Different flocks of sheep will mingle and will graze together unless they are put under stress – an unexpected intruder in their field perhaps – in which case they will return to the safety of their own flock. Their anxiety can be eased by feeding them “sheepcake” which although often made from brewer’s grain, does not actually contain any relaxation-inducing alcohol!
The social barriers naturally break down between flocks as trust and familiarity grow through sharing fields and close proximity of grazing.
In our world, the traditional Christmas meal is similar in that family and friends get to know each other more, share their experiences and learn from each other. Similarly “Come Dine With Me” uses the meal as a catalyst so that the participants might learn about each other a little.
Sheep use eating as a way of understanding a flock other than their own, in a very passive way but from a very social activity – although it doesn’t require a seasonal bottle of sherry! At Christmas promoting understanding, tolerance and goodwill over the dinner table, is perhaps something therefore a sheep would fully approve of.
By now you will probably have had your office Christmas party. Did the social barriers break down – in not too radical a fashion?
And importantly, have you managed to learn and understand your colleagues a little better as a result?