For my part, I discovered years ago that most problems will resolve themselves if one ignores them long enough and fully intend to take that approach with this new mutiny of our future technological overlords. I have no desire to create unrealistic expectations for the future lest I be put to work. I prefer a more sedentary life. In fact, the only remarkable difference between a tree and myself is the fact that a tree produces oxygen while I consume it. Well, perhaps a tree can be moved a little more easily as well.
Speaking of moving, there is a lot of that going on in the old hotel today. My son is moving to a new place and so freeing up a desirable room which creates a moving ripple effect down the entire hierarchy. None of this involves me of course, everyone knows I am a tree.
So everything I ever asserted about freedom and responsibility turns out to have been wrong. ( Yes, I know I need to work on my segues.) Likely everything else I have stated is also incorrect but who has the time for that! For these many years that I have been a father, I have advocated that we should recognise the coupling of responsibility with freedom. That in exercising our right to free speech we should also take care to keep our discourse from being offensive. This view was challenged in my weekly chat with my son. Apparently, my fatherly wisdom has failed to germinate. I was forced to contemplate and revisit the issue that I thought I had tucked permanently to bed those many years ago. I was less than pleased to discover the problems inherent to my long-held perspective. The older I get, the less I know. The less I know, the less I wish to know.
This subject was generated by my own criticism of our nations Governor General’s recent disparaging remarks about religious people, superstitious people, and climate change deniers. I considered that she ought not to have said what she did while representing a nation made up primarily of these same groups of people. My son, having inherited some tendency of disagreeableness, ( from his mother’s side I am sure) put it that, one should express exactly what one thinks of a given matter. If people are offended, it may have an effect, but the communication will be legitimate. I am not quoting him verbatim, but this is what I understood. So I grudgingly mulled over this perspective and have decided I will have to give him the win on this one.
Upon reflection, it now seems to me that by policing our speech to the result where we avoid offence to others we force our thinking into secretive recesses of our own minds where they can reproduce without consequences and create an illusory world of their own. While this is taking place, we maintain a false presence in society while potentially becoming worse people in thought. If we were not capable of facetiousness, allowing every person we interacted with to see with perfect accuracy the ideas in our minds what would the results be?
I expect that if this were suddenly sprung upon us, we should, in many cases, be quite alarmed and perhaps slightly taken aback with revulsion at the real thoughts of people around us. Some of us might indeed find ourselves to be utterly friendless. In the longer term, however, it ought to have the effect of changing our actual thinking in at least two ways. We should become less judgemental of others while also becoming more careful about which ideas we deem worthy of our own mental and emotional real-estate. It also occurs to me that little would change in real life since we seem intuitively aware of what possesses the minds of our peers to a large extent, as is. Some people creep you out don’t they?
So the upshot is, roughly speaking, that policing your speech is really just lying to your own ultimate detriment, but the careful weighing of your thoughts while practising honest communication could hold promise for improvement of self and society as a whole.