(The Gold Coast seen from our place at night)
For that matter, who died and left me in charge?
Well, speaking for myself, to be brutally honest, no one ever did. True, I admit I tried to claim the title for myself now and then, with mixed results; the most common of which was to come to the painful and embarassing realization that no one gave much of a toss for my opinions; still less my right to pronounce on how others should run their affairs.
I have been a slow learner. I have tried time and again to impose my world view and time and again I may as well have saved my breath. The penny has dropped. The world will trundle on regardless, whether or not I snap at its heels. Gradually and grudgingly, I've come to accept that people will look at what I do before they listen to me, and even then, only sometimes, after I have listened long and hard to them. Actually, I think it's more likely that people will listen willingly only when they hear their own preoccupations and preconceptions reflected back at them.
As someone who has enjoyed casting off responsibilities and divesting myself of the need to interfere in other people's lives, I get some wry amusement when I notice how many others are running in the opposite direction. The examples are many. I will pick just two:
It jumped out of the screen at me. On my favourite news website a sponsor was trying to convince me he could tell me how to live a BIG life. I presume he meant a successful life, or maybe a happy life, or maybe a long life. I doubt a 'worthwhile' life was in his lexicon. Never mind. If I wanted it, he would do his best to convince me he could give it to me. I wonder if he will be any more successful than I am in getting people to sign on to the big picture? I guess the one considerable advantage he has is that he would be telling willing ears what they wanted to hear; each one listening to their own dreams reflected back at them.
The second was a facebook post. Dear facebook. It is a mine of information that people make available about themselves; a mine that is excavated regularly and profitably by marketers. The post was one of the many photoshopped screen grabs crafted to gain converts to some cause or another. For a society that has rejected the prosletysing of traditional religion, there is a mountain of emotional blackmail on facebook making no less a claim for allegiance to a spectrum of political and spiritual causes. Most of it is manipulative and has only a passing acquaintance with truth and fairness.
This particular post irritated me more than most. I'll spare you the details, but the gist is that scientists (whoever they were) were telling us all that there were some really, really important life issues that we needed to pay attention to. Here at least we were talking about big picture stuff; not trivial everyday concerns like bigger TVs, holidays, or whatever. Just who died and left 'scientists' in charge of deciding what were important life issues was not at all clear. Perhaps they felt qualified to moralise and pontificate after spending long years studying more and more about less and less until they became experts?
I'd better stop before I slide back into bad habits. I can feel the old urge to rant and rave and I would prefer not to feed it. It doesn't get me anywhere. It's much more enjoyable and less stressful to accept that a lot of people see things differently from the way I see them.
That doesn't mean they're correct though . . .
I reserve the right to mount the occasional guerilla raid in defence of clear thinking and for a good cause.
I still have some things worthwhile to say . . . as do you. Perhaps we could gain from listening more closely to each other?