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The genius of nuance

Posted by Simon Parke, 20 July 2017, 5.59am

Let us suppose that human civilisation is the opposite of human brutalisation.

And ponder the difference.

Brutalisation is the stupid climate of tyranny, where rainbows are declared black and white

While civilisation is the enlightened climate of nuance

Where the seven colours of the rainbow are just the start of the story

Which, of course, is why we don’t applaud politicians, why we don’t chant their names.


We can vote for them if we wish; but we won’t wave banners, as if somehow they are the answer.

It never ends well…and we might make tyrants of them.

They might begin to believe in their black and white, stupid-as-mince cause

Warm to their dishonest certainty

To their particular telling of the story

To their sheep and goats world view

In short, applause encourages a foolish simplification of strategy and can encourage tyrants, who hate nuance with a passion

because nuance dismantles their labels

and disturbs their simplification of the world in which lives

The violent librarian

The honest thief

The bigoted freedom fighter

The magnificent Brexiteer

The greedy Trades Unionist

The depressed clown

The selfish nurse

The compassionate Tory

The jealous bishop

This human race is not black and white

So for the sake of civilisation, we don’t applaud politicians or chant their names.

It may stir in them the small-time tyrant, stoke their dishonest certainty, their selective discernment, their inaccurate labels

When civilisation is built on the truer and kinder way of nuance

On the truth there are no good and bad people or nations

Only the speckled

All mess and magic

The controlling charity worker

The enlightened accountant

The lazy victim

The gentle fundamentalist

The hateful mother

The generous Kensington and Chelsea counsellor

The kind paedophile

Oh… and the Good Samaritan.

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