As the years pass, I continue to wonder at the marvel of human communication, and the sadness of how little we use its potential…

The world appears to be full of conflict and strife. But much of it is happening at the psychological level. The Trump era in America and the Brexit ‘civil war’ in the UK were both fuelled by similar (if not the same) media barons, but they continue to feed on two common elements of human nature – hatred and anxiety; in most cases related to things that were not present.

The power of fear plus the well-placed myth of taking back control are a potent brew… and a complete lie.

This lowest state, in which our desire for real interaction with those of other opinions drops to zero, is easily kindled in people who have limited awareness of the complexity and interaction of modern societies. The populist dictator always sows ‘his’ seeds among the weak-thinking, the people who believe in black and white solutions. But that state of mind is driven only by despair at their own situation.

A wise and enduring society ensures that, though there may be layers of prosperity, no-one is in that lowest position of helplessness.

For good or ill, our societies have evolved into enormous machines of interrelated complexity. All attempts to disengage with internationalism are doomed to the same sad death – costing the inhabitants of the country decades of repair in wealth and reputation. In many cases our societies may never enjoy the prestige they had, before.

But to blame the car which has just driven into a line of innocent people, where the bodies lie, broken across the pavements, is equally wrong. Complex machines require sophisticated pilots. There is no equivocation about a pilot’s science: the plane lands, successfully, or it crashes. There are no ‘alternative facts’ about whether it landed; just like there are no alternative facts about how a virus rips through an innocent and unguided population.

Populism dies in the face of such disasters… and for those who still persist with alternative facts there is, simply, no hope. They are to be shunned by the ‘healthy cells’ of the society to which they represent such a threat. The society – the ‘body’ – remembers health, and yearns to return to it. Only the routes back are seen differently.

In this deadly tango, which now embraces us all, are the seeds of despair and hope. The despair will take us all down – like the car without a driver, or a driver who chooses the fundamentalism of alternative facts over the power of the real and chooses to die in an orgy of ego.

Hope requires that, as individuals, we all take responsibility for listening to others’ point of view – no matter how antithetical they seem to our own minds. All counselling is based, first, upon listening.

There may be a ‘special place in Hell’ for those who engineered the chaos in which we find ourselves. But the greater power lies in the word ‘sorry’ – said from the heart opened with empathy.

It is the beginning of that special state that repairs a world.

©Stephen Tanham, 2020.

Stephen Tanham is a Director of the Silent Eye School of Consciousness, a ‘school of the soul’ that offers a three-year, mentored path to personal, spiritual growth, independent of religion.

Contact us at Rivingtide@gmail.com for more details.

21 Comments on “Tango in the key of sorry

  1. I think the present chaos will need a little bit more than ‘sorry’ to put things right again… that’s if we ever were in the first place…

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  2. Pingback: Tango in the key of sorry ~ Steve Tanham | Sue Vincent's Daily Echo

  3. Thanks, and Hi Steve. The sad solution – if there is a solution -. and I’m an optimist/realist – is in persuading the ‘black and white thinking’ people that life is really shades of grey, however you look at it.. There is no decent life without hope and love and – despite all its faults, I am eternally grateful that I live in the West. (From the UK, retired to Spain) I have just finished reading “The Betrayal” by the excellent author Helen Dunmore. Even today, I cannot imagine living in either Russia or China, and wonder about the mindsets of other so-called ‘cultures.’..I’m pleased not to be one of the sheep, but would be doomed in either country. Upwards and onwards. Cheers. x

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    • Hello, again, Joy. I, too, am grateful that I live in the west; which makes defending its democracy so important. Sadly, some of the the clever people with vast wealth think nothing of perverting our democratic and parliamentary systems to suit their ‘need’ – often to avoid financial scrutiny or taxation, for example. Dennis Potter, the celebrated English playwright, called his stomach cancer ‘Rupert’, after the owner of the Sun and other newspapers. He was passionate about protecting British democracy.
      I agree we live in a age where solutions that last are likely to be grey, rather than black and white. Then hatred and provocation allowed in the media, and typified by Fox News in the USA, has created a new landscape where so much of our previous ‘reasonableness’ can be taken for granted. I can’t think who owns Fox News m, but it will come to me…

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    • Hi Robbie. I agree that tech skews things, and makes abuse more effective. The whole thing is just human nature externalised. But we can’t deal with that, except very slowly. But we do need to be aware of existential threats to our very systems of government. Fascism has never been more enabled than now…

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  4. Interesting post and a well crafted title! Honestly, I’m unsure I can agree with the complete premise though as your truth is my false news. Your Fox news is my The Guardian spreading its nonsense and hatred of people who question the obsession with a hypothesis on climate pushed by the highly political and non-scientific body the – IPCC. I believe that Trump is actually a reflection of the fact that those parties that historically represented the working classes have actually turned their backs on them in pursuit of some post modernist marxist ideology and are now more concerned about the promotion of minorities than they are about a living wage. So, it should be no surprise then that an alternative is sought by those who have no hope and Make America Great again apparently appeals to those who live without. I see rights and wrongs on both sides of this duality and I am guided by my own ability to think objectively and by a sense of serving the majority at least (as it is impossible to serve all) and that is the middle ground where we are responsible for our own actions and happily accept that, where we work diligently and honestly for the things that we need while rejecting the excesses that we plainly do not. The middle can be right or left depending on the issue and depending on the views of the observer but it isn’t nor should it be divisive. I do agree that someone is stirring the pot and unfortunately many people are very quick to respond to the bait of fear, envy, distrust and hatred. What their true agenda is I have no idea but I suspect it is simply to make mischief and promote conflict and division. As a scientist, when I see science reduced to a black and white argument around proof, I despair. Science doesn’t prove anything and scientific method relies on objectivity and debate over what are only ever hypotheses. Just as Newton was displaced by Einstein, so are his theories under attack every single day and rightly so as that is how science works. Anyway, I waffle… I think the only way forward is to recognize the complexity of life and as you say, stop seeing things in black and white. Though quite how that is done, I do not know.

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    • Thanks, Gary. That’s a good example of how honest people differ in their views. And how essentially kind people get drawn into polarised arguments… I will defend the Guardian to my dying day. In my opinion, it and the BBC both try to find the truth. The fact that Rupert Murdoch hates it is proof enough of its value. The Guardian was the original source – closely partnered by the New York Times – to expose the phone hacking information that became the the ‘Milly Dowler’ affair; something that stopped Murdoch having the largest media empire on early and caused him to close the News of the World and through his loyal employees ‘under the bus’. Of course after the Roger Ailes scandal, the father and one son Murdoch now control Fox News… I rest my case… with a smile, of course.😎

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      • Ah you assumed I was supporting Fox. It was a figure of speech in that for some this is news and for others its the Guardian and was not meant with me in mind. I think they are both opinionated false news providers Steve. I cannot think of a single so called news source I trust to report the news – not even Reuters these days…. so tend to dip in a few places and, when it comes to issues like climate, medicines, COVID, I read the actual peer reviewed science. Then you discover interesting things that make you realise how the mainstream media is willfully distorting everything and condemning any debate, thought or alternatives. Did you know, for example, that in a paper published in March 2020, Fauci and his colleagues said that COVID-19 was likely to have a death rate not much higher than a stronger flu of around 0.1%? It seems it is a tad lower than that in actuality but close enough. Did you know that there is plenty of evidence that the Trump drug does work? And if you or a close one was having serious COVID issues, would you want to take it or would you reject it because Trump the moron supported it? Did you know that the scientific debate around the effectiveness of masks is very complex and that it seems that masks can be effective under certain tightly controlled circumstances and yet can also increase the risk under others? Yet your Guardian pushes one side of this debate and suggests that those having an alternative yet equally valid opinion are dangerous right-wing morons… and there is how it all starts. Isn’t it?

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          • Steve, we are having a nice relaxed discussion Steve…..

            It seems to me that once – when we were young, papers like the Guardian and outlets like CNN – which was my favorite network back then and I watched without fail, focused on the news. Yes, they had an editorial angle and most were aware of that. In recent years, something has changed. I refuse to watch CNN these days – it is a rabid anti Trump network. The Guardian seeks to have people like me jailed or re-educated (my stance on climate change). what happened to them? You point to their owners but what is it these people are trying to do?

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  5. Oh! Steve I do agree. Would that we could all open our hearts especially those in power. Redistribute wealth so that we were all living well…. That’s never going to happen people will always want power Mamon will always be god to some.
    We can hope and dream, yes but I am afraid I shall not see the change if it ever comes. In these strange times we must be careful and sensible, avoiding those who deny the truth of the virus.
    I do sound maudlin don’t I a prophet of doom ..not really I want change for the better and I pray for it , I just don’t think everyone has learned the lessons yet. Be safe , be well.💜

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