Shouting loudly seldom works. Unless you’re on a mountain top, stressed to the hilt, and trying to release a barrel full of pent up rage. In every day situations, though, it rarely works. Yet, I am constantly amazed at how many people genuinely think that the louder they shout the better it is – for them, in terms of getting things done, and for the world, in terms of their opinion is always right.
I shout. At the TV. Or the newspaper. Quite often I’ll shout at the computer screen or my telephone – it’s a fancy smartphone, but doesn’t appear to be very smart when it freezes repeatedly, rendering it useless to me on the occasions when I actually need to make a phone call. So, yes, I shout, but I also recognise (I hope) that rational thought, good manners, patience, understanding and an ability to listen, mean that you get a whole lot more done than by shouting.
This blog is a shift from me shouting at the TV/newspaper/magazine/computer/telephone when the only people who can hear are me, my housemate and anyone else in close quarters, to my desire to engage in rational discourse, and offer my thoughts to a bigger audience. I have a history of debating, and experience of public affairs, so I like my opinions. And I like sharing my opinions. I don’t believe that they’re always right. But I do like to share them. The actual prompt for starting this was signing up to Twitter (I’m a late bloomer) and gaining access to so many new sources of information, opinion, debate and just stuff that interests me. I wanted to be able to expand on some of them with my own thoughts. Those opinions range from looking at what we want our cities to be, to arm-chair strategising the next political breakthrough in Northern Ireland – with a bit of photography, architecture and design thrown in for good measure. Not exactly Renaissance Man, but not exactly orthodox either.
Most importantly, and my motivation for so many of my own interests, is the notion that different ideas lead to different outcomes. My own belief is that, too often, we remain unthinking about the status quo, so I’ll often take a contrary position to “perceived wisdom.” More importantly, I also believe that we get overwhelmed by what we think it will take to change things. In reality, bit by bit, little by little, is what changes the world. No revolution happens overnight nor is it the result of one person. It’s about determination, collaboration and a recognition that we can all do our bit. This is part of my bit to change a small portion of events, so that, in Bobby Kennedy’s words, “Few will have the greatness to bend history itself, but each of us can work to change a small portion of events, and in the total of all those acts will be written the history of this generation.”
And, so, it begins…