Rightness of wrongness Wrongness of rightness

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Timothy Bateson 1926 – 2009                               As an older actor, he gave a most affecting Mr Dick in the 1974 BBC serialization of David Copperfield. As a young man, he won a scholarship to Wadham, Oxford.

I love being wrong. It means another thing’s about to reveal itself, better to be understood.

It was shocking to realize some years ago that mine is neither a popular perspective nor, if actually grasped, one to secure empathic acknowledgement. Indeed, someone to whom the idea of my ambivalence towards being right struck him as proof of imbecility withdrew from the professional friendship lest tainted by the association.

What does it mean to be wrong? To lack true knowledge, to misunderstand the facts, to see the world differently from the majority? To know there’s more to discover?

Perhaps better to ask what does it mean to be right?

Rightness appears to hold to itself a moral, intellectual authority ~ a necessary and sufficient condition to silence opposing views. It is right until the fashion, framework or facts change. It infers we know that of which we speak.

Shutting down dialogue seems far worse than being mistaken. And is it just me or does your heart also shake a bit when someone dismisses your concern in virtue of the economic sense it may or mayn’t make?

Mr Dick was never mean, false or cruel and Betsy Trotwood valued his clarity though the world found him a simpleton. Weaponizing being right doesn’t place Right on your side: it merely makes brittle that which ought to have movement and flexibility.

Answers oughtn’t close down deeper questions. Greater expectation may be captured in continuing to wonder?

[You knew, ‘ course, the Viking word for responsibility is ansvar]

💥 David Copperfield was written and published through May 1849 to November 1850. Great Expectations was first published in serial form in Dickens’ weekly periodical All the Year Round, from December 1860 to August 1861.

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New word alert – Avianity

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© Derek Eland                                                                            Little Langdale II

Rather splendidly, it seems gardeners aren’t the only ones for whom the light rain yesterday was a blessing. This day dawned and by Six, the sun was already at 30° in the sky and fiercely warm. But what made this morning different from the last was the response from the song birds who’ve been dejectedly mute of late.

Euphoric chirruping, while not cacophonous as April’s claxon, was boogyingly buoyant and appeared thrilled by the refreshment of their surroundings. Here’s a link to what we said then.

The dry, hard earth’s yielding few slugs and while it’s a less sticky walk if you’re bare-foot through the meadows, it means the birds have less to eat. [Indeed, voles have had a hard time of it too: none seen since February’s glut. Nuff said.]

One need only listen to the avianity billowing from trees, bushes and hedges to ponder the infinite fragility of balance of which humanity is the custodian. Birds: sentient, alive, alert, react as any other creature when their existence is enrosied. Their expression of joy is audible – while a grey heron simply bounced along the rooves of canal boats such was its rejuvenation.

Thus, rather than an exception, wouldn’t it be simpler to make kindfulness-to-our-surroundings the rule and do what we can to nourish Earth and her atmosphere? Replenish: strike a chord?

Sophisticating football

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© BBC                                                                                                  HMS Victory

It is heartening to listen to sports commentors speak of the emotional intelligence of Gareth Southgate and his approach to managing the young England football team.

When he was appointed in November 2016, we noted his manner and self-knowledge bode well for the future of English football.

While Croatia’s fair victory curtailed England’s voyage of self discovery, this “team in the making” as Barry Davies described them on the radio, will set sail on others, taking with them fuller awareness of their potential, fuller wind in their sails.

From a dispassionate stance, it’ll be interesting to discern the team’s current mettle by virtue of its last match to determine Third/Fourth place at the World Cup.

Even if one is not bitter in life, there is still danger to become sour which is why acceptance and release matters. Unless this casting off occurs, moving on can’t happen. With Southgate at the helm, in England we can now expect every man will do his duty.

Shark Market of Al-Hodeidah

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©  Robert Harding                                                  A Great Hammerhead Shark    Simply couldn’t face an image of the market. So much death, so little hope

For the longest time, this Blogos has wanted to talk about Yemen: the aching tragedy, the annihilating trauma, the febrile waste, the biblically inexhaustible march of plagueful horror.

At the port of Al-Hodeidah there once was a shark market. Mebbie there still is? If you went, first thing in the morning, you’d find a tennis court sized space the floor of which would be strewn with shark carcasses. The defiance of their dead eyes seeped out sightlessly, a dismal, undignified end for such unstooping creatures.

Grey and Whitetipped Reef are shorter than Scalloped Hammerheads which, in turn are shorter than the Tiger Shark: all lay as individuals in a shattering anxiety of death. The excruciating continuation of that image, observed twenty-five years ago between the first Gulf War and their second civil war, ricochets through the mind now, given this unending, unyielding belligerence of Yemen’s warring, autonomy-craving factions.

Huth, a small town west of the Sana’a to Sa’dah highway, was a feisty place back then. But it wasn’t murderous. How did it transform into a crucible of reaction?

When individuals are denied their inalienable right to a dignified life, it grates the spirit. That rough exterior can’t be soothed with liniment.

It seems, in the case of Houthi’s rebels (inspired by dissident Zaidi cleric Hussein Badreddin al-Houthi) who assassinated Ali Abdullah Salleh on their way trying to rid the country of Saudi, Jordanian, Moroccan and US forces, that their only hope is for dignity in death.

But as the sharks could show, lack of life removes possibility of redemption.

The port is a lifeline for a population drowning in misfortune. The North produces Qat and little else while the South is fertile if cultivated. War has severed all conceivable arteries of assistance.

If peace is to settle over this extraordinary country and fiercely tribal, bewildered people, all foreign military interests have to leave … them in peace. If this happens, (notwithstanding the Cholera, child mortality, poverty, absence of infrastructure, furiously vested interests) the Yemenis will sort it out for themselves: Insha’Allah.

Bilderberg – mounting a picture of progress

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Image: looking north west over Turin

“The Bilderberg Meeting is an annual meeting designed to foster dialogue and discussion between Europe and North America … bringing together individuals who share an active interest in affairs relevant to the relationship between [them]. There is no desired outcome, there is no closing statement, there are no resolutions proposed or votes taken.”

“An invitation to this group [supervenes on] whether participants can bring an interesting perspective to the discussions and invited by virtue of the different point of view they offer.”

“The first meeting took place in Hotel De Bilderberg in Oosterbeek, Netherlands, from 29 to 31 May 1954. Representatives from economic, social, political and cultural fields were invited to hold informal discussions to help create a better understanding of the complex forces and major trends affecting Western nations in the difficult post-war period.”

So, plus ça change.

Fostering dialogue and understanding is a Good on any measure. Participants are figures on the kind of global stage where the curtains rarely open and whose actors move quietly behind the scenes as well.

Here’s the list of the delegates.

Were the shroud of privacy to be lifted, it’d be interesting to listen to how the recent introduction of business brinkmanship to North American politics is discussed by this distillation of Davos.

Mebbie, it’s precisely the ingredient needed to ignite fresh thinking? Mebbie, in Turin this week, the dialogue fostered within The Bilderberg Meeting might sift to the surface the largest stone to polish it a bit?

* text in “inverted commas” is lifted from the Bilderberg site

Ils font un singe de nous

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Feet held to the fire singe quickly, it seems.

With everything and nothing going on, it’s been remiss of us not to record some kind of emotionally literate response to it all. We do so now in virtue our ears have received a metaphorical box for neglecting implications to the wider world.

There’s a reason. Perplexed to the point of paralysis, we can’t quite emerge from under the dismay of acrasia — which you know to mean weakness of will.

The world, through inertia or frantic stupidity or disbelief or acrasia, has enabled what we euphemistically term pinball wizards* to wrest power in countries around the globe. Turkey, USA, Russia, Syria, Venezuela, the UK, North Korea – though there its people aren’t culpable – Poland, Israel, Hungary [beddastopthere, Ed].

What are we doing? What are we thinking? This is how things went awry in Weimar Germany. We have to wake from this vaccuous torpor which has levered malign imbeciles into positions that determine how we live.

This, doubtless, is not what was expected when feet were released from their crisping: the Sussex’s wedding, the unfurling of a balming Spring – both worth reflection. Nonetheless, emotional intelligence is not a comfortable candy-floss for the weak. It is naked in the face of interrogation and sticks out its tongue at detractors who know little of truth.

*Pinball wizard: described by Elton John on The Who album Tommy. If unfamiliar with the lyrics, we infer being a stranger to veracity, integrity, professionalism by virtue of lacking sight, hearing and speech.

Birds do it

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Image                                                                     Not that sort of Blackbird, Ed

You know those vehicles whose engines leap at the touch of an accelerator? Well, in this part of the world, Spring sprang out at us on Sixth April. By Tenth, cherry blossom had done its work and last week, the grass had the bounce of a recently sprung trampoline – adult size.

Listening to avian conversation has been a delicious splooosh, refreshing memory of the busyness of this time of year: students throwing all-nighters in wild and frantic revision, corporate budgets finalized for next year and clothes pulled from winter wrappings and shaken back into life by a promisingly warm breeze. Yet, it’s the banter of birds that concerns us.

Watching Blackbirds converse is almost eves-dropping. Their bold chirrup ends with a full-stop at which they hold themselves statuesquely still. They’re listening for the response. Once you too have tuned in and found that cheerful song, it’s euphorically simple to follow the dialogue.

Chatterboxes? I wouldn’t be able to get a word in such is the buoyancy of chatter. Anthropomorphizing with abandon, you really hear nest-building progress, shopping lists, diary co-ordination, family updates and choice of supper. Occasionally, they appear to make jokes. It’s stunning.

It seems endlessly reassuring that Listening is important in all worlds, not merely mammalian.