I have always been fascinated by how you can have, say, five people hear or see the same thing, and each have a very different view of what is going on. That is what makes us human, I guess, and, sometimes, that is what helps us progress.
I’ve been watching the documentary series about Monty Python on Netflix called Monty Python’s Almost The Truth. Something that stood out for me was, after John Cleese left, the balance of power shifted. When he was still part of the Python’s, there were often differing views between him and Terry Jones and, with the process of finding consensus amongst all of them, between these two points, meant the work was always better.
We are seeing this play in the world today to the extreme. But it isn’t two different views but millions of different views. And too many of us seem to take pride in being contrarian.
It can all be very tiresome.
Arguing that racism doesn’t still have an impact on the world.
Arguing about whether to wear masks or not when we are facing a health crisis that is unsurpassed in this extremely connected world.
Arguing about whether foreign nationals are the reason why a country isn’t working.
Arguing about the tragic and brutal realities of femicide/the murder of women in South Africa.
Arguing about how people should react to systemic racism and patriarchy.
The consequences are about as extreme as they could possibly be.
I have always believed that the power of the digital world, especially social media platforms, is that it democratises voice. The previously voiceless can now be heard. Now I wonder whether we all need voice. And there are so many voices now that the cacophony drowns out so much.
I remain optimistic and, though not always, hopeful. In the face of our history as a species, sometimes, that feels a tad naïve. But, what else can one do?