I’m missing space, the distance between things. We used to have space and then, somewhere along the line, we decided to fill it up. I don’t write about politics or social issues. Sometimes I get in trouble for commenting on science when I let someone know they’re a little eschew on their understanding of a theory or law and I can hear Laura saying, “don’t do it!” “You know what’s going to happen and it won’t be good for you.” So, I hit the delete key. I do this because there is no space. There is no space between what you want to say and what I want to say.
We used to have space. It wasn’t empty, it was occupied by discussion. The space between opinions was an area of dialog. It was helpful and fun to play in. We would listen and wait for our turn in the space and didn’t condemn an opinion or a stated position. We didn’t stick someone in a hole or burn a scarlet letter on their forehead; we talked about stuff and shared perspectives without venom. Sadly, it seems those days are long since passed, buried in the social evolution of instant expertise.
I’m not a doctor and thus neither am I a virologist, but apparently, a lot of my friends are. I missed out on the part where they went to medical school. I’m not a constitutional professor, but I’m amazed at how many of the people I know are. They feel they are perfectly at ease interrupting the founder’s ancient wishes. I just read a post by someone who’s utter and complete lack of knowledge about the subject made me want to just posture a slight shift in the discussion. But I didn’t.
Can We Be Wrong?
I have a science background that has aided in my thinking since 1978 and I readily admit when I don’t know something and would love to engage with someone who does know something. I would love to talk about it without the fear of someone throwing a brick or placing you in a well-worn silo filled with like thinkers.
I cannot remember the last time I was in a conversation about anything of matter that didn’t end poorly; pouted lips and shaking heads. Over talking into the space so that the other opinion shouters can’t get a word in edgewise.
I’m weary, tired to the bone.
I don’t need to be told to vote. In this upcoming election, no one needs a debate. No one will change their mind over their vote; they have been polarized for too long.
A Return to Civility
I’d like to evict the nastiness that is occupying the space. I’d like to put up a for rent sign – The space between us is open. We each get to spend some time in there while we figure something out. We might find common ground in that space. We might end up in opposition in that space, which is OK, that’s what the space is for, to find out, to think, to be open, and to listen.
I’m pretty sure that won’t happen. Step into that space and the arrows of dissent will fly and you or the other one will be mortally wounded.
It’s a shame that there isn’t any more space. I miss it.