Courage is defined as not the absence of fear, rather as actions taken in spite of fear. We’re all afraid of “the different” (a.k.a. everyone else). Because they’re not like us. And therefore we don’t know what they’ll do and why. The fact that this gem of knowledge eludes us about ourselves at most points in our lives isn’t something on which we usually dwell too much. Or we do and fear ourselves. In which case, me, myself and Irene find it hard to get along very well. But I digress.
It takes courage to listen to someone else. Especially someone so significantly different. Columbia University deserves at least honorary mention. How many of our beloved countries would offer the same opportunity to Rushdie, or Olmert, or Elton John, or Irshad Manji? Now of course it’s another story if a Ricky Martin concert is held the same day, and the audience is split, or redirected entirely. That’s freedom too, innit?
The trouble with consistency is that it’s not fun to practice! To continue my illusion of the person I think I am, I’ll have to allow one antithetical thought / opinion to reach me to live up to my own message. Fortunately, it’s easy to tune into any TV channel. About 5 minutes should give me enough to justify another few weeks of uninterrupted narcissism. So here goes… steady… breathe deep… I can do this… maybe.