Monday, 10 January 2022


Written in 2009 Edward De Bono’s book is based on the idea that most of our everyday decision-making tends to be confrontational. Whether in large meetings, one-to-one or even in our own heads, opposite viewpoints are angrily pitted against each other.

I Am Right, You Are Wrong By Edward de Bono


Ultimately contestants seem to think there must be a winner and a loser. The title of the book has always appealed to me in describing our adversarial world. Better still, though, is Groucho Marx in Horse Feathers when he sang:

“Your proposition may be good

But let’s have one thing understood

Whatever it is I’m against it.”

Republican Convention: Angry Tone Defies the Norm | Time

In America we currently see the rancorous opposition of Republican and Democrat so livid that some talk about the possibility of Civil War. Or in the Ukraine where Putin is in in a stand-off that could lead to war between Russia and NATO. Or in Taiwan, a smouldering touch paper with China. Or the vaccine passport supporters versus the anti-vaxxers.  Sheer naked rage is demonstrated there as Novak Djokovic (serial winner of the Australian Open Tennis Tournament) is held in detention in an apparently decrepit, immigrant hotel in Melbourne because the Australian Government believe he’s breached entry rules into their heavily locked-down country. His father in Serbia said what was happening to Novak resembles, no less, the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.

Novak Djokovic to suffer rankings misery if catastrophic Australian Open  drama continues | Tennis | Sport |

When it comes to Premier Football, fans believe blood is thicker than water and vaccination is less important than football skill. One in six of Premier League footballers aren’t vaccinated apparently. As one fan might have put it:

“He’s an anti-vaxxer…but he’s our anti-vaxxer”

So, what the hell’s gone wrong?                                                                                                                   

Well, nothing much that hasn’t existed before. The problem is us. Human beings. Abrasive, combative and ambitious. But one thing has changed. Technology. This enables us to be more of everything and faster. And “more of” includes being nastier to others.

Historically when the going gets tough we hunker down and become protective of what we have. And so, we’re all becoming more nationalistic and tribal. We are building walls not opening doors.

But the absence of hope is right at the centre of many problems. Last year there were an estimated 70 million refugees fleeing from hopeless war-torn homes heading towards wealthy countries and hope. 

Federal Authorities Unveil New Strike Force to Fight Gun Trafficking in  Chicago, 4 Other Cities – NBC Chicago


In Chicago where there are high levels of poverty, fatalities from gunfights in 2021 were nearly 800. Where there’s no credible prospect of things getting better people fight.


It would be nice to think we were all kind and reasonable. But we aren’t. Not only that but the ability to see things from all points of view is disappearing. If I don’t like what you say I can cancel or ghost you. In the last century and further back if we couldn’t agree with each other, we debated or fought a war or a duel. 

It’s 2022. We thought that diplomacy would work. We thought the age of the gun or knife was past. We were deluded. 

Given this why on earth should I remain hopeful?

Because humanity can be smart.  We can change, we can be leaders, we can listen better. It might be difficult listening to extreme Republican Americans, anti- vaxxers, people who are racist, misogynistic or whatever “-ism” they may have. But we shall never understand why so many people support what they say and believe unless we listen. 

None of us is wholly right or wholly wrong. But so long as we think that we are right, and they are wrong we are doomed to a future where rapprochement is impossible, and violence becomes inevitable.

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