I am sitting in a beautiful square in Rhodes, and listening (not eaves-dropping mind you) to a conversation at the next table. There is that glorious mixture of long-term world travellers which can be encountered in many such moments across the planet. People who never settle, who keep moving and are odd/charming/unconventional/interesting/don’t quite fit in/charismatic…travellers. And someone at the table is saying how diabolical it is for children to have to adopt a religion at birth. He argues that not until they are of an age where they can decide for themselves would he introduce religion, at a time when they can make a choice. And he is saying this rather vehehmently and seemingly fairly uncompromisingly. And there does seem to be a bit of a mismatch between the democratic values of choice, understanding and tolerance that he is espousing and the way that he is expressing it.
And I was reminded of a time some years ago when I attended a lecture which went for a couple of hours, and the person was talking about the importance, relevance, meaning and value of conversation, of listening to others and having an exchange. As a lecture, it was fine. But it was indeed a lecture. And at the time, I was struck by what did indeed appear to be a certain irony when you consider the content of the evening and the form chosen for its delivery.
And I am struck constantly by this odd contrast. And I do wonder about what does seem like a lack of awareness. And I marvel at my own extraordinary ability to spot these flaws and inconsistencies. Because of course, being the smartest person in the world myself, I have absolutely no difficulty whatsover in seeing the blind spots in others. You know, it’s not easy being the smartest person in the world.