The dying art of conversation/Where now for Rage?*


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This was going to be the shortest blog I would ever have written. But then I started writing.

I would like to defend the right of people to debate and discuss. There is a lot going on in our world today and sometimes it feels like a scary world to live in.

Why? Because it feels like we are living in an increasingly polarised world. In this world there are only two camps: THE RIGHT OPINION and THE WRONG OPINION.

The first casualty of this new set-up may just be conversation or at least the right to respectfully diverge in opinion.

What I’m increasingly seeing are attempts to suppress the opinions of or shame those with whom we disagree.

This has left me asking the following questions:

When did we as a society decide that cohabitation is no longer an option when it comes to diverging opinions?

When did we decide that the way to deal with an opinion we disagree with is to abuse or shame a person?

And when did we decide that if you don’t agree with me, YOU are the problem?

Is free speech really alive and kicking in this new world order?

A wise person told me this week that the problem is that some want peace whilst others want war. I think this person might have been right.

This brings me to a separate but connected topic: Rage.

When old wounds or even new ones are opened up, we as individuals and a society need to decide how best to deal with the inevitability of Rage. If we don’t decide on this, then it’s like leaving your front door wide open for the thief to enter.

In this discussion entitled ‘Where now for Rage?’, we need to ask ourselves the following questions:

Is the ultimate aim war or peace?

Is it too early to speak of peace when Rage is still being unleashed?

Should Rage ever be organised or remain unfettered?

Does Rage need a conduit?

Do we seek out a process by which Rage is given the space for self-expression?

And is it even possible to have controlled rage?

Do we have any precedents?

In the aftermath of apartheid and the liberation of the ANC under the leadership of Nelson Mandela established the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

The ANC decided that the best response to the apartheid and brutality that Blacks was not vengeance but reconciliation.

Rage was never completely unleashed because Rage was consigned to the room called RECONCILIATION. This room was imperfect but led to a platform from which to move forwards rather than the regression of all-out war.

Again, I’m left with more questions than answers:

Would some not have preferred retribution?

Should we seek forgiveness and can there be forgiveness without confession or remorse?

Can there be reconciliation even though lives have been destroyed?

With all the issues that are going on in our world today, we need to talk without FEAR of …….

We need to decide how best to respond when we feel/are wronged or when we hear opinions we disagree with.

Do we go for all-out war, or do we seek peace as the end-goal?

These questions are for you and me to weigh-up and answer. This post is not intended as a forum for my opinions. I’m simply saying: WE NEED TO TALK.

I wish to leave you with my final thoughts which are only to be read in the context of DISCUSSION/OPINIONS rather than TRUTH/FACT.

If I say that I am right and you say that you are right, we are one step closer to war. This is called an ARGUMENT. But if I say that I believe I am right but agree to leave room open to change my mind, and you do the same, then we are one step closer to PEACE and RECONCILIATION. This is called a DEBATE or CONVERSATION.

*the original post was edited after a night spent marinating.