My daughter came home earlier this week with burns on her arm. It was an accident at school involving hot oil, water, following her teacher’s instructions over her own instincts, with some instant repercussions. Worse still was her classmates castigation – that burned worse than the hot oil.

Respect for elders, and for authority, is a value that we have long spoken about with our kids. We’ve not spoken about the exceptions enough- the other side of the equation.  Standing up for yourself when the authority figure is stepping well beyond their remit, or abusing their authority.

Experiences such as the one she had this week are a reminder that nothing, even values, is black and white. We must learn from these experiences, kids and adults alike. We have to, or suffer the consequences.


Labour of Love

What brings people together, to forget their differences, to listen?

I started an experiment a few months ago, inviting a small group of people to listen in on conversations I would have. To eavesdrop, you might call it. There was no theme to the people I’d talk to. There was no official need for any one of my invited speakers to even do it. There was no need for me to do it either – it isn’t in my job description.  Yet, week after fortnight (oh, there was no consistency to it either :D), people would show up to these.  A handful at first. Then a few more, until it’s become a regular 70+ person attendance to these sessions. It’s swollen to 150 at times, and the conversations have sometimes gone well beyond the scheduled 55 minutes.

It’s incredibly satisfying to see this happen – a community form around a loose idea that humans around us are interesting, that they have a story to tell, and that we can all learn from each other. This is a labour of love, not a job and I’m grateful that I have the support to keep doing this week after week.

To my original question, what brings people together, to forget their differences, to listen? – I still don’t have an answer.

Spencerian: Arundati Roy

I ‘lost’ my phone today so a placeholder for the quote I wrote out today will have to do, until I pick it up tomorrow & take a picture of what I have written.

The quote I wrote out, which I found in today’s AWAD, is “Do we need weapons to fight wars? Or do we need wars to create markets for weapons?”

I wrote marketplaces instead of markets 😀

Everything Good Takes Time

Of late, I’ve been constraining my reading and listening/watching to a smaller set of people, but going deeper and longer than I’ve done before. Eavesdropping – how I like to think of podcasts – on these long form conversations  has been unlike much of the broad reading I have been doing for years.

What I do find really interesting is that even these deep, long conversations tend to cover a broad ground. It may sound obvious but an expert in a field does not mean she or he has knowledge only in that field.  Conversations like this or this for example give nuanced ideas from disciplines I didn’t even think existed, or new ideas from disciplines I thought I had some basic understanding of. I’m learning to let these ideas come to me rather than the other way round.

What’s most fascinating though is how these ideas start composing into newer forms in my mind. I’m not an academic, I’m simply interested in imagining how various combinations – people, ideas, things – might work together. Not all of them will. Maybe most of them won’t. When occasionally it catches on (I experiment with them at work mostly), I’m always amazed at the response I get.

“Everything good takes time” – Travis Oliphant to Lex Fridman