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  • Grilled Lobster or a Boiled Telephone?

    When I order a grilled lobster why doesn’t anyone ever just give me a boiled telephone! These are the words of Salvador Dali and it made me think how predictable we are and how much we all conform. The other day I asked for cheese with my baguette in a French café in Sydney and the waitress said: ‘We can only do ham and cheese’. I suggested to just throw the ham away, but she replied that it was not possible, they only did ham and cheese.

    How many ham and cheese ideas do we have in our heads?

    Most ‘well adjusted’ humans have similar values and similar routines. We focus so much on individualism but aren’t we all just seeking the same, aren’t we all just little clones of each other with slightly different circumstances? How many people do you know who you would consider different? How many people would have the ability to give you a boiled telephone when you ordered grilled lobster?

    I was once the Doyenne of the London Air Attaches Association and in that role I organised morning teas and other social events with and for women from many different countries. We had many similarities: we were women, all married to a military person, most of us were mothers and we were living in London away from our family and friends. We dressed slightly differently to each other but time after time it would strike me that the similarities and commonalities far out weighed our differences. In short there is no ‘them’ vs ‘us’ there is only ‘us’.

    We tend to focus on the differences perhaps as a way of defining ourselves as better, right, more sophisticated, more civilised, however the differences are minimal, and who knows, if we had been brought up like the person we are looking at as different; would we not be having very similar experiences to them?

    If you doubt this, just look at how people feel when in love or going through grief or middle age, we may all experience it slightly differently depending on our circumstances but the similarities tend to outweigh the differences.

    The mind likes us to think that we are different and special. What the mind does not experience is that we are special and sacred because we are spiritual beings, however the manifestation of us here on earth is a very shared experience. At times we may shine, some of us may become famous, a few will be remembered but the vast majority of us will not. The eternal part is rarely a result of ‘doing’ but more about how we influenced, to use a cliché; did we leave a better world behind, did we leave the people we touched a little lighter, a little stronger, a little more able to give?

    So don’t worry if you cannot separate ham from cheese or if you have never given anyone a boiled phone rather than a lobster, Dali was only pretending to be different anyway!


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