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could you manage a little consideration and tolerance in the season of goodwill?


People seem to see things in such black and white terms these days. You love it or you hate it, or something is right or wrong with nothing in between. But is that really true? No of course it isn’t, but why can’t people be bothered to come to a considered decision.

What started me off on this topic was the Vince Cable affair of last week where yet another scam interview had elicited some ill judged remarks and Mr Cable was being pilloried. Now I don’t know the guy, and haven’t really paid too much attention to what he’s been up to since being thrust into office, but I do appreciate what the Government is trying to do in terms of getting us out of the hole the other mob had dug us into and my impressions of Mr C were that he wasn’t doing too badly in playing his part. But does what he said suddenly turn him into such a villain? I don’t think so, especially when compared with some of the conduct we have seen from public figures over the last 15 years or so.

As people we are not necessarily all good or all bad. Doing one good thing or making one mistake doesn’t necessarily move us far in one direction or the other either. There are degrees in all of these things that we ought to allow for.

Love and hate are very powerful emotions and are polar extremities with a wide spectrum in between, so why do people want to only be at one or other end of that range? I doubt that they really are, it’s just another example of poor use of language, exaggerating for effect rather than anything else. Personally I made a conscious effort to avoid hate a long time ago. It seemed like such a waste to me to hate something; to be generating the necessary degree of rage that would go with hate consumes so much energy that can be put to more positive things. I try not to even use the word in every day speech.

It is perfectly possible to neither like nor dislike something, or to just like or dislike something a little. You can like something some of the time, but not all of the time. There is no reason to even be consistent, let alone extreme, about these things. In the same way, right and wrong are not always absolutes.  Context plays a big part in understanding these things and that is where consideration and judgement come in.

Perhaps this is all just semantics and maybe the words don’t really matter, but I think that they do. If folks were to apply consideration and judgement a little more (are you listening Vince?) they could be a little more rational perhaps? One of my great sadness’s about modern Britain is in how selfish and inconsiderate people have become, so any move to improve that would have my support.

I wrote recently about the pendulum effect whereby allowing things to go to one extreme causes the inevitable backswing to the opposite end of the arc, and suggested that a bit more time in the tolerant middle ground would be beneficial in maintaining a more balanced and stable society.

Things aren’t always black or white, and things can, sometimes, be partly right or partly wrong. In the season of peace and goodwill my message is let’s all try to weigh things a little, be a bit more tolerant of others and to see things in a few shades of grey, or even a little colour.

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