It’s springtime in Australia and the magpies are aggressively defending their nests. All day we hear clunks as they collide with our windows, mistaking their own reflections for marauders.  I admire their persistence.  Time and time again the same magpie will fly at a pane of glass, bang its head, fall down, flutter up and repeat the exercise.

It occurred to me this morning that the magpies’ behaviour is very like that of many humans. Whether it’s deposing dictators and waiting for secular democracy to bloom in their place, or calling on corporations to mitigate the socially harmful effects of their operations through voluntary self-regulation, we keep crashing into the same windows, falling, fluttering up…

Wasn’t it Einstein who characterised this behaviour as the very definition of insanity?

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