The Highest Wisdom by Lewis Watling

Yet once again the air-waves are agog, s.m.s.’s high-jacked and normal conversation occluded.

Another swimmer has been killed in False Bay, taken by a Great White shark

And almost everyone is hooked into the drama.

Why is it that a human death as victim of a creature of another species, or, as in the case of the

baboons, inconvenienced by invasion of house or garden, results in such an outcry?

All manner of safeguards are promoted, and unlimited expenditure advocated to provide protection.

Meanwhile, the worst killer of all, the human being, continues to kill daily whether it be with knife,

gun, bomb or motor vehicle.

When shall we be subject to effective control?

And where are the clamorous voices to question our own death-dealing behaviours?

Maybe we are being reminded that:

Great White Shark image from National Geographic via Google ImagesTo follow the Tao

Is to honour its principles,

To realise

That we live in nature

But cannot ever own it;

We can guide and serve,

But never dominate,

This is the highest wisdom.

(Tao 51)

For more about Scenic South poet Lewis Watling see

We are exploring what it is about shark attacks that evokes such strong reactions and emotions. According to reports 40 people a day are killed on South African roads. Why is it that we have become inured to these daily tragedies, as gruesome and terrifying and saddening  as a shark attack, yet an attack by one of these great predators causes world-wide media attention and a fear of swimming in the sea. Is a primordial fear of sharks embedded in our psyches and if so, why? We would love to hear your comments.

See also

See also: