I hope that 2018 began well for you. In this irregular “out of my bubble” newsletter, you will find a new year challenge, an invitation and a quote.
1. New challenge - 2018 as a "contempt-less" year
A year ago, I challenged you to have an "out of my bubble conversation" and thanks to many of you who did and talked to me about it. This year, obviously, a new challenge: what about making 2018 a "contempt-less year?"
Why? In the discussions we lead in "our bubbles" I often catch others and myself expressing contempt for supporters of other parties and candidates. But contempt is a very toxic emotion - for example, in a marriage, it is the biggest predictor of divorce. In a recent article about cashiers in Czechia, feeling contempt from customers is one of their biggest complaints. Who would you vote for if you felt treated like "vermin" (in their own words) on a daily basis? This is not rocket science - if I feel contempt for the voter of an extreme party (and express it to her - in person, on Facebook, in the media), I am increasing the probability that she will vote for the extreme party again.
Please let me know how you are doing with this challenge. There is lots of talk in Czechia, in the UK and in the US about divided societies. So maybe our "contempt-less 2018" could be a small contribution towards depolarization.
I would love to invite you to our village carnival on February 10th in Prague - Suchdol. After our first ever street party last autumn (great occasion to get out of my bubble - tables on the street, lots of wiener schnitzel and nearly 100% attendance), this is an occasion to celebrate with everybody, locals and visitors. And to dress up - as per photo below!
As many of you live far away, maybe a different invitation for my US friends - why not join Better Angels on their drive to depolarize America? You can get trained as a moderator and organize workshops to bridge the blue-red divide.
3. An aspirational quote, from the very cool new Openmind platform ran by the Heterodox Academy: “Look to your own faults. / What you have done or left undone. / Overlook the faults of others.” Buddha, The Dhammapada
Thanks for reading! Wishing you a great year!
P.S. Two of my favorite books on this topic from 2017: Timothy Snyder's essay On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century is slightly scary. And David Goodhart's provocative analysis about the split between the "somewheres" and the "anywheres" will make you think!