Monday, 13 June 2022


This is a misquotation of one of the greatest love poems ever by Elizabeth Barrett Browning:-

“How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.”

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I’ve used it because the level of hatred that’s invaded our lives is peculiarly visceral not just here but in America too. There seems no middle position to be taken between Trump and Biden or Johnson and almost anyone. But where did well-mannered debate go? Down the plughole, I guess, with De Bono and his book “I am Right and You are Wrong,” which in the current climate should be retitled: “I am totally right and you are an utter scumbag.”

5 Science-Based Ways to Break the Cycle of Rage Attacks | Psychology Today  United Kingdom

I had some hope restored to me when I saw that Save the Children had conducted a decent sized survey (with some 5,000 8-14 year old children) and that 78% had declared a desire to help the disadvantaged and do good. (Well of course they did.) The Junior Week Magazine turned this into a crusading slogan “It’s Cool to be Kind.”

Why can’t we think about and listen to what others say? Why can’t we be kind? Because, here’s rage: “there’s no point in listening; I know what you’re going to say and it’s garbage.” I once said that to an utter scumbag (sorry, to someone with whom I had a slight difference of opinion) but I’ve matured since then. I even listened carefully to Piers Morgan’s interview with Donald Trump on the recently launched Talk TV. Trump was not unimpressive but there was something missing. No empathy; to him no-one else matters; he knew he was right and anyone who disagreed with him was stupid. He was a grumpy know-all yet still  admired by a lot of Americans. 

Watch: Did Donald Trump really walk out of explosive interview with Piers  Morgan? Here's the truth - World News

He described saying to Putin that if Vladimir put a foot wrong he, Trump, had a very big button which he wouldn’t think twice about pressing . Allegedly Putin said “really?” and Trump said “Yes. Really”. It was just a strongman show.

I wanted to pursue briefly this strange world of disillusion, repulsion and hatred and how it influences behaviour. 

Social media has, of course, made it worse. There’s a new vocabulary of hatred spawned from that. We have trolling, ghosting, cancelling, gaslighting and hate-speech. We live in a tumultuous world of hyperbole. Agreement is “Hund p” (or 100%) never any reflective nuance. It’s hate or love. Yes or No. Never a hint of “maybe.”

The Psychology Of Twitter Rage: Why So Much Hate?

This trend grew stronger with cantankerous interviewers on the BBC Today programme. I now listen to Asmir Mir and Stig Abell on Times Radio who are pleasant but somehow still seem to extract the truth. With a smile not a snarl. 

Here’s that Browning poem in full. I hope it proves an antidote to what, chances are, will be another bad-tempered week.

“How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of being and ideal grace

I love thee to the level of every day's
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.

I love thee freely, as men strive for right.
I love thee purely, as they turn from praise.
I love thee with the passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood's faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints. I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life; and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death. 

Beautiful Sunset, Painting by Aisha Haider | Artmajeur


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