In response to yesterday...

A couple of reader comments to share and amplify

I’ll first start with these from Anna Purcell:

All rules and regulations and norms can be taken too far, you can over-optimize any vector. All good ideas taken past a certain point impinge on someone’s rights or preferences. Where that point is slides according to lots of things. Exercising judgement is hard — to begin with, and to live with — but nothing is tidy

In Jim speak? Everybody poops.

Anna was a city councillor in Nelson BC. She offered this following nugget:

We all kind of know this but in positions like the one I had on council you really see the gorgeous quilt of variety in your community (and therefor the world) and how we all move in these little circles with our more-or-less likeminded buddies, thinking we know what’s what and that we know how to solve all the world’s problems. I spent SO MUCH energy trying to show people how, whatever dream they have for the world, or our community, that vision is someone else’s idea of hell, and they’re just as passionate, articulate, educated (in their way) and entitled to their big feelings — so who wins?

This is the difficult dance of pluralism.

In my work, I help people come to these kinds of realizations about the world. Where I do my best work is in helping people both find their agency to speak up and their humility to allow themselves to be corrected. The notion that life is a gorgeous quilt of variety speaks to me. My wife loves quilting. Even more than quilting, she loves to create new things from the left overs, from the scraps.

Empathy comes from the humility of knowing that your great idea, could be hellish to someone else.

If we can find delight and gold with the scraps of our existence, how liberating could that be?

Anna went on to discuss how yoghurt works -community, culture, time, patience and leaving it alone.

When it comes to people who are changing, or who we wish we could change, it can be really effective to leave them alone. Let the culture do its work. Let them ferment.


Hope that they’re getting good bacteria.

Her conclusion?

Life is messy. That’s basically all there is to it.

Some people have a monstrously strong impulse to tidy.

Which is fine when you do it with your own house. No need to start cleaning the streets until you’ve scrubbed your toilet.


The dirt keeps coming…

Next, I'll highlight a great comment from Heather Anne Martin:

Who determines the right thing?


Whether we agree depends much on how much we have in common. In a diverse world, that can be, ahem, problematic.

I believe in a pluralistic society. And as such, this is something we need to endure while searching for common ground. Far too much energy these days is spent on what parts of our identity make us different. It seems like a desperate attempt to feel special in a universe that just doesn’t give a shit. How can we find the common ground?

But, if we acknowledge that no one is intrinsically above another; that we all have the human right to create ourselves in accordance with our wishes, and protect this right for ourselves and others, then what is right, given this doctrine, is often obvious, even if unpopular.

Yes. And can have some negative impacts on the world.

Problem is, we believe in equal rights and bodily autonomy until the exercise of these rights makes us uncomfortable.

As such?

I think that tolerance and patience are the way to go.

Total acceptance and inclusion of each other is a wonderful fantasy, an ideal that can not be reached.

I can’t do this with my wife, let alone people who don’t help me scratch my back and pop my zits.

But with a bit of love?

Tolerance and patience are practical and possible.

How do you tolerate the intolerable?


I like to play.