I don't think I am alone in saying that events on the world wide stage have made me anxious and a little fearful over the last few weeks/months/years. And often confused.
And everywhere I look I see shouting. Politicians, media ...
I have always loved Neil Gaiman's fiction. However it is his non-fiction writing which elevates him to hero status in my eyes. His latest release is non-fiction, 'The View from the Cheap Seats'. Some selected quotes from Credo, one of the articles in that book, follow:
'I believe that it is impossible to kill an idea because ideas are invisible and contagious, and they move fast...'
'I do not believe that burning, murdering, exploding people, smashing their heads with rocks (to let the bad ideas out), drowning them or even defeating them will work to contain ideas you do not like. Ideas spring up where you do not expect them, like weeds, and are as difficult to control'...
'....I do not have the right to kill you, maim you, hurt you or take away your liberty or property because I find your ideas threatening or insulting or downright disgusting. You probably think some of my ideas are pretty vile too...'
'I believe that in the battle between guns and ideas, ideas will, eventually, win. '
I hope he is right on that point in particular. I so hope he is right.
The lovely dinahmow also sent me this quote, also by Gaiman.
'What I tend to see happening more and more is people retreating into their own corners. People seem scared to get things wrong or be shouted at so they form villages in which they agree with every other member, and maybe they go out and shout at the people in the next village for fun, but there’s no interchange of ideas going on. I think we have to encourage the idea that you’re allowed to think things. I have thought a great many stupid things over the years, and I can tell you that there’s not one stupid thing that I ever thought where I changed my mind because someone shouted at me or threatened to kill me. On the other hand, having great discussions with good friends, possibly over a drink, has definitely changed my mind and made me try to do better. You’re allowed to do better, but we have to let people do better '
The View from the Cheap Seats is a long book, but most of the articles in it are short. I will be savouring it for some time to come. I will probably agree with him most of the time, but I am confident that I don't agree with him I need have no fear that he will send someone round to sort me out...