Difficult conversations

By Chris Ogle on July 16th, 2020

In a previous blog, we discussed the idea that we are all humans first and foremost, and that we have much more in common than we do differences, even in these polarising times.

The topic of this blog, about difficult conversations, is to observe ourselves as we very quickly slide into disbelief when someone questions we know something that is an absolute truth (in our opinion). Not only disbelief, but anger and negative thoughts about what could possibly have happened to this person to even consider such a viewpoint.

For the purposes of this blog we will use the whole question of climate change. You might quite rightly (in your opinion) say, now you have gone too far this time. Everybody with half a brain knows climate change is a fact, and that we’re heading for 2-3c higher temperatures (globally) and we have probably gone beyond the point of control.

Before I even ponder the possibility of a counter story on this, let’s bring our attention to your initial thoughts. Anger, stupidity, gone too far this time, dangerous, why are you putting Link4Grow’s reputation at risk here? Then there might be… what will people say? A thousand and one critical thoughts and fear of how people might react.

Why Link4Growth has even invested in planting oak trees as part of it’s green, sustainability and environmental program. Why ruffle the feathers? … why put this subject of all subjects in the firing line?

… and so… judgement has been passed. “Group think” on climate change, and the security of a massively accepted idea has carried the day. But it isn’t just this one idea is it?  Big as it is...

As with much much smaller groups, loud, charismatic, persuasive personalities often lead the charge of what the “group” will do. Maybe they represent only 20% of the actual folk, but they soon bludgeon a further 40% and together with the original 20% we have a large enough majority.

Back to the point of the climate change discussion… it wasn’t a discussion at all was it? No request for information about why someone thought the way they did, rather, incredulity that anyone would even consider the less popular viewpoint.

Our communities are rife with such attitudes and this is creating an even bigger challenge for us all. Not only do we now have division, but we now have the inability to air views for fear of retribution. Has anyone refrained from posting onto a Facebook thread because they fear the judgment, subsequent wrath and trolling of another keyboard warrior? … Maybe we all have at some time or another, not nice. Nowadays we are in FEAR of being able to share our view, air our thoughts and say what we want to say. We are entering dangerous territory. 

We can no longer speak our mind for fear of upsetting someone, causing offence, or being unfriended. How are we to expand our horizons these days? 

This is the point of this blog… how very easy is it to slip without thinking into a judgement of another… and most importantly how very very difficult it is to enter into a discussion where these really important topics of our time can be discussed openly and without creating a veritable war zone.

Unless we can find a way to bring these difficult topics to the table, and be willing and open to accept our different perspectives, really, where do we go from here? Back to the previous blog, if we are to co-create a different, more harmonious future there is a lot of work to do in this arena.

Chris is passionate about community and has been involved with Link4Growth and community building since the start in 2012. Chris now devotes most of his time to facilitate connection, collaboration and community in the district of South West Herts as well as supporting the Link4Growth Association.

Blog Author

Chris Ogle