A Tale of Two Lawns
Aristotle Made Me Not Do It
On my morning walk today I found myself stopping and staring at two lawns, and it made me think of Aristotle. (Please stifle your barbed witticisms, I already know I’m odd.) The two lawns were side-by-side — one was your conventional, vigorously clipped piece of grass, its neighbour had been allowed to go completely wild, and was a tangle of dandelions, grasses gone to seed, various healthy weeds and the occasional wild flower and leftover random tulip. The wild lawn was rather off putting at first glance — a rather uncomfortable piece of almost raw nature amidst suburbia’s almost invariable carpet-like symmetry.
Aristotle says somewhere that the mark of an educated person is the ability to examine an idea, perception or experience without dismissing it or embracing it, holding it in a kind of mental suspension, as if you had picked up an unfamiliar object and turned it sideways and upside down in no great hurry to label it. So I pondered, trying hard to channel my inner Aristotle and came to the conclusion that the jungle-like tangle was actually quite aesthetically pleasing and certainly more interesting if you gave your prejudices the order to idle in neutral for a while. Perhaps this mental discipline would be useful for things other than lawn-gazing — say improving civil discourse? What do you think? My wife thinks it is a nefarious plot to get out of cutting the lawn. “But dear, Aristotle says …………….!”