The name of this blog, Rainbow Juice, is intentional.
The rainbow signifies unity from diversity. It is holistic. The arch suggests the idea of looking at the over-arching concepts: the big picture. To create a rainbow requires air, fire (the sun) and water (raindrops) and us to see it from the earth.
Juice suggests an extract; hence rainbow juice is extracting the elements from the rainbow, translating them and making them accessible to us. Juice also refreshes us and here it symbolises our nutritional quest for understanding, compassion and enlightenment.

Tuesday 27 September 2022

It Seemed Like A Good Idea At The Time

The "Fertile Crescent." Source - Wikipedia
How often have you decided to do something because it seemed like a good idea at the time?
Then, later, have you thought to yourself, that wasn’t such a good idea? What have you then done? Have you changed your mind and done something different? Perhaps you have had to repair some harm. Perhaps you have had to apologise to someone? Or, have you decided, I’ve made my bed, now I have to sleep in it?

I think we can all relate to such a scenario and the possible subsequent sequels.

For some reason when this happens collectively we tend to ignore the possibility that the “good idea at the time” was not such a good idea. We stick with the idea, even if it harms us, and the planet with us.

Agriculture is one such scenario.


Around 12,000 years ago a portion of the human race, living in the Fertile Crescent,1 began planting fig trees and domesticating varieties of cereal and legumes. Pigs, goats, cats, cattle, and sheep also began to be tamed and domesticated.

The Agricultural Revolution had begun. It seemed like a good idea at the time.

Agriculture and the domestication of animals allowed humans to leave behind their nomadic hunter-gatherer past and their reliance upon the local “gods” to provide for sustenance. The discomfort of uncertainty was replaced by certainty and comfort.

Or was it?

Prior to the Agricultural Revolution humans may have been anxious about the future; would the gods provide? The future was uncertain.

With agriculture, however, came new modes of uncertainty. Would the rains come and flood the fields and wash away the newly sown plants? Or, would drought burn and destroy the new shoots? What chance was there of pestilence? Will marauding plagues of locusts arrive?

With agriculture also came settlement. There was no point in roaming if the crops you planted were just there within walking distance, and all you had to do was tend them.

Settlement led to increased numbers of people. Easily accessible food meant more people. More people meant more planting and tilling, providing more food. The vicious cycle had begun. More food means more people means more food means more…

More people also meant more land was required. It also led to some within larger settlements taking increased control of the processes of agriculture. Over time this led to stratification within settlements, and the rise of ruling classes and elites. Control of these processes led to accumulation and eventually the concept of private ownership of crops, animals, and most importantly – land.

These acquisitions now had to be safeguarded and protected. There was always the danger of other tribes wanting to take over your land and use it for themselves. Warfare began!

As settlements grew, the danger of theft was not always external. There was little to hinder the growth of police forces, legal systems, courts, and capital punishment.

Before long empires grew up. The first known empire was that of Sargon the Great, who established the Akkadian Empire in the third millennium BC. Empire building had begun.

Empires came and went. The twin aspirations of land and defence (by now empire builders had discovered that the best form of defence was conquest) led to larger and larger empires. At the height of its fame the Roman Empire not only claimed the Fertile Crescent; it had completely encircled the Mediterranean Sea.

The idea of conquest and the private ownership of land caught on and became widespread within the imaginations of Kings and Queens of Europe, as well as a number of well-to-do merchants.

Next came colonisation: of Africa, the Americas, the Pacific Islands, Australia, and New Zealand. It can be reasonably well argued that colonisation was a direct outgrowth of the Agricultural Revolution.

I’ve got too far ahead.

Let’s return to 10,000 – 12,000 years prior to our time. The Agricultural Revolution also heralded in perhaps one of the most damaging aspects of human psychology and well-being to ever befall us – our disconnect and separation from nature.

Prior to the Agricultural Revolution hominids (of which modern humans are part) lived in close connection with nature; so much so, that hominids were indistinct from any other part of nature. We were nature. Nature was our natural home.

The Agricultural Revolution changed all that. Nature was now ours to tame, to domesticate, to force into our ways. Furthermore, nature became something other than us. Nature was wild, and wild had to be contained and overcome.

This led, inexorably, to the degradation of the environment that we see today.

Could this have been averted?

Could any of this been foreseen? Could any of it have been averted?

Probably not, because each of the steps along the way would have been seen as a good idea at the time.

However, one of the advantages of hindsight, particularly hindsight that takes a large picture view, is that we might learn something. What might we learn from this example?

First, we might learn that just because something seems like a good idea at the time, it may turn out to have dire outcomes or consequences. So, let’s not rush. Let us consider the consequences. Indeed, let us consider the by-products and side-affects that can already be seen.

The second thing we might learn is that we are part and parcel of nature. What we do to nature we do to ourselves. And surely, we are starting to realise this now – perhaps too late! Again, let’s not rush. Our technological innovations and our head have gotten way ahead of our hearts and our inner natures. We have outstripped our capacity to feel.

And, if we want to feel again, then we must give ourselves time. Time to just sit, time to just listen. Time to feel.

That seems like a good idea!!


1. The Fertile Crescent is a crescent-shaped part of the world centred on the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers (Mesopotamia) and extending to the Eastern seaboard of the Mediterranean. Sometimes historians include the upper Nile in this description. 

Wednesday 21 September 2022

Of Gratitude and Peace

Today (21 September) is International Day of Peace. It is also World Gratitude Day. Whilst it is perhaps telling that we need a special day to remind ourselves of peace and gratitude, the days are welcome in a world that still yearns for true peace and seeks a state of grace.1

It is noteworthy that the day is Gratitude Day rather than Gratefulness Day. We may be grateful for a number of things in our life: the warmth of the sun on our face, the smell of the ocean, the taste of our morning coffee, or the greeting waved out by a neighbour.

Gratitude goes further. Gratitude is a state of mind that we take with us into the world. It has an inner motivation that is not dependent upon an external event or circumstance to stimulate a feeling of gratefulness.

World Gratitude Day was suggested by the spiritual leader Sri Chinmoy in 1965 when he proposed a day of thanks that the whole world could celebrate.

Sri Chinmoy has also been a light in seeking for peace in the world. Chinmoy tells us that “It is only through inner peace that we can have true outer peace.” If we attempt peace without this inner peace, he cautions us to “…not try to change the world. You will fail. Try to love the world. Lo, the world is changed, changed forever.”

Furthermore, Chinmoy has advice for us that links the twin themes of today – peace and gratitude. He tells us:

“Gratitude can transform our life, sooner than anything else.”

Hence, through gratitude we can discover an inner peace. That inner peace enables us to love the world, thus changing the world, and so gaining peace.

Let us remind ourselves today of the connections between gratitude and peace and also between our own inner peace and the peace of the world.


1. The words gratitude and grace both derive from the same etymological root – meaning to favour.

Wednesday 14 September 2022

Ishmael - Book Review

Have you had the experience of reading, hearing, or seeing reference to something so often that eventually you say to yourself “I have to check that out.”?

That’s how it has been for me with this book. First published in 1992, with a special twenty-fifth anniversary edition in 2017, Ishmael is now thirty years old.1

Ray Bradbury2 praised the book, stating that “Ishmael is a genuine discovery. It will be around for many years.” It is still around, and thankfully so, for it is just as relevant today as it was then, perhaps moreso.

The cover of the book claims it to be “A Novel.” In reality it is more of a Socratic dialogue, with Daniel Quinn (the author) writing in a manner similar to Plato’s writings with Socrates as the main character.

Ishmael (the teacher,) using a searching and probing technique, takes his “pupil” on a journey to discover the story that our present-day cultures have been enacting for the past 10,000 – 12,000 years. It is an enlightening journey as it uncovers a forgotten past that sheds an entirely different meaning on the stories of Adam and Eve, the Fall, and the murder of Abel by Cain. Most of us recognise these stories from the Bible, and even if we are not religiously inclined, they are the stories that we have been enacting ever since.

Ishmael and his student meet each other because of a simple newspaper advert: “Teacher seeks pupil. Must have an earnest desire to save the world. Apply in person.” Who could resist such an opportunity? Ishmael’s pupil can’t.

Significantly, Ishmael’s pupil is never named in the novel. This omission allows us, the readers, to become the student. The student could be any one of us.

Without revealing too much of the plot, nor the teachings, Ishmael helps his student see the history of the world over the past 10,000 – 12,000 years as being a continuing conflict between the Takers (represented by Cain) and the Leavers (represented by Abel.) Which of these is dominant and dominating can be guessed at when the story of Cain and Abel is recalled.

How do these two human trajectories play out in the novel? I will leave that for you, the reader, to discover in your own “reading” of the novel, the dialogues, and the stories.

As for Ishmael himself? Well, Ishmael is a gorilla, taken from his home and kept as a fairground attraction. Initially, that Ishmael is a gorilla may be a bit jarring. However, understanding the novel, and the stories it tells, in a mythical sense, then it is entirely appropriate that the teacher is a Leaver, and is caged by the Takers.

Yes indeed, Ray Bradbury was correct. This is a book that deserves to be around for many years. It deserves re-reading often, as perhaps do the sequels (My Ishmael and The Story of B.) I’ll go and read those next.


1. Daniel Quinn, Ishmael, Bantam Books, New York, 2017 (special 25th anniversary edition)

2. Ray Bradbury (1920 – 2012) was one of America’s most acclaimed authors. A prolific author in many genres he sold over 8 million copies of his works in 36 languages.

Wednesday 7 September 2022

Are We Threatened Too?

Today (7 September) has been designated as Threatened Species Day in the country in which I live – Australia.

There are over 1,700 Australian species and ecological communities that are known to be threatened and at risk of extinction. World-wide, over 41,000 species are threatened with extinction.

Let me say that again. Over 41,000 species world-wide are threatened with extinction.

Well over a quarter of those threatened species belong to the Mammalia family (mammals).

That is the group (Mammalia) that includes us – Homo sapiens.

We can be more precise. Homo sapiens belong to the family Hominidae (Great apes) which includes chimpanzees, gorillas, orangutan, and bonobo. Amongst this family, our closest cousins – chimpanzees and bonobos – are listed as Endangered and “at very high risk of extinction in the wild.”

What about us? Are we threatened or in danger of extinction?

The IUCN says “no.” On the Red List Homo sapiens is classified as LC – Least Concern. Amongst the family Hominidae we are the only species with this classification. All others are classified as Vulnerable (VU), Endangered (EN), or Critically Endangered (CR). We are also the only ones in this family where the population is increasing. All others are decreasing (although gibbons are stable.)

Why are we not listed as threatened? The IUCN justifies our classification as of Least Concern because “…the species is widely distributed, adaptable, currently increasing, and there are no major threats resulting in an overall population decline.”

Really? At least three observations come out of this.

First, there is a strong causative link between the increase in our population size and the decrease in the populations of all other Great apes, not to mention the decrease in populations of numerous other species.

The extinction rate of all animals has increased significantly over the past quarter of a century, and especially since the Industrial Revolution. That is our doing.

The second observation is that our increasing population, and the consumptive practices of a large proportion of our population, should be an ecological warning bell. We have been overshooting our carrying capacity globally since the early 1970s, with the rich, westernised nations, overshooting long before that. Any ecologist will tell you that when a species overshoots its carrying capacity it is only a matter of time before there is decline.

Furthermore, the greater we exceed our carrying capacity then the greater is likely to be the decline. This would suggest that we are threatened.

Thirdly, the IUCN states that as far as we are concerned “…there are no major threats resulting in an overall population decline.” It is perhaps difficult to recognise a threat to ourselves when the threat is principally ourselves. Homo sapiens is the threat to Homo sapiens.

Ironically, we have appropriated for ourselves the species name Homo sapiens (Wise human), yet we are showing little collective sign of the wisdom such a designation suggests.

What would it take for the sapient part of our species categorisation to be made manifest?

Amongst the range of possibilities would have to be an acknowledgement that we are a threatened species, and that we conspired to place numerous other species on the threatened list. Having done that, we would be wise to confess our hubris in claiming our heights of evolution.

The Earth does not belong to us. We belong to the Earth. This would be a wise mantra for us to adopt.