Had a rather busy day yesterday, what with compiling a poetry collection to go off at the end of the week, then going to You and Me friendship group in the afternoon and Drink and Think in the evening. The latter was very good, I thought: a useful discussion which, though it didn’t reach any conclusions, did help to dissect the whole vexed question of Political Correctness and whether or not it has ‘gone mad’. Amongst other contributions we heard the sad story of someone who was hounded out of a job for using the word ‘Queen’ – not as a homophobic insult (though I’m not sure how insulting the word really is in that context) but meaning the monarch herself, my namesake. It sounded like a case of someone cynically using legislation to get someone they didn’t like out of a job – and that sucks. So, too, we decided, was using PC as a means of ticking boxes or looking as if you’re doing the right thing rather than actually wanting to do the right thing or believing in doing the right thing. It’s knee-jerking rather than conviction – and that, in my view, is where things have gone wrong. As I pointed out, if I’m the only woman in a particular workplace and people are making inappropriate comments, I want something behind me: I want a framework of legislation supported by social attitudes, otherwise I’m fighting these battles alone.
During the discussion it occurred to me to think about the importance of listening. This is not something most of us are good at – and I am no exception – but we can practise it, and through practice, get better. Here’s a great initiative I came across recently:
So here’s an idea: then next conversation you have with someone, make it a rule to really listen – even if they’re talking utter bullshit. Come to think of it, especially if they’re talking utter bullshit – the harder you listen, the more likely they are to realise that they’re not making sense.
And here’s some space to listen to the universe:
PS Oh, and the title was just about Dark Matter being a sort of ‘here-be-dragons’ sort of explanation for something when they don’t know what is actually there.