“The opposite of love is not hate, it's indifference. The opposite of art is not ugliness, it's indifference. The opposite of faith is not heresy, it's indifference. And the opposite of life is not death, it's indifference.” ― Elie Wiesel
Good morning 🌅.
I had a better night's sleep but I was still awake at 4.10 am and at my home desk by 5 am. No cranberry juice this morning, just coffee.
I don't feel too bad: the energy flows, the fingers type and my mind is alert to what's arising.
And before you say it, yes, I know I'm a bit off the beaten track from the new narrative that I talked about last Saturday but I did, if that's OK, wanted to share a few thoughts on the above title before I head off to tackle another day of wringing the bejeesus out another legal document.
(I do wish that I wasn't having to spend quite so much of my energy thinking about the subject area but that's life, right?)
A while back I read Stephen Jenkinson's masterful book, Come of Age: The Time for Elderhood in a Time of Trouble. In it, he talks about his years in the Death Trade which to you and me is palliative care. Somewhere, midst that and his observations on our lack of elderhood, he referred to the never-to-be-forgotten phrase "benign indifference". And then and now, it hit me how apt that was to describe so many of the work environs and places I've had the displeasure to work in and occupy. On the surface, it looks like everyone is going about their everyday business, but (at least to me) there's an entrenched sense of: "...what's the bloody point?".
Of course, that's a massive and unsubstantiated statement but how many times have you worked somewhere or attended a place only to be left with the clear or at least hazy impression that people have given up, gone AWOL or left altogether from engaging with what there there to do?
Why is that?
Was it always like that?
And what would it take to enable them to reconnect?
The truth is I don't have the answers.
It's not that I haven't tried to discover what really floats a few souls' boats — I did operate in the rarified or is it the BS world of management consultancy for a while — but at some stage, I simply gave up. Oh, the bloody irony of it. Yes, I gave up trying to point people in a different direction to the drudgery of work, the (often) ineptitude of management and the complete absence of leadership or at least a variety that wasn't de facto ego-based, not love-based.
And I know why?
Because (or so it seems to me) no one was prepared to challenge the status quo let alone act out their talk in their day-to-day actions. Oh, sure, privately they'd declare how sh*t things were, but when it came to making a difference, or even saying what they really thought, they suddenly vanished or became mute.
At the time, it bugged the crap out of me, but these days I'm much more sanguine, dare I say relaxed, about the world of work. (Perhaps, I'm displaying the same level of benign indifference as my forebears 🤣.) I take it one day at a time and as long as I feel I've done a good job, or one to the best of my ability, I'm fine with the rest of it.
For obvious reasons, I'm not going to say too much about my current employer but if I was so minded, and perhaps inhabiting my 20-something body, I'd let rip, whatever the consequences. Errm, that's not quite true. I'm not dumb enough to kill the Golden Goose but I sure as hell wouldn't sit on the fence allowing things to go unsaid.
But, actually, there's another part of me, the wiser part I'd like to think, that wants to have a very open, honest and level-headed conversation as if, almost, I was the grandfather type. I wouldn't enter the space with any expectation save, perhaps, hearing people into speech; and I'd drop 'I've-all-the-answers' stilted routine and just let the silence claim me.
But what of the world more generally? Are we indifferent to the parlous state of nature? It certainly looks that way but then again, what can we do other than row back a little from our consumption, try to pollute less and be kinder, gentler along the way. I don't know, again. Every time I stop to think about it, and I mean really think about it, I get quite emotional. I feel that I've taken so much and cared so little. And I've no business — none whatsoever — to cast aspersions on anyone when I'm the dock too.
In the end, and without trying to run away from the problems, perhaps rather than trying to fix every them all, I should concentrate on trying to be a kinder, more loving person. In fact, over the last couple of days I've been returning to a saying that I read over 30 years ago (I think it's from Napoleon Hill): don't criticise, condemn or complain.
Right now, they seem wise words to enact.
Anyhow, I hope you have a wonderful day, even if it is a bag of mixed blessings.
Much love ❤️,