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  • Shihan Kendall

Where Darwin Meets Gershwin


“In the long history of humankind (and animal kind, too) those who learned to collaborate and improvise most effectively have prevailed.” -Charles Darwin

“Life is a lot like jazz... it's best when you improvise.” -George Gershwin

There is, I’m convinced, a place where Darwin and Gershwin intersect. One’s area of study largely concerned survival, and the other just wanted to make some great music. But those two things need each other. To enjoy life you’ve got to first have life, and what point is having life if it’s not a life you can enjoy? And where the triumph of life and the enjoyment of it do come together, there are some pretty heavy truths to be learned.

The massive storms of the past week or so were thankfully not life or death events. The did, however, pose massive challenges due to the loss of light and heat, and the havoc wreaked by disrupted schedules and closed dojo’s. We’ve all heard lots of stories of woe and misery.

From Dojo folks, though, I heard different kinds of stories of all the ways they found to get by and stay amused while deprived of the conveniences and entertainments we’ve all come to rely on. Stories of in-house camping. Of crashing with or hosting friends, depending on who had the generator. Of dinner by candlelight and dusted-off board games.

And that brings us to that Darwin-Gershwin intersection, where adaptation and improvisation make life not only possible, but enjoyable.



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