Recently I witnessed something quite disturbing, but probably quite familiar to most people reading this.
I was in a small lecture / discussion group, and the topic was current affairs in Israel. I made a comment. Another member of the audience responded, obviously very irate at what I had said, and, as she spoke, she was shaking. The speaker responded to her, and then, even more irate, she misinterpreted what he had said, and continued with her tirade.
What was shocking was that what had obviously not been created in that space was a safe environment to talk about the topic and share differing viewpoints.
It descended into a debate; point scoring, arguing, trying to prove your point. There was no listening. There was no open-mindedness to listen to someone else’s truth; to perhaps add it to our own understanding of the situation, to deepen it, even if it shook a few truths of our own that were previously unshaken.
And this, obviously, can apply to other hot topics in our society; Brexit, Trump, the refugee crisis, equality…
Listening (again) to the Guilty Feminist podcast (released 20 Nov 2017) (I know I am totally obsessed with this, and you hopefully will be too, if you’re not already – please take a listen!) I was struck by a comment that one of the panelists, Quinn Eades, made, quoting an American professor, Susan Stryker:
“Every single person must step outside our echo chamber that we are in, which is what happens when our computer algorithms only show us what we want to see, and to have conversations with people who disagree with us. And these are micro revolutions, and if every single one of us is willing to have conversations with people who disagree with us; clear, calm, conversations, that use evidence-based arguments, and also show our humanity, then that’s where we can start making real change.”
I know that it is hard to host a space where these real conversations could be happening.
I know that it takes a skill rarely used to really listen, and be open to changing yourself as a result of what you have heard.
I also know that the stakes couldn’t be higher right now to ensure spaces like this exist, for the future wellbeing of our beautiful planet.
Our vision for TLC, when it reopens next year, is that it will be a space and place for these conversations. TLC will be a hub for an ever-growing network of people with very un-like-minded opinions to chat, share, challenge and listen to each other, respectfully, and with a love of humanity, and our planet, at the core.
I hope you’ll join us in the (micro) revolution…