Monday, December 01, 2008
The Dumb, Dumb, World of Malcolm Gladwell - Reply
Andrew Orlowski wrote the article linked in the title of this posting. Not knowing Malcolm Galdwell or even reading any of his books I thought I could reply to Andrew's article unbiased, and answer his question, "how can we explain the demand."
Here is the quote that sends Andrew over the edge, "...In embracing the diversity of human beings we will find the true way to human happiness."
Although Andrew dismisses that comment as a "hallmark" greeting card he forgets a bit of stark, dark, unfortunate reality. Here is my response to Andrews article
"...In embracing the diversity of human beings we will find the true way to human happiness."
Andrew, unfortunately not everybody believes or accepts that “hallmark” remark that you dismiss as an obvious truth – a known – known - if you will. There are people who are dying, killing not only themselves but others for the “sameness” of religion, of politics, of behavior, of thought, of financial systems, of lifestyles and behavior. In fact across the board people fear different behavior, ideas, and attitudes and a vast majority never thinking for themselves, blindly accepting, and assuming, go along to get along in choosing their ideas, loves, identities and behavior, to the point of mimicking the behavior, dress and even dialogue of celebrities, personalities and talking heads. They spew back in casual conversation the talking points of the evening news, radio broadcasts, and papers regurgitating political spin.
47% of the voters in the U.S. voted for McCain and Palin – does that not speak to the lack of awareness about the inherent good in diversity - wanting only to “drill baby drill” to find future energy sources…unwilling to embrace diverse ideas (wind, solar thermal, geothermal...etc)? I would put to you Andrew that the guy with the fro I’m only now just learning about him (Malcolm Gladwell) is speaking perhaps a known and respected truth to some, but hardly a known and respected truth understood by all. That the stating of what may seem obvious needs to be preached outside of the choir, but the choir confronted with the violence and outright, unfounded, hatred that is resistant to diversity and unaware of it’s benefits - from Dick Cheney to the Taliban – would like to hear it again, and again. Hoping that those so fearful of diversity and “other cultures” and those who rejoice in the sameness of it all, as comforting instead of stifling come to realize the full magnitude and beauty of diversity and the cornucopia of life in all its many forms and ways.
Being a contrarian only takes you so far. Someday when respect is finally paid to "different" perhaps we will finally live in balance and harmony within our environment, upon our earth and with each other. Until then let the dude in the wild fro speak and others as well who would carry a message of understanding and acceptance other than fear and hate and violence.
Good for us who understand variety is the spice of life. The more who speak to that theme will hopefully accelerate the acceptance of the misunderstood, the different and rejoice in our own individual ways the existence of not more of the same but the variety, and the "different", of art, culture, music, style, fashion, thought, belief, word, deed, and creation in all its infinite variety and glory. Perhaps then consciousness will one day float effortlessly upon this planet in harmony.
Until then destruction, war, greed, hatred and violence is perpetuated by those who fear diversity in thought, word and deed, contrary to the fact that immense diversity surrounds us all in every way and in every day throughout our lives and mutual existence across the globe and where we live. Diversity makes us richer, and fulfills us in ways unimaginable to the sameness of it all. Rent the movie Pleasantville for a fun refresher course.
Just because an idea is simple to state doesn’t make it any less profound, true or worth repeating. Good for those unafraid by the politics, fashion or time of man who speak out the universal truths that obviously we don’t all embrace. Don't resent the Gladwells of the world when they find an audience desperate in the shrill of intolerance. That there is an an audience - "a demand" - in a world of humans waging war and killing each other for money, power, and greed that perpetuates fear as a tool of manipulation is more than understandable.
The only thing to fear is fear and the only thing to hate is hate - simple, true and worth repeating.