October 2023

We can gain clarity and resolve to move from hateful, divisive rhetoric toward actions that validate the strength of positive, human connections to generate healthful change

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

A dear friend sent me the video of Bob Marley’s So Much Trouble in the World following our heartfelt discussion of the horrors of war unfolding before us.  Though released in 1979, the lyrics seem so on point to our world today, especially as the hate-filled, finger-pointing, blame-laden rhetoric pours out across social media, while losses mount, and hearts and bodies break. Despair, fear and hopelessness fills our visions, hearts and thoughts.

Word Cloud in the shape of a discussion bubbleIn the fog and noise of this condition, I believe we must be alert to being drawn in to political forces that benefit from our sense of confusion and fear.  We must instead consider the highly complex nature of our current challenges and how to take constructive action, optimally with strong, positive collaborations.

We have recently added to our list of Resources for Navigating Complex Issues and Communications a section titled Words, Rhetoric and Philosophies in Action, where we provide information about:

  •  Whataboutism, an argumentative tactic where a person or group responds to an accusation or difficult question by deflection. Instead of addressing the point made, they counter it with “but what about X?”.
  •  Sophistry, Reasoning that appears sound but is misleading or fallacious. In Metaphysics, Aristotle defines sophistry as “wisdom in appearance only.”
  •  Fallacies, a kind of error in reasoning.

We hope that by knowing more about these rhetorical ploys, we can listen to, read and see incoming information with greater critical thinking and watchfulness. We can then be better equipped to articulate and communicate, whether to friends, family or political representatives, about the qualities we want to see operational in our immediate and extended communities and how to work toward these outcomes.

Blue discussion bubbles with purple elipsesIn recent years, we published two particular thought pieces that we bring back here to offer perspectives and tools for coming together with others in our immediate and more extended circles to help identify the actual issues to be addressed, guide constructive action to address these issues and rekindle recognition for the importance of positive connections with others:

Yes, we have “so much trouble in our world!”  Yet, we must face these troubles, as Clause 1 of the UDHR Preamble implores, with recognition for the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family as the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world.

With appreciation and best regards,

Sandy Sohcot, Director

Additional Resources

“Put Down Your Phone!” from our newsletter, “From the Grateful Dead’s Uncle John’s Band, “Wo-oh, what I want to know is are you kind?”

Put it down
Just for a little while
A day, an hour—put down your phone
Creating stress no need for that
Too many times does it disconnect us from the moment
Put down your phone
Feeling the phantom vibration
You might be controlled by it
Using it an average 4 hours a day
That’s a waste of time
Put down your phone
We have the people around us
To chat with them and get to know them
Just for a little while a day or an hour
Put down your phone!

Using the UDHR to Guide Positve Action