I will be really glad when today is over. I have tried to stay away from the UK Referendum news for many weeks. It’s been a difficult task filtering out all the news items, social media comments and overheard conversations about this topic. In what seems like an endless process there has been so much said that confusion reigns. Why do we try so hard to influence one another? There is an assumption that people need to know the ‘truth’ so they can make an informed choice. But what is the truth? How much filtering has been going on?
I’m not going to rehash the debate here. My desire to vote is about retaining a right that was hard won. Women struggled for me to have a vote and I believe if I don’t use it I loose it. I also know that walking away from anything takes a lot of time and effort especially where the law is involved. So I’m not expecting big changes tomorrow morning whichever way the vote goes. Sadly that also includes the fact that filtering the truth happens all the time.
We seem to have opted for an adversarial way of choosing what is for the greater good. I remember watching Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan and listening to Spock’s dying words. “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few”. Perhaps the scriptwriters put that in as an aspiration. Certainly Gene Rodenburry who created the series included ethical debates in the program. His characters behaved in altruistic ways though challenged by their human emotions. So what about the needs of the many? I’m not sure that we ever think about the many at all. When I do listen to the news it seems we act rather more from ‘the needs of the few outweigh the needs of the many’.
Instead of calm, ordered and wide ranging debate we are presented with polarised positions. Everything is black or white. No pun intended. The way that division by race, ethnicity and culture has been woven into the Referendum debate is shocking. So too is the floating of entirely speculative statistics and economic information. The words used have been chosen to raise fear, increase insecurity and generate panic. Filtering everything through the lense of these polarised positions means the same information is presented very differently. And far less clearly that ought to be the case.
The Referendum is only the latest example of the needs of the few being considered as our yardstick for making decisions. We seem to be stuck in a repeating pattern. A pattern wher it’s ok to filter out those bits of the argument that weaken our claims. Or shout them down. Or hide them altogether. Is this a way for grown ups to conduct themselves when making decisions that affect other peoples lives? I’ve asked my Guides how we change this. How do we change ourselves so that the decisions we consider first are the humanitarian ones? How do we focus on building hope not fear? How can we act so that we recognise every single person on this planet has value? Has a right to life, shelter, food, warmth, community?
My Guides have brought me back to the starting point. We have to learn to value each child on this planet. We have to see that what we do they inherit. We have to be brave enough not to accept the filtering of information, of decision making, of facts. We have to find our individual voices so that we can start to speak as communities. We have to reject fear as a way to live. If we want peace and harmony we have to create it. We have to learn to love one another unconditionally. Most important of all we have to learn to love ourselves unconditionally first. Then we will be ready to act for the needs of the many.
Day 220 of my blogging challenge.