Like so many others I make my living through the use of words.
The words I use are formulated through a process.
Basically it breaks down as follows.
First of all the act of listening, and most importantly, hearing.
Then comes processing & understanding.
Once we understand then we can move on and begin the process of rephrasing, but not misrepresenting, what we have heard.
We then prepare and then deliver a final piece of work, such as a funeral ceremony.
This process is one I try and use in all my interactions with other people. You know, try and think before you speak. I don’t always succeed.
I sometimes fail to listen, as Mrs B will tell you.
I may hear but not fully understand. This is a common trait amongst human beings I fear!
In trying to understand what others have said, to comprehend their needs, requirements or meaning, you sometimes have to remove the political, social and perhaps even spiritual filters that make up your own philosophy for life. Or at least you might be prepared to accept that your perceptions may be coloured by those filters?
To be of use, I have to be open to so many possibilities. I have to be open minded and accepting that some people see the world differently to me because they experience life differently to me.
This preamble is leading to the point I’m trying to make today and tried to make yesterday in a Facebook post about the Black Lives Matters protests.
It should be possible, even in the snake pit of social media, to express an opinion or to pose a question (which asks you to think about things in a different way), without actually signalling support for one view or another.
You’re just thinking, listening, measuring the arguments and trying to comprehend why people do things that you might initially think are daft or dangerous - like march in protest in the midst of a pandemic.
So today I want to ask a question which I hope might make people think and then understand why people act differently.
And I hope we can do it without any judgemental diatribe. We can just be human and try and understand other humans.
Picture it: The Nottinghamshire coalfield, 1984 and it's the height of the Miner’s Strike.
People are picketing and protesting in large numbers. They want to secure their jobs and a future for their industry and their families.
Some of us were there and remember the passions that were aroused. It was a very hard time for many. Some families split asunder for ever. Everyone had an opinion and fought to defend their point of view.
Imagine now, in the midst of all this protest, a global pandemic occurs.
Ask yourselves this…do you think the striking miners would have just packed up and gone home?
Or do you think some of them would have fought on?
Do you think some might still have turned out to stand on picket lines, shoulder to shoulder with their work mates?
Still protested and gathered in enough numbers to show the government that this was so important they felt they had no choice but to ignore official advice?
Do you think you might just think about that?
And through your thought processes do you think you might find some understanding as to why people sometimes feel desperate action is needed?
You don't have to agree with it. Understanding isn’t approval.
And if you find that you can understand why a miner, or anyone, might stand up and fight for their job, (even though there are risks attached), can you now understand why people might fight for other things…like life?
Thats all I hoped for yesterday, today and tomorrow. That we can at least try and understand. And if we understand, maybe we don't judge so harshly?