035Beneath the striking feathers of the King Parrot is a very intelligent caring bird. There is more to it than appears at first glance – like many things in life; democracy perhaps.

Democracy is a word which might throw up notions of freedom, a say in the government, something to be valued – at least on the surface. For democracy to work well, it requires an educated population – people who have been exposed to a range of ideas, who have thought through the deeper issues of our generation and those past, who can think critically for themselves rather than just accepting what they are told, who can tell the difference between the spin of the manipulators and the truth. You get the drift. Where do the people get this wide knowledge, from multiple frames of reference?

Reading widely is a good start. Public libraries are reservoirs of the range of human thought and knowledge. In the library, a reader can absorb ideas across cultures, time scales and languages – and then form an independent opinion. The reader can learn to understand other points of view, to walk in another person’s experiences, to reason through what might be good or bad, or what might be wise or stupid.

The difference between groupthink and democracy is that the first group mindlessly or reluctantly follows the herd, whereas the voters in a democracy have the responsibility of a vote and the duty to be well informed. They can decide for themselves. Thank the librarians for assembling and providing such an opportunity to be a thinker.

Beneath the colourful plumage of the King Parrot is a very smart bird – not just a pretty bird. Look beyond initial appearances.

What do you think? Reply to jr71@outlook.com.au on the Contact tab