On giving and taking offence; worthy of a New Year’s resolution?
I not one to make, let alone keep, New Years resolutions, however there was a very good commentary piece in The Age on 31/12/2012 which has made me reconsider that habit.
The anonymous piece reflected on the giving and taking of offence, with many examples from year 2012. Some quotes follow.
“Without doubt 2012 was a year of jangling discords, when our willingness to offend and our capacity to take offence steadily ate at civic life. Too many people stood on their sensitivities, and so the discussions that societies must have did not even get started…....The challenge is to grasp that a democratic mandate, however handsome, to set a new constitutional course, still requires a national consensus…..Regimes and movements all over the world seem to have decided that the best leverage comes from declaring that you have never been so insulted….What is most lamentable (about this tendency to take offence and to offend) is the corrosion of our ability to communicate….In 2013, let us resolve to dispense with sloganeering and work instead towards a just and equitable world, one that listens, seeks solutions, and debates without rancour”.
I resolve to try and do that.