BY MIKE MAGEE
“EXCLUSIVE: Royal beekeeper has informed the Queen’s bees that the Queen has died and King Charles is their new boss in bizarre tradition dating back centuries. … He placed black ribbons tied into bows on the hives, home to tens of thousands of bees, before informing them that their mistress had died.”
So read John Dingwall’s exclusive in the Daily Mail posted at 03:48 EDT, 10 September 2022. In defense of what might first appear a bizarre practice, others were careful to provide evidence that the practice, of informing fellow natural creatures of important human losses, is well documented in art and literature, such as in “Der Bienenfreund” (“The Bee Friend”), an 1863 painting by the German artist Hans Thoma.
That painting arrived on the scene nine years after the death of German philosopher Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph von Schelling, a stalwart of “German Idealism.” His focus (in part) was on “humankind’s relationship to nature,” a subject that has received a spotlight as our planet’s “climate emergency” status has become undeniable.
As Stanford’s philosophy department sees it, “Schelling’s account of mind and world, particularly his insistence on the need not to limit our conception of nature to what can be objectified by scientific methods, is, in the light of the ecological crisis, proving to be more durable than his reception might until recently have suggested. The question Schelling still poses is how the capacity for expanding human knowledge and control of nature can be reconciled with sustainable ways of inhabiting that nature.”
Death undeniably disrupts the human order of things, but does it destroy our connection to life? Can we feel after death, and can those behind us somehow “feel” us? Is our organic chemistry, our DNA, transportable, translatable?
In Genesis 3:19 the reference to ashes and dust reads, “By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return.” But is that a one way street, or do we somehow maintain a cosmic, knowing, helping presence?
Judged by the now dominance of cremation as a choice over traditional burials, our comfort with rapid reconnection to our chemical and natural parentage is growing at an amazing rate. In America, we crossed the threshold in 2015. Currently nearly 60% of Americans who die are cremated. By 2040, the National Funeral Directors Association confidently projects that cremation will be the choice of at least 8 in 10 of our dying citizens.
Analysts offer a variety of explanations from cost savings, convenience, new Vatican liberalism, family migration, lack of homestead, and more. But is that all that is at work here?
Is everything one, as the 23 year old Schelling long ago suggested? In 1798, he addressed a group of students in his home town square in Jena, Germany, 130 miles southwest of Berlin. The subject? The “secret bond connecting our mind with nature.” Expanding on the theme, he proclaimed, “At the first moment, when I am conscious of the external world, the consciousness of my self is there as well, and vice versa — at my first moment of self-awareness, the real world rises up before me…As long as I myself am identical with nature, I understand what living nature is as well as I understand myself.”
But does it work in reverse? As the headline read, “When the Queen Died, Someone Had To Tell The Bees.” But why? Did they need us to know what had happened, or could they sense it themselves – some break in the order of things – some disturbance?
And what if today our human actions have so poisoned and doomed the environment and its’ ecology, that the bees survival is hanging by a thread? Would they still be able to recognize the Queen’s entry into their realm? And if not, would her angelic dust lay useless at the wayside?
Constructed of star dust, will Guardian Angels continue to exist?
Mike Magee MD is a Medical Historian and author of CODE BLUE: Inside The Medical Industrial Complex.