily because <strong>the</strong>y are<br />

imagined; nor that we resolve <strong>the</strong>m; but that<br />

in embracing <strong>the</strong>m we engage ourselves in<br />

<strong>the</strong> process of becoming, of realising our<br />

potential. There are no problems, just<br />

opportunities for solutions.<br />

Too glib? Certainly. And trite, but not<br />

necessarily untrue. There are many<br />

moments where I stand back in bewildered<br />

awe at children who talk with me and<br />

au<strong>the</strong>ntically face <strong>the</strong>ir fears, who open up<br />

about what is going on and resolve to do<br />

something about it, who carry on sailing<br />

through <strong>the</strong>ir school day while frantically<br />

working to keep <strong>the</strong> ship afloat; it is a mark<br />

of <strong>the</strong>ir individuality, <strong>the</strong>ir ‘becoming’ -<br />

<strong>the</strong>ir humanity. The courage to say no, I’m<br />

not doing that, or yes, it was me. Apologising<br />

and taking <strong>the</strong> consequence without excuse<br />

or evasion; that courage stands us apart as<br />

individuals and makes us human.<br />

Of course, <strong>the</strong> corollary of stepping up and<br />

having <strong>the</strong> courage to take responsibility<br />

without hiding behind o<strong>the</strong>rs calls for<br />

<strong>the</strong> last of my three capacities making<br />

us human: compassion. The capacity we<br />

have and have seen to forgive those who<br />

wrong us may be <strong>the</strong> most profound of <strong>the</strong><br />

capacities that make us human. We have<br />

seen an outpouring of compassion realised<br />

in tangible form as we rallied round<br />

international need. This was immediate<br />

and overwhelming, quite literally so as we<br />

were inundated with clothing and supplies<br />

for refugees. But it is <strong>the</strong> quieter and more<br />

personal opportunity for compassion<br />

that most reveals our nature. There are<br />

daily instances of compassion across <strong>the</strong><br />

Prep playground and <strong>the</strong> playing fields of<br />

<strong>the</strong> Senior School. Moments of heartfelt<br />

compassion expressed in Wordsworthian<br />

little nameless acts of kindness and of love.<br />

Doubtless this <strong>Gryphon</strong> will provoke your<br />

own thoughts and reflections, but whe<strong>the</strong>r<br />

it is comedy, courage or compassion…<br />

what a piece of work is humanity.<br />

E: headmaster@embley.org.uk<br />


Penny for your<br />

thoughts<br />

“The essence of being human is that one does<br />

not seek perfection,” said <strong>the</strong> novelist and<br />

journalist George Orwell.<br />


t h e<br />

G R Y P H O N<br />

But is that all that makes us human? What<br />

about Science, religion or feelings? Can<br />

we narrow down <strong>the</strong> essence of humanity<br />

at all, or is being human merely an idea? We<br />

asked some of our Sixth Form students <strong>the</strong>ir<br />

thoughts on <strong>the</strong> topic.<br />

Liza: What makes us human is <strong>the</strong> things we<br />

feel: pain, disappointment, happiness, love.<br />

You can’t think through it with logic, but<br />

we feel it. For example, an animal can feel,<br />

but <strong>the</strong>ir emotions are based on instinct.<br />

They may kill because <strong>the</strong>y want food or<br />

feel threatened; <strong>the</strong>ir emotional range and<br />

reasoning is far less broad than that of a<br />

human. They love you because you are nice to<br />

<strong>the</strong>m – but only a human can love not because<br />

of something, but against it.<br />

Phoebe: Sometimes people approach things<br />

too scientifically and think what we are made<br />

of biologically is <strong>the</strong> sum of our parts. I don’t<br />

think it’s as simple as saying ‘we are humans’.<br />

It’s a social construct. People think that<br />

because we are human it gives us superiority.<br />

Tom: What makes us human is how we act.<br />

We all behave differently, and we are unique.<br />

Each person is raised in a family that moulds<br />

<strong>the</strong>m into who <strong>the</strong>y are, no two people are <strong>the</strong><br />

same.<br />

Nathan: I think bad emotions make us<br />

human, like greed. We’ve all made bad<br />

decisions. For example, I’m not aware of any<br />

animal that takes <strong>the</strong>ir own life because<br />

<strong>the</strong>y’ve done something bad. Humans have<br />

<strong>the</strong> capacity for evil, and <strong>the</strong> capacity to know<br />

that what <strong>the</strong>y are doing is evil.<br />

Faith: I’m going to go down a religious route<br />

which I know some people don’t agree with. In<br />

Noah’s Ark, God sent <strong>the</strong> floods to restart <strong>the</strong><br />

world, because humanity had reached a low<br />

point giving in to greed and sin and <strong>the</strong> world<br />

had become total chaos. He decided to start<br />

over and take <strong>the</strong> good man and his family<br />

and <strong>the</strong> innocent animals. All <strong>the</strong> bad things<br />

are what God is saying humans shouldn’t be.<br />

Nathan: But in <strong>the</strong> Bible it says ‘God created<br />

humans but gave <strong>the</strong>m free will.’ He let Adam<br />

eat <strong>the</strong> apple along with Eve, so with <strong>the</strong>m<br />

being greedy it makes <strong>the</strong>m human. And<br />

when God saw Adam and Eve naked, <strong>the</strong>y felt<br />

embarrassed - those are human emotions. So<br />

free will and <strong>the</strong> mistakes that come along<br />

with it - our imperfections - make us human.<br />

Phoebe: I think it is difficult, as humans, to<br />

describe what humanity really means. We<br />

don’t have access to any o<strong>the</strong>r opinions apart<br />

from humans because we can’t ask animals<br />

what <strong>the</strong>y think of us. As humans we are<br />

driven by external situations - humanity is<br />

an experience.<br />

Liza: Humans are <strong>the</strong> only creature that<br />

can lie. We only see <strong>the</strong> side of people that<br />

<strong>the</strong>y show us - we’re unique because we can<br />

control ourselves and make choices, and we<br />

can listen to our hearts.<br />

Faith: We have <strong>the</strong> cognitive ability to<br />

question why we are here. We all have a<br />

belief - for me it is God, for o<strong>the</strong>rs it may be<br />

Science - but our beliefs make us human.<br />

Animals don’t question <strong>the</strong>ir existence, <strong>the</strong>y<br />

just exist.<br />

Phoebe: I find it interesting that when<br />

people make a mistake <strong>the</strong>y say ‘But I’m<br />

only human’ which implies that we are<br />

weak. Maybe imperfection is what makes us<br />

human, having <strong>the</strong> capacity to be evil - even<br />

if you are not - differentiates us as humans.<br />

The conversation ended in agreement that<br />

humans are neutral but have capacity to<br />

decide to do extreme good or extreme bad,<br />

unlike <strong>the</strong>ir animal counterparts. As for<br />

<strong>the</strong> question ‘What makes us human?’ <strong>the</strong><br />

conversation never reached a conclusion,<br />

so perhaps it is uncertainty, free-will and<br />

<strong>the</strong> ability to ask questions that makes us<br />

human after all.<br />

E:????????????????????<br />


Journey<br />

of life<br />


t h e<br />

G R Y P H O N<br />

What makes us human?<br />

It’s a question that has been asked by all cultures<br />

for millennia, and an enormously complex one<br />

that is in many ways almost impossible to answer,<br />

writes Prep teacher Mike Gibb.<br />

Psychology would argue what makes us<br />

human is our individuality. We are all<br />

shaped by our experiences and influenced<br />

by our surroundings, with each circumstance<br />

creating a new perceptive. Biology would<br />

suggest it is <strong>the</strong> unique features of <strong>the</strong> human<br />

body which mark us apart from o<strong>the</strong>r living<br />

beings. The larynx, shoulders, our hands<br />

with opposable thumbs, naked, hairless skin,<br />

standing upright and bipedalism, our blushing<br />

response and, most significantly, <strong>the</strong> human<br />

brain and our minds with <strong>the</strong>ir imagination,<br />

creativity and forethought. Sociologists see<br />

our social interactions and ability to develop<br />

civilisations as something distinctly human.<br />

The knowledge of our own mortality has also<br />

spurred humans on to great achievements, to<br />

making <strong>the</strong> most out of <strong>the</strong> lives <strong>the</strong>y have. We<br />

are unique amongst animals in understanding<br />

our lifecycle and ultimate mortality. Some<br />

social psychologists maintain that without <strong>the</strong><br />

knowledge of death, <strong>the</strong> birth of civilisation<br />

and <strong>the</strong> accomplishments it has spawned might<br />

never have occurred.<br />

I believe that it is living our daily lives that<br />

makes us human. Being able to process our<br />

experiences, learning constantly and developing<br />

our personalities and future behaviours. The<br />

privilege of working in a school is getting to see<br />

young lives grow and develop as well as having<br />

<strong>the</strong> opportunity to shape <strong>the</strong> experiences that<br />

will have a profound effect on <strong>the</strong>ir lives. Embley<br />

offers a hugely diverse range of activities, each<br />

of which has <strong>the</strong> prospect of having a profound<br />

effect on young people. It is taking <strong>the</strong>se<br />

opportunities and absorbing <strong>the</strong>se experiences<br />

which makes us human. Animals can learn from<br />

<strong>the</strong>ir experiences, but only humans can take<br />

those encounters and use <strong>the</strong>m to develop <strong>the</strong>ir<br />

intelligence, character and personality. Our<br />

humanity is defined by <strong>the</strong>se experiences.<br />

As complex, interesting, ingenious, curious,<br />

compassionate, creative and, at times,<br />

baffling human beings are, <strong>the</strong>re is a beautiful<br />

simplicity to our lives. We are all on a journey<br />

which will have highs and lows, successes and<br />

failures, but ultimately it is that journey which<br />

defines us as individuals, as human beings.<br />

What makes us human? It is living a life rich<br />

with experiences, emotions, hopes and dreams.<br />

To feel fully human, we must make <strong>the</strong> most<br />

of all life has to offer. It is apt to finish with an<br />

often-quoted truism which is a good guide for<br />

us all: carpe diem – seize <strong>the</strong> day!<br />

E: mike.gibb@embley.org.uk<br />


Thinking<br />

BIG<br />

I left Embley Sixth Form two years ago after<br />

five years at <strong>the</strong> school, writes former Head Girl<br />

Megan, and while I think it is a cliché to<br />

say that <strong>the</strong> school shaped me as a person,<br />

I will tell you what I am up to now.<br />


t h e<br />

G R Y P H O N<br />

am currently studying History & Politics<br />

I at <strong>the</strong> University of Southampton.<br />

Although I did not study Politics at<br />

Embley, I was fortunate enough to host an<br />

afternoon with Caroline Nokes, Minister for<br />

Immigration at <strong>the</strong> time and MP for Romsey<br />

and Southampton North. Hearing her speak<br />

about <strong>the</strong> challenges of being a female MP,<br />

but also of <strong>the</strong> incredible work she was doing<br />

and how she was able to shape lives, sparked<br />

my interest in Politics and<br />

resulted in me studying it at<br />

degree level.<br />

Shortly after leaving school,<br />

I started volunteering with<br />

Portsmouth City Council,<br />

working one-to-one with<br />

young people in <strong>the</strong> foster<br />

system. I have mentored<br />

a 13-year-old boy and<br />

currently a 10-year-old girl.<br />

Volunteering has led to<br />

me to start a new job that I<br />

am very passionate about.<br />

I am a support worker in<br />

residential homes for people<br />

in care. I work with young<br />

people aged four to 25 as<br />

well as families who need<br />

extra support in residential<br />

settings, making a difference by teaching<br />

<strong>the</strong>m life skills and helping <strong>the</strong>m make <strong>the</strong><br />

next steps into life after care.<br />

If you were to ask me five years ago what I<br />

wanted to do, I doubt I would have said this,<br />

but my school taught me how valuable it is<br />

to have someone in your corner. I may not<br />

have been <strong>the</strong> easiest student, a perfectionist<br />

with no confidence, but <strong>the</strong> staff were always<br />

I may not have been<br />

<strong>the</strong> easiest student,<br />

a perfectionist with<br />

no confidence, but<br />

<strong>the</strong> staff were always<br />

<strong>the</strong>re knowing when<br />

to support and when<br />

to push me, and now<br />

I get to do <strong>the</strong> same<br />

for some of <strong>the</strong> most<br />

vulnerable young<br />

people.<br />

<strong>the</strong>re knowing when to support and when to<br />

push me, and now I get to do <strong>the</strong> same for<br />

some of <strong>the</strong> most vulnerable young people.<br />

My school gave me confidence in myself<br />

and my abilities. In January of Year 12, I<br />

petitioned <strong>the</strong> Headmaster that I wanted<br />

to start a feminist club. By <strong>the</strong> October, I<br />

was hosting a Diversity & Inclusion Student<br />

Conference with seven speakers, including<br />

a representative from UN Women and<br />

a double amputee veteran<br />

from Making Generation R.<br />

Students attended workshops<br />

on disability, race, religion,<br />

<strong>the</strong> refugee crisis and gender<br />

equality and <strong>the</strong>y played<br />

games in wheelchairs to<br />

discover how difficult it is<br />

to do things <strong>the</strong>y take for<br />

granted. Now while I may<br />

have bitten off more than I<br />

could chew, it did teach me<br />

that I am capable of far more<br />

than I can imagine.<br />

I was lucky enough (if you<br />

could say that) to spend a lot<br />

of time with my Headmaster<br />

in my role as Head Girl,<br />

and despite me calling him<br />

silly for his huge, arguably<br />

unrealistic visions, I have followed in<br />

his footsteps of thinking big. During<br />

<strong>the</strong> pandemic I travelled to Costa Rica to<br />

volunteer with marine conservation, and<br />

this Summer I will be going to Central<br />

America for two months to volunteer and<br />

travel solo.<br />

This is how Embley shaped me, how did<br />

school shape you?<br />


OUR<br />


TO MAKE<br />


Considering <strong>the</strong> achievements of mankind<br />

from <strong>the</strong> beginning of time, I cannot help<br />

thinking that <strong>the</strong> answer to <strong>the</strong> question<br />

‘What makes us human?’ still eludes us,<br />

writes Senior School student Suvariya.<br />

There is no simple answer to what makes<br />

us <strong>the</strong> people we are today, without<br />

raising more questions. Is it our culture? Our<br />

environment? Our motivations? Our very<br />

nature?<br />

As a species, we are continually exploring <strong>the</strong><br />

complexities of our own neurology and <strong>the</strong><br />

mechanics of our human bodies. We learn<br />

more every day about <strong>the</strong> amazing ways in<br />

which we exist, under both favourable and<br />

adverse conditions. Human life, both as a<br />

biological and a social phenomenon, is a<br />

tricky subject, as our individuality is one of<br />

<strong>the</strong> biggest parts of who we are.<br />

Perhaps we should first define human nature.<br />

The obvious starting point is to look at our<br />

ancestry; where did we come from? What is<br />

<strong>the</strong> evolutionary <strong>the</strong>ory of humankind?<br />

Evolutionary biology and scientific evidence<br />

tells us that humans evolved from ape-like<br />

ancestors, called hominids, more than six<br />

million years ago in Africa. What separates<br />

us from animals, though, is <strong>the</strong> size of<br />

our brains. Our minds allow us to weigh<br />

decisions and potential outcomes against<br />

each o<strong>the</strong>r and decide for ourselves <strong>the</strong> most<br />

desirable option.<br />

Thomas Suddendorf, Professor of Psychology<br />

at <strong>the</strong> University of Queensland, suggests<br />

that our ability to foresee potential outcomes<br />

is key: ‘one of <strong>the</strong> key characteristics that<br />

makes us human appears to be that we can<br />

think about alternative futures and make<br />

deliberate choices accordingly.’ As humans,<br />

we have been making decisions since <strong>the</strong><br />

beginning; perhaps this is what separates us<br />

from o<strong>the</strong>r creatures in <strong>the</strong> world.<br />


t h e<br />

G R Y P H O N<br />

Although this is true, we are not simply<br />

rational calculating machines, we are so<br />

much more. We are at <strong>the</strong> top of <strong>the</strong> food<br />

chain: intelligent, capable of speech, creative<br />

thought and complex communication.<br />

Perhaps <strong>the</strong>re are a number of things which<br />

make us human.<br />

Facing <strong>the</strong> possibility of challenge within<br />

our lifetime, we may speculate about what<br />

might be our next evolutionary step. Some<br />

people say that Artificial Intelligence is<br />

going to change <strong>the</strong> world more quickly<br />

than we realise; o<strong>the</strong>rs suggest that we will<br />

integrate digital technology into ourselves,<br />

ra<strong>the</strong>r than holding it in our hands.<br />

At a time when supercomputers like IBM’s<br />

Watson are being developed and we risk<br />

robots taking over our jobs, it might be<br />

relevant to define what makes us human<br />

now more than ever, before we become<br />

subsumed into <strong>the</strong> digital world.<br />

It is perhaps time to look again at how we<br />

have evolved. My initial reference to ape-like<br />

creatures, suggests how far we have come,<br />

to become thinkers, capable of abstract<br />

reasoning. This ability to apply logical<br />

principles is probably <strong>the</strong> most important<br />

thing which distinguishes us from animals,<br />

whose acts are based solely on instincts and<br />

impulses.<br />

For me, being human means that I have a<br />

choice, about what I want to do, how I want<br />

to live and <strong>the</strong> many things that I will need<br />

to do in order to survive and thrive. The<br />

characteristics that make humans different<br />

from every o<strong>the</strong>r living thing on Earth, is our<br />

strong will to live, choose and continuously<br />

adapt, change, hope and love. In short,<br />

humans are <strong>the</strong> only beings capable of<br />

changing <strong>the</strong> world to be a better and more<br />

positive place for all.<br />


NO MAN IS<br />


“No man is an island entire of itself;<br />

every man is a piece of <strong>the</strong> continent,<br />

a part of <strong>the</strong> main… any man’s death<br />

diminishes me, because I am involved in<br />

mankind. And <strong>the</strong>refore never send to know<br />

for whom <strong>the</strong> bell tolls; it tolls for <strong>the</strong>e.”<br />

JOHN DONNE 1624<br />


t h e<br />

G R Y P H O N<br />

As a <strong>the</strong>rapist, writes Kate Rodgers,<br />

Embley’s school counsellor, <strong>the</strong><br />

importance of connection with <strong>the</strong> ‘o<strong>the</strong>r’,<br />

<strong>the</strong> quality and depth of our <strong>the</strong>rapeutic<br />

relationship, is fundamental. Positive<br />

connections with o<strong>the</strong>rs mean that we feel<br />

seen, understood, and valued. We matter, we<br />

belong, we exist.<br />

Connection to o<strong>the</strong>rs is crucial. Infants<br />

flourish under our attention - <strong>the</strong>y look<br />

for eye contact, smiles, holding, and talking<br />

from us, and <strong>the</strong>y respond accordingly.<br />

Ancient people didn’t survive as lone beings<br />

and <strong>the</strong>re is recent evidence of intimate<br />

interactions between human subspecies<br />

scientists never thought possible.*<br />

Paradoxically, we recently endured<br />

extraordinary disconnection from loved<br />

ones, friends and school to ensure survival.<br />

The pandemic has resulted in increasing<br />

rates of anxiety, eating disorders, body<br />

dysmorphia, and loneliness - especially<br />

within young people across <strong>the</strong> country.<br />

How much of this could be a response to<br />

prolonged, profound disconnection on<br />

several different levels?<br />

Alongside <strong>the</strong> pandemic, <strong>the</strong>re appears to be<br />

a growing sense of disconnection in several<br />

areas:<br />

Mind and body - With <strong>the</strong> rise in<br />

dissatisfaction with body image, we view our<br />

physical body as a separate entity - an object<br />

that needs altering to fit ‘social norms’.<br />

To nature - There is such disconnection that<br />

we are destroying our planet. Psychologists<br />

use <strong>the</strong> term ‘nature deficit disorder’ to<br />

explain challenging behaviours in young<br />

people living in inner cities.<br />

Electronics - We see people being ‘toge<strong>the</strong>r’<br />

but connected to screens, not physically with<br />

each o<strong>the</strong>r. How does this affect our sense of<br />

connection or disconnection to o<strong>the</strong>rs, <strong>the</strong><br />

world, ourselves, our bodies?<br />

During <strong>the</strong> pandemic we adapted, virtual<br />

connection was vital. I continued to support<br />

<strong>the</strong> children online but our discussions<br />

often lacked <strong>the</strong> deep sense of connection<br />

and inimitable experience of physically<br />

being present with ano<strong>the</strong>r human being.<br />

However, we’ve been reminded of o<strong>the</strong>r<br />

connections. All humanity was attacked by<br />

an uncontrollable virus. Connected through<br />

our vulnerability and mortality, it was, and<br />

is, a globally traumatic event. It doesn’t<br />

matter who, or where you are - this will have<br />

touched your life – and we can all empathise.<br />

All humans experience emotion. Our<br />

experiences are unique, but <strong>the</strong>re remains<br />

agreement of ‘base’ emotions: fear, love, joy,<br />

anger, disgust. When we recognise <strong>the</strong>m in<br />

o<strong>the</strong>rs we deeply connect through empathy,<br />

understanding and kindness. These very<br />

human experiences unite us. Knowing we<br />

are not alone is reassuring. Humans rally<br />

toge<strong>the</strong>r when things get challenging. We<br />

are reminded of <strong>the</strong> value connection brings.<br />

We adapted, and now have an opportunity<br />

to re-evaluate and form more meaningful<br />

connections. Connection is central to our<br />

survival, our sense of well-being, our sense<br />

of self. Make time to re-connect to yourself,<br />

your body, loved ones, community, <strong>the</strong> earth<br />

- you will feel <strong>the</strong> benefits. No man is an<br />

island.<br />

*For more on this, I can highly recommend<br />

reading The World Before Us by Tom Higham.<br />

E:kate.rodgers@embley.org.uk<br />


Embley Park, Romsey, Hampshire SO51 6ZE<br />

Main switchboard: +44 (0) 1794 512206<br />

Email: info@embley.org.uk<br />


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