Updated: Feb 5, 2019
I have been preparing my latest book (Jones Street) for its trip to the editor and this involves reading it critically with fresh eyes as a way to ensure I say what I mean and mean what I say.
While doing this the below phrase jumped off the page (screen) and screamed out for my attention.
“It frightens me, the audacity, of the corrupted civilised mind.”
I wrote that line this last year, a year in which the winds of change are blowing ever more powerfully and indiscriminately than any other time I can remember in my forty-eight years.
Political leaders from all sides are plumbing new depths to find new gutters to hold each other down in.
The #MeToo movement is a much-needed new broom that sweeps clean but with the inevitable consequence that while it removes the rubbish, it also removes some things of great value.
The gender debate about whether or not you can (or should) choose the gender of your baby, or even how many genders that are now available as options is now a topic for every day conversation.
Gender equality and the quest to get equal amounts of both men and women in workplaces and boardrooms, not just providing equal opportunities but equal outcomes is the hot potato that few want to hold on to.
And the abortion debate rages on with a proposed law change to take it out of the crimes act and make it a health issue, and also a rethink of the “time” a foetus becomes a baby.
Now I am not about to offer you my opinion on any of the above topics. It’s my business what I make of them and your business what you make of them but I do have an observation.
Many of those most vocal about the above issues (from all sides) are vocal because they have a high degree of either belief, cynicism and/or scepticism about the hierarchies, structures and rulers (leaders) of the past. They question (or hold up as examples) such things as God, religion, culture, history and structures, things that have evolved as part of humanities development and that’s a healthy attitude. However those same questioners seem to have few questions, very little cynicism and often no scepticism at all about themselves, their own attitudes or their own motives.
With a philosophy born from a Google search, these self-proclaimed justice warriors confidently stride the world with heads held high, safe in the certainty that often adorns those unwilling or unable to think.
The reality is that many of us, maybe even most of us, know we know very little indeed about most things and virtually nothing at all about everything and I find the words of Bernard Shaw grow ever more applicable.
The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt.
To question things makes sense, let's start with ourselves.