A Jellyfish Situation

Published on 14 February 2022 at 21:46

You try to solve one problem, and you get two. 

"Got to be careful when you're trying to get rid of them. You try to spear 'em or something, they just turn into two jellyfish." (John Tavner : Patriot, Season 2). In the fictional story, John swims across the Channel, through a bloom of jellyfish, in order to escape the jellyfish situation created behind him. An irony that isn't lost on a perceptive audience: Escape from one problem, creates a whole set of others!



A common jellyfish to be found in the English Channel, is the lion's mane jellyfish (Cyanea capillata); one of the largest known species of jellyfish. It is, alongside other species of jellyfish, one of the nemeses of open water swimmers of the English Channel.

This particular jellyfish also has a popular culture reference, featuring in one of the murder mysteries of Sherlock Holmes entitled "The Adventure of the Lion's Mane". The victim's weak heart and poor communication point the blame away from the real perpetrator. In trying to solve one puzzle, more get created until finally Holmes shifts his perspective and the real criminal is found: The hairy jelly! 


In many ways I found all these pieces of general knowledge to be satirically funny in the way they mirrored the subtleties and dangers of the human condition...my conditionIn my nightly wanderings, treading the thin line between reality and fantasy, I recently explored a catacombs beneath the city together with a fellow adventurer, my Watson. The stage was set according to my own version of Indiana Jones and I was the lesser impressionable Lara Croft. We entered each chamber and observed giant, luminescent jellyfish floating quiescently a few millimetres above the ground. No water...just darkness. Life's problems, showcased along the somber corridors of the subconscious: beautiful to see, yet complicated to the touch. 

At the end of my journey, another fellow observer waited at the other end. We greeted each other in our new, intimate fashion after which, we all proceeded to head in different directions. Life's lonely journey of being together apart, and apart together.

I never quite manage to join all the threads between my waking state and my nocturnal escapades. Asleep, it often feels like I'm perpetually rowing along the river Styx while being both the passenger and the ferryman and never quite sure which way I'm going, or which role I'm playing.

A jellyfish situation is where the future is incomplete. You cannot foresee the entire chain of cause and effect pairs, or otherwise stated, IF THEN, ELSEAs far as the human condition goes, there are only so many steps ahead that can be predicted...for now. Most spiritual philosophies entice us away from trying anything at all. Why worry about something that hasn't come to pass? Social dynamics of desire and fear of loss, steer us away from the "Lucy" potential. Why see more than you need to in an environment where simply existing, is good enough?

Because the human condition is a problem solving condition. Simply existing isn't without consequence. The inability or unwillingness to simulate multiple dimensions of a problem leads to a multiplication of problems...the world jelly fish situation. 

You want to swim across the Channel? Stock up on fat and anticipate the jellyfish. Foresight isn't meant to prevent the stings...it's meant to prepare you for them.

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