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Voorkant Hoggan 'I’m right and you’re an idiot' James HOGGAN
I’m right and you’re an idiot - The toxic state of public discourse and how to clean it up
Gabriola Island, Can.: New Society Publishers, 2016, 249 blzn.
ISBN-13: 978 08 6571 8173

[Weergave van een reeks interviews.]

(14) Prologue

Context: het milieu, bescherming ervan, opwarming van de aarde, klimaatwetenschap, etc.

"Over the next few years, I became interested in the role that misinformation and pseudoscience play in this change resistance problem, and the ways in which manufactured doubt and controversy can be used to stall the growth of public concern and block public policy solutions."(15)

"In 2009 I wrote Climate Cover-Up with Richard Littlemore, to take a deeper look at science propaganda and the widespread echo chamber of media and think tanks that magnify it."(15)

"... as I began doing interviews it became painfully clear that misinformation campaigns and propaganda are only part of the problem. I was pointed in the direction of one of the most urgent and unexamined human relations problems of our time: pollution in the public square, that literal and figurative place where we assemble to talk freely and debate honestly, where we seek truth without recrimination, whether on a street corner, in a blog, campus hall, political meeting, bulletin board or actual community square. How can we make space for real public conversations? How have we come to a time when facts don’t matter, and how can we begin the journey back to where they do? [mijn nadruk]"(15-16)

"I have interviewed political pundits, philosophers, moral psychologists, media gurus and social scientists, and have found that the intellectual environment is ripe for this discussion. They all agree that polluted public discourse is an enormous obstacle to change — and many of them have been looking into some aspect of this problem for a long time, some for their entire careers."(16)

"As French philosopher Bruno Latour explained, solving this critical situation will require seven billion people to completely transform almost every aspect of their lives. So it’s small wonder there is change resistance."(18)

"Vigorous discussion and debate are necessary in a healthy democracy, and we have to defend that right while protecting our public square for generations to come."(19)

(20) Part I - The Polluted Public Square

"A dark haze of unyielding one-sidedness has poisoned public discourse and created an atmosphere of mistrust and disinterest. In this first part of I’m Right we will examine how we all pollute the public square, and how we can make space for healthier dialogue."(20)

[We? Wij allemaal? Zijn er geen mensen die dat meer doen dan andere en die we verantwoordelijk moeten stellen voor dat gedrag? Zoals politici?]

(21) Section A - Smashing Heads Doesn’t Open Minds

(22) 1 - Like Ships In the Night with DANIEL YANKELOVICH

"Rosell said conspiracy theorists assume there is a clever plan behind such combative exchanges, but the scarier truth is that when it comes to today’s political posturing there is no great and clever plan: “Nobody is pulling the strings. It’s just out of control,” he said."(23)

"Yankelovich got right to the point when he said polarization is dangerous because it interrupts lines of communication and leads to gridlock. It stops us from tackling urgent problems because without consensus we cannot take effective action. Rather than highlighting our differences, he said we should be working toward finding common ground, and moving into a place where we can reserve judgment until we have considered other ways to approach controversial issues."(24)

[Ik vraag me af hoe naïef dit standpunt is. Stel je voor dat je als wetenschapper een discussie over de evolutie hebt met een creationist, iemand die gelooft in god en 'intelligent design'. Ik zie niet hoe je daar boven de verschillen zou kunnen staan of zelfs maar de illusie zou kunnen hebben dat er iets van 'common ground' zou kunnen zijn, laat staan dat je het samen eens zou kunnen worden over die evolutie. Soms is het onmogelijk en ongewenst om polarisatie te voorkomen. Dat standpunt suggereert de moderne opvatting dat er geen waarheid is, maar in veel gevallen is het heel duidelijk wat waar is en wat niet.]

"Taking a polarized attitude toward critical issues will inevitably yield answers that are dogmatic — and wrong — and keep us from arriving at truth."(24)

"Communicating under conditions of mistrust requires a different approach, said Yankelovich, who spent the first 30 years of his career in market research. Under these circumstances the first step is to acknowledge the skepticism or concern people feel, and then encourage them to reason why in this particular instance it isn’t applicable."(25)

"Communicating under conditions of mistrust and political polarization is very different than communicating under conditions of trust. When we understand these elements — inattention, mistrust and polarization — it’s clear why the truth about global warming has become so distorted."(26)

"During our interviews, Yankelovich and Rosell explained the clear differences between dialogue and debate: in debate we assume we have the right answer, whereas dialogue assumes we all have pieces of the answer and can craft a solution together [mijn nadruk]. Debate is combative and about winning, while dialogue is collaborative and focuses on exploring the common good. Debaters defend their assumptions and criticize the views of others, whereas in dialogue we reveal assumptions and re examine all positions, including our own.
I especially appreciated their comment that debate is about seeing weaknesses in other people’s positions, while dialogue is about searching for strength and value in our opponents’ concerns. This means approaching environmental issues with an open-minded attitude that we could be wrong and others could be right."(26)

"Yankelovich and Rosell have identified a process they call the public learning curve that describes maturing public opinions, where people’s views evolve from poorly informed reactions to more thoughtful conclusions. The three-stage process begins with building awareness and consciousness (where advocates and the media typically do a good job). The second stage involves working through wishful thinking and denial, resistance to change and mistrust, grasping at straws, deliberate obfuscation and lack of urgency (which is where dialogue comes in). The third part of the learning curve is when people come to resolution (which is handled by decision-makers and governance institutions)."(28)

(30) 2 - The Advocacy Trap with ROGER CONNER

"Conner says that most of us aren’t evil, and good people sometimes do bad things for good reasons. If we don’t understand that, we fall into something he calls the advocacy trap, which happens when we come to believe that people who disagree with us are wrongdoers. This judgment causes us to become locked into such a foe stance that we lose sight of our purpose. People can’t collaborate to solve global or systemic problems when we treat one another as enemies."(31)

"Solutions were evolving wherever members of the community and police worked collaboratively, where people were suspending areas of disagreement and seeking common goals."(32)

"Conner said there are two obvious ways to change behavior — by pushing and pulling — and one less obvious way involving collaboration. The push approach makes a person do something whether they want to or not, and the pull strategy involves cajoling someone through education, incentives or warnings. The third option operates like a well-functioning community team and entails solving specific problems through deep forms of collaboration in which participants may agree to disagree on other matters."(33)

"This leads to what Conner calls the advocacy trap. People don’t start out as enemies — it happens in stages. When people disagree with us, we first question their views, but eventually we question their motives and intentions. When they persist in their disagreement with us, we start to perceive them as aggressors. When they criticize our cause or condemn our reasoning, our defense mechanisms kick in. We are offended and start to get angry. When both sides in an argument draw their stance from the perceived behavior of the other, people eventually start treating each other as not just wrong, but as wrongdoer, and then as enemies. Once that happens, it is almost impossible to do anything over a sustained period of time other than futilely push one another.(...)
"Few of us practice this skill of not letting our perceptions control our attitudes, and as a result we hand over control of a vital part of our cognitive machinery to someone else."(36)

"The antidote is to develop a greater capacity for self-awareness and self-control, because “resentment is like a drug. It feels good to go home and say: ‘Those assholes! Those jerks! Those liberals. Those conservatives... I’m right, they’re wrong.’” Self-righteousness becomes a fuel that can justify “damn near anything.”"(36)

"Start by assuming others’ intentions are good, and believing the leader of an organization deserves respect."(37)

(38) 3 - Mistakes Were Made (But Not By Me) with CAROL TAVRIS

"What fuels human beings’ obstinate behavior, irrational justification and confrontational opinions in the face of convincing arguments and information?"(38)

"Tavris and Aronson explain so simply, so elegantly, why a person can discard your point and adopt a counter position, almost regardless of what you say. I began to understand that some people are not listening because of a whole set of reasons I had not previously considered."(38)

"Scientists are used to changing their thinking, are constantly putting their ideas to the test, risking being shown their hypothesis is wrong. But cognitive dissonance is uncomfortable for most people."(39)

"Fundamentally, people are resistant to climate change data because of the human resistance to changing our mind, the psychological response to fear messages — especially fear messages we can’t do anything about — and the inherent biases in human perception. These are biases that make us seek and remember information that confirms what we believe — and reject, distort or forget information that dis-confirms what we believe."(39-40)

[Maar mensen kunnen dus als de wetenschappers leren om niet alleen naar bevestiging van standpunten te zoeken.]

"When you have a combination of economic, ideological and psychological biases all in play, it’s very difficult for human beings to easily accept large-scale social and economic change."(40)

"Self-justification protects us from the uncomfortable feeling of cognitive dissonance that comes from recognizing we made a mistake; the longer we hold fast to that original decision, the harder it is to change our minds."(41)

"Tavris further explained that cognitive dissonance — that state of having two conflicting cognitions or beliefs that clash with each other — is as uncomfortable as being very hungry or thirsty. The mind is highly motivated to reduce that discomfort: “Dissonance is especially painful when the conflict arises between my view of myself and information that disputes that view."(42)

"There is no point hectoring people or telling them they are wrong, Tavris and Aronson explained in Mistakes Were Made. Anyone who understands dissonance knows that shouting, “What were you thinking?” will backfire, because it translates as, “Boy, are you stupid.” Accusations like this cause already embarrassed victims to clam up, withdraw and refuse to talk about what they are doing. “What was I thinking? I thought I was doing the right thing.” People need to feel respected and supported, not criticized."(44)

[Dat is allemaal mooi, maar hoe kun je iemand dan duidelijk maken dat hij iets verkeerd ziet of doet?]

"One of the best ways to help people change their behavior is to give them feedback, show them how much money or water they have saved, by practicing methods of conservation.
Tell them it’s working and give them hope. Hope is the narrative of freedom and change. It is the great motivator. [mijn nadruk]"(46)

"One way out of this built-in trap, Carol Tavris explained, is to do our best to hear and repeat the opposite camp’s point of view. For those of us trying to get more people concerned about climate change, we need to be able to hear deniers’ arguments if we are to persuade them to hear ours. Listen openly, and see if you can understand the sources of people’s fears and concerns. And then don’t ask them to repeat their views — see if you can repeat theirs."(48)

[Waarom zouden we dat willen? Dit soort benadering werkt misschien als allebei de partijen hem hanteren, maar zeker niet als de andere partij bezig is om cognitieve dissonantie te vermijden. Ik snap niet wat het zou opleveren.]

(49) 4 - Morality Binds and Blinds with JONATHAN HAIDT

"Banding together can lead to unreasonable behavior, disagreements and violent conflict because we are not driven by rationality, facts or compelling arguments."(50)

"Haidt calls this perilous trap the moral matrix. And just like in the movie, The Matrix, we all have a choice: “You can either take the blue pill and stick to your comforting delusions, or the red pill, learn some moral psychology and step outside the moral matrix,” Haidt explained."(50)

"So the question for Haidt is, “what is written in that first draft of the moral mind?” Haidt and his colleagues researched this concept across cultures and even species and came up with a theory that identifies six moral foundations common to all. They are care/harm, fairness/cheating, liberty/oppression, loyalty/betrayal, authority/subversion and sanctity/degradation [mijn nadruk]."(51)

"Haidt said we come into the world pre-wired, organized in advance by these six sources of intuition and emotion that enable us to quickly bond with others, feel compassion, found religions or defend ourselves. This “first draft” is revised and tuned by life experience and culture, just as audio equalizers in a complex sound system regulate sound waves — but the basic human moral matrix remains."(51)

[Dat evolutionaire denken bevalt me ook hier weer niet. Die begrippen van de morele matrix zouden dus 'hard wired' in ons zitten. Maar die categorieën zijn zo breed en vaag dat de vraag naar de achtergrond verdwijnt waarom dan de verschillen tussen (individuele of groepen) mensen zo ontzettend groot zijn als we allemaal met dezelfde basale morele matrix geboren worden. Tenzij dat laatste niet is wat Haidt beweert.]

"Haidt’s research has shown that liberals celebrate diversity, are more open to new experiences, crave novelty, question authority and speak for the weak and oppressed, even at the risk of chaos. Conservatives speak for order. They like things that are familiar, safe and dependable, which is why they support institutions and traditions.
Haidt believes it is important to acknowledge and cherish both points of view because they bring balance."(51-52)

[Dat is leuk, maar hoe doe je dat? Hoe kun je ook maar enige sympathie opbrengen voor opvattingen die in het nadeel van je eigen groep zijn?]

"Some people in the environmental movement hate industry, hate capitalism and hate corporations. The polarizing current drew the issue strongly to the Left. The Right got pulled in the opposite direction and eventually “got off the bus.”"(52-53)

"Haidt said money for advertising campaigns is another factor that plays into growing polarization. Public relations machines are incredibly powerful, devious and manipulative; a confluence of factors around 2005 and 2006 made people congeal around the idea that climate change was a fraud."(53)

"Echoing Carol Tavris’s image of the pyramid of choice, Haidt explained that confirmation bias theory tells us if you doubt, dislike and distrust something in your heart, you’re going to look for evidence that confirms that.(...) This theory explains why direct attacks are not effective. Results are achieved by draining the passion, changing feelings and opening up space for better reasoning."(54)

"Change the feelings, and then evidence has a chance."(55)

[Ja, maar opnieuw: hoe doe je dat en hoe kan dat zelfs maar werken als dat wantrouwen er al is?]

"He added that although it’s very difficult to remove people’s biases, when in conflict with a person or group, an incredibly valuable tool is to acknowledge where others are right, because in almost any conflict each side is right about something. “If you’re Shell Oil you could start by saying: ‘Environmentalist, we understand that you’re concerned. The oil and gas industry has done some bad things. We’ve had some major screw ups; we have killed seabirds.’ The Left could say to Shell Oil: ‘You’re not crazy to worship markets. Markets really are amazing things.’”"(55)

[Idem, het voorbeeld is dan ook van een schokkende naïviteit.]

(56) 5 - Why We Want To Be Misled with DAN KAHAN

"I wanted to learn how group values impact risk perceptions and how our interpretation of scientific evidence is shaped by our cultural affiliations.
Cultural cognition describes the tendency of individuals to conform their beliefs about disputed matters of fact — whether relating to global warming as a serious threat or the death penalty as a deterrent to commiting murder — to values that define their cultural identities. Kahan and his colleagues employ social psychology, anthropology, communications theory and political science to chart the impact of this phenomenon and identify its operating mechanisms."(56)

"I went into the interview well versed in how people are misled by misinformation and propaganda ..."(57)

[Maar die actieve propaganda verdwijnt als onderwerp naar de achtergrond en de aandacht gaat vooral uit naar onbewuste neigingen van mensen die maken dat ze zich zo laten misleiden. Alsof het hun eigen schuld is ...]

"These influences ['confirmation bias' en 'motivated reasoning' - GdG] propel people to confirm what they already believe and ignore any data to the contrary. These forces can also drive them to develop elaborate rationalizations to justify those beliefs, even if false, and even if logic and evidence point in another direction."(58)

"We all rely on such trust networks or systems of certification and communication to make the right choices, but sadly these systems sometimes end up being distorted and corrupted. “We wouldn’t have the problems we have today if there wasn’t the kind of concentrated, orchestrated effort to try to cause division.... Just as we can pollute the natural environment, we can pollute public discourse.”"(59)

[Precies. En nu nog hardop zeggen door wie dat gebeurt.]

"But Kahan pointed out that something is happening in current discourse to cause systems of certification to be less reliable than usual, to corrupt trust networks. Sometimes it is because people are manipulated, “and there are some fringe groups out there that say, ‘Screw Science!’” But Kahan believes there are two more significant, reciprocal elements at work: “One is the orchestrated and deliberate attempt to misinform, and the other is a kind of vulnerability and disposition to being misled.” How far you can get with the former depends in large part on the latter."(60)

"When I asked Kahan how we can move toward healthy dialogue and agreement, he said an effective way to strike communication gold is to start mining better narrative resources. (...) The goal is to find a narrative that people relate to and embed a message that will lead to open-minded consideration. Kahan explained that we must converge on the truth and respond to problems by respecting each other and letting go of intolerance. “It’s not healthy to be imperialistic about one’s own story and meanings.” We need to acknowledge that other people have different sets of values, and we need to give up our compulsion to be right. That is zealotry."(61)


(62) Section B - A Failure To Communicate

(63) 6 - Facts Are Not Enough with GEORGE LAKOFF

"I wanted to better understand the difference between messages and frames, to know how frames work and how to manage them and to understand how frames impact facts and scientific evidence in public discourse, or when shaping opinion."(63)

"When we met, Lakoff described frames as metaphors and conceptual frameworks that we use to interpret and understand the world. They give meaning to the words we hear more than the other way around, because words don’t have objective meanings independent of these metaphors. Frames are structures of thought that we all use every day to determine meaning in our lives; frames govern how we act. They are ultimately a blend of feelings, values and data related to how we see the world.[mijn nadruk]"(63-64)

"A frame is a way of looking at the world that is value laden, and like a metaphor it conjures up all kinds of thoughts and emotions."(64)

"The truth is, facts alone don’t change minds, said Lakoff, who wrote a book called Don’t Think of an Elephant, which explains how to frame political debates in terms of values not facts."(64)

"Lakoff believes that the progressive community contributes to confusion in the public square because of an outdated understanding of reason and consequent lack of persuasive communication. During our interview, he told me that progressives need a mental model that goes beyond cold, logical messaging that’s directly correlated to reality — a model that should embrace metaphors, a marriage of emotion and logic."(64-65)

"Lakoff explained that cognitive and brain science research has shown that reason is not rational without emotion, without an overlay of values to make sense of facts. Simply put, frames trump facts."(65)

"But just speaking the truth isn’t enough to convince people of new ideas. If facts are to make sense and be perceived as urgent, they must be framed in terms of deep, deep values."(65-66)

"The way to respond is to not mention the other frame. Only mention yours. Always start with your frame and stay in it. Always be on the offensive; never act defensively."(68)

(69) 7 - Matters of Concern - with BRUNO LATOUR

"FRENCH PHILOSOPHER Bruno Latour agrees that facts don’t change minds. They don’t clear up controversies, and they don’t solve problems, especially regarding environmental science communications, where arguments cyclone around facts, confusing the public and getting in the way of action.
When we met in Paris, Latour told me we should put aside matters of fact and focus instead upon matters of concern ... "(69)

[Plato dacht nog dat mensen het goede zouden doen als ze het zouden kennen. Maw.: als je weet dat roken schadelijk voor je is zou je niet roken. Maar zo simpel is het dus duidelijk niet. Toch laten mensen zich in veel gevallen ook wél corrigeren door feiten en inzichten. De vraag is dus wanneer wel en wanneer niet en waar dat van afhangt. Wat betreft wetenschappelijke waarheid in de politiek is Latour een goede keuze trouwens.]

"“Transparent, unmediated, undisputable facts” have become so rare today that to offer a public proof — big enough and certain enough to convince the whole world of the presence of a phenomenon or of a looming danger — seems now almost beyond reach.
And so Latour said it is important now to put facts aside, to abandon the worn-out cliché of incontrovertible so-called truths and to compare assertions instead. With these inferior types of proof we may come to a conclusion at last."(70)

"It’s no easy task to ask the entire world’s human population to change their lives completely, and small wonder people respond with an unwillingness to believe we must change."(72)

"Scientists put themselves in a precarious position if they hold fast to a position that they are “just stating the facts” and should not politicize science. At the end of the day, scientists are human beings who have to make a living: They are drawing salaries and competing for grants from government, industry and other institutions. Latour wants them to stand up and fight, with full disclosure, full respect, scrupulous honesty, honoring of the democratic process."(73)

"We need scientists to become more political because pure evidence — facts, figures and flow charts — cannot form an adequate basis for public debate. Why? Primarily because the public is not equipped to get to the bottom of such a discussion or analyze all these facts."(73)

"So what exactly is the public’s role?
One answer lies in what Latour considers to be one of the best books on democratic politics of the 20th century, Walter Lippmann’s The Phantom Public. In this famous tome Lippmann described the public as being like someone who arrives late, in the second act of a play, glances around the stage, leaves before the performance is over and makes a snap judgment as to who are the bad guys and who are good. And yet despite this “incompetency,” as Lippmann called it, members of the public are asked to align themselves with one side or the other whenever they go to the polls. They do this by relying on experts to help them choose their alliances."(73-74)

"At the Sciences Po médialab, Latour created a tool he calls controversy mapping, which is now used around the world. It focuses on controversies that swirl around scientific knowledge, rather than homing in on scientific facts or outcomes themselves. Because knowledge of the truth is always complicated, something like controversy mapping can offer insights into the process of producing knowledge, of how something comes to be considered true. Mapping reveals how a view of pure science often ignores important facets and perspectives."(74-75)

"There is little point in creating a message that leads to paralysis. This is a Fox News attitude and should be fought by all possible means, Latour said.
Another source of pollution in the public sphere comes from an argument about inevitability, says Latour, adding this was Al Gore’s position in his film An Inconvenient Truth. It is not a wise strategy to define a situation as inevitable or out of our control."(76)

"Latour did not develop his theory of abandoning facts, and setting truth aside, because he believes there is no truth. What he believes is that absolute truth exists only in a laboratory, and truth has many faces in the public sphere. When everybody declares they speak in the name of truth, what do we achieve in public discourse? Nothing. Instead we have modus vivendi: We agree to disagree. “Truth distorts the situation, because it is not really a scientific term, and it asks too much from the conversation."(78)

[Op een of andere manier is de hele tijd toch aanwezig dat we moeten kunnen onderscheiden tussen 'waar' en 'onwaar'. En het is wel heel simpel om te denken dat we er dan zijn met te zeggen dat alles wat wetenschap zit in ieder geval streeft naar waarheid.]

(80) Section C - Duped and How

(81) 8 - The Self-Regulating Psychopath with JOEL BAKAN and NOAM CHOMSKY

"An over reliance on facts and a questionable belief in the power of reason contribute to today’s toxic conversations and acrimonious dialogue, but another area of great concern is propaganda, a polluting and polarizing behavior that is arguably as vast and destructive as any of the cultural or social forces already discussed. What’s more, in the case of modern corporations, deregulation has legitimized the use of unbridled propaganda and created a regulatory, legal and financial system that virtually demands it."(81)

[Dat het idee 'feit' veel te simpel is opgevat - net als het idee waarheid - is inmiddels wel bekend. Maar wat is nu eigenlijk een 'questionable belief in the power of reason'? 'Rede' is geen duidelijk begrip. Problemen zijn er als je 'rede' opvat als logica, als instrumentele rede. Maar er is natuurlijk meer wat we terecht 'rationeel' noemen en wat niets met formele logica of zelfs met wetenschap te maken heeft.]

"As a result, corporations emerged as self-governing institutions with the single goal of serving their own interests and those of their shareholders. Bakan’s work does not seek to vilify or analyze the people who run corporations or work for them. He critiques the institutional nature of the corporation as legally created, saying it is an invention that has been imbued with characteristics that, if observed in a human being, would swiftly be diagnosed as psychopathic."(82)

[Altijd weer die neiging om mensen binnen instituten niet verantwoordelijk te stellen voor hun rol. Vreemd vind ik dat. Ouders worden wel verantwoordelijk gesteld voor hun rol binnen het instituut gezin, maar managers etc. niet binnen het bedrijf?]

"the characteristics of a psychopath: including callous unconcern for the feelings of others; incapacity to maintain enduring relationships; reckless disregard for the safety of others; deceitfulness, repeated lying and cheating people for profit; incapacity to experience guilt; failure to conform to social norms with respect to lawful behavior."(82)

"“How can you expect a psychopath to be self-regulating? The concept doesn’t make any sense,” said Bakan, who calls corporate social responsibility an oxymoron."(83)

"I found Bakan’s analysis more believable than the evil CEO explanation or any conspiracy theory. The current system makes it incredibly difficult for a corporation to behave any differently. These companies run on shares, return of stock options, and their whole structure demands they do nothing to jeopardize profits. It’s an over-simplification to turn this fact into a good guy, bad guy narrative because corporations are required by law to act this way."(83)

"Their critical path must be to serve shareholder profits — that’s been the unique nature of the institution and its legal obligations since corporations were first formed."(83-84)

[Het woord 'kapitalisme' valt niet eens. Inderdaad is een en ander inherent aan het kapitalisme, aan hoe bedrijven gericht zijn op winst enzo. Oké, hoe gaan we dit anders doen? Regulatie is dus nodig, want zelfregulatie werkt niet.]

"I asked Bakan why the public has failed to demand more regulation. “That’s the $64,000 question,” he said, and it has to do with the manufacture of ideology, with the manufacture of public opinion, with the role that for-profit, advertising-driven media plays in forming public opinion, the lack of critical-thinking training in our education system — and all the various ways in which knowledge is constructed in our society. “We citizens have been asleep at the switch.”"(86)

"“Market systems are designed to create lethal catastrophes,” Chomsky warned. These market systems and structures can be overcome with regulation, government control and popular pressure, in theory, but all of these require a political democracy, and one of the effects of a high concentration of capital inequality is that democracy is weakened."(87)

"When it comes to rancorous debate, Chomsky sees the same pollution of the public square on both sides of the border. “If you can’t answer an argument, shriek. That’s true in corporate relations, true in international relations. Just rant. Call people names. Slander them. Anything to undermine an argument you can’t respond to.” He said there are no magic keys, no simple ways out of such issues, whether it’s slavery, women’s rights or the environment. “It’s going to be a long, hard struggle.”"(88-89)

"It occurred to me how wrong-headed the demonization of corporate leaders is. We invented corporations for good reasons — to raise immense amounts of capital to build infrastructure such as bridges, railways and air transportation systems. But we also made them furiously focused on creating shareholder value, and in the wake of the anti-regulation movement that started with Thatcher and Reagan we removed many balancing mechanisms and constraining regulations. Corporate CEOs are required to make money for their shareholders, and if they fail to do so they can be in serious trouble, even legally."(89)

[Erg aardig, maar wel een tikkeltje simpel. Als we maar wat meer gaan reguleren is het een prachtig systeem?]

"Massive amounts of advertising dollars are being spent by big business on the organized manipulation of public opinion, and in the next chapter we will see what happens when governments get involved — and help them."(89)

(90) 9 - A Case Study: Foreign-Funded Radicals

Over de teerzanden in Canada, de exploitatie ervan door de olieindustrie, en alle propaganda er om heen van die industrie en de overheid.

"Never has there been a greater disparity between what scientists say we should be concerned about and what members of government and the oil and gas industry are doing."(91)

[Oplossing: naar de wetenschappers luisteren?]

"In this case study I highlight several extreme examples of polarizing spin and misleading propaganda that epitomize the extent to which the vested interests that Joel Bakan and Noam Chomsky described — and governments that support them — will go to confuse issues and discredit critics, on both sides of the Canada-US border."(91)

"What Harper’s government and the oil industry were promoting showed a serious disconnect with Canadian values, since almost 80 percent of Canadians I surveyed wanted stricter laws to protect the environment."(94)

"In fact, this kind of oil and gas industry propaganda seems to have been born in the United States."(95)

"Edelman [van een door een bedrijf ingehuurde PR-firma] suggested this could be accomplished through opposition research, a term used to describe digging up dirt on your opponents. It’s a common tactic in US politics, but I wondered why it was being used as a weapon against ordinary citizens."(96)

"Astroturfing involves creating fake grassroots groups and makes it almost impossible to distinguish between a legitimate groundswell and manufactured opinion. Some PR companies use such groups to garner synthetic support, to alter public perception or simply stir up doubt. On the Internet astroturfing sometimes takes the form of bogus endorsements for products, hotels or restaurants, but in the larger sphere blogs and comments appear as seemingly spontaneous expressions of support, but are in fact, masterminded and funded by big business, oil companies, chemical companies and more. In his book Grassroots for Hire, author Edward Walker defines this kind of false public participation as an elite campaign masquerading as a mass movement."(97-98)

"His public affairs firm, Berman & Company, prides itself on exploiting fear, greed and anger, and in the secretly taped speech he urged executives not to worry about offending people: “You can win ugly or lose pretty.”"(98)

"Misleading, deceptive PR campaigns have been used for decades in the US. The Americans had clean coal long before Canadians had ethical oil."(99)

"By attacking the credibility of scientists and creating doubt about their findings — without actually doing any science themselves — critics poison the well of democracy and flood the public square with misinformation. These kinds of campaigns use abusive ad hominem attacks on the character of opponents in order to invalidate the concerns of scientists and environmental groups. If the media or public is duped into talking about foreign-funded radicals, then the discussion is no longer about climate change, tanker traffic or pipelines. Through repetition these assaults feed biases, stereotypes and prejudices, stirring up powerful feelings and distorted thinking. They are part of a public communication problem we should all be aware of and expect our leaders to shrink from."(100-101)

(102) 10 - Assault On Democracy with ALEX HIMELFARB

"When public discourse is invaded by this kind of warlike political PR and the kind of personal attacks generally reserved for elections, the opportunity for authentic debate evaporates. And if we blame the situation on a lack of facts, a failure to communicate, or partisan polarization we’re not looking at the whole picture."(102)


"Himelfarb responded, “Why the urge to demonize or diminish? Why would we want to buy in, however tempting, to the prevalent and corrosive junk politics that sees a world of heroes, villains and fools?”
That stopped me, and got me thinking about how risky it is to view people behind such campaigns as dense or immoral. I understood Himelfarb was saying the situation required an entirely different attitude ..."(103)

[Daar gaan we weer: we mogen niet schelden op de mensen die aantoonbaar verkeerde dingen doen. Waarom zou je dat niet doen? Wat is die 'andere houding'? Werkt die beter?]

"Himelfarb believes that the Right prefers to shut down public discourse and that modern life makes it easy for this to happen."(103)

Omdat mensen geen tijd meer hebben voor de publieke discussie en opgesloten zitten in een druk privé-bestaan met werk en kinderen en wat al niet. hbben ze geen gevoel meer voor 'the common good'.

"What we are seeing is an attack on democracy, and Himelfarb stressed that playing the same game isn’t the answer. Progressives won’t score any goals unless they have a better counter approach. Himelfarb suggested several strategic moves."(105)

Schilder een beeld van een betere toekomst. Voorkom doemdenken. Doe niet aan polarisatie, leer overtuigen.

"The Right has been very effective in promoting a vision of the world as nothing more than an arena for competitive individualism in which ordinary people are consumers and taxpayers rather than citizens with mutual and shared responsibility.(...)
Himelfarb reminded me that a few decades ago, the sociologist C. Wright Mills described sociological imagination as the ability to link private troubles and public issues."(105)

"Further, progressives must call the Right out on PR spin and its assault on democratic institutions. Democracy depends on engaged and informed citizenship. Any attack on reason, on information and on debate is an attack on democracy."(106)

"But, said Himelfarb, most importantly we have to reject the line that there is no alternative to the current market triumphalism and austerity. Indeed, whenever politicians tell us there is no alternative, we can be assured there is, and it’s likely one we would prefer, were it on offer."(106)

(108) 11 - Silencing the Voices of Others with JASON STANLEY

"It’s a simple tactic: When the public doesn’t trust you and you can’t rely on your own credibility to argue your views, when the public doesn’t share your values or interests, when facts aren’t on your side, why not attack and undermine your opponents’ integrity while making them appear to have a vested interest?
When no audience or viewer expects truth in the media, only bias, political candidates cannot be held responsible for lying. Stanley made the case that it then becomes possible to lie in public with impunity; there is no downside to deceit. Every person has an “every-one’s doing it” defense. People start to believe that no one is speaking authentically — that even scientists are massaging data to suit their ideological agendas."(109)

"He decided that much of the right wing news media is not trying to deliver fair and balanced coverage of events or reportage of issues.(...) The effect is to suggest there is no possibility of balanced news, only propaganda; this results in a silencing of all news sources by suggesting everyone is grossly insincere."(110)

"Public discourse has deteriorated to such an extent that the traditional debating model — based on accuracy, evidence and proof — isn’t happening, so the typical fallback position is to tarnish another person’s reputation. When it comes to climate change, for instance, the new technique is to first criticize the research and scholarship, then undermine and discredit scientists."(110-111)

"Democracy works only if reasoned debate in the public square is possible. If everything is mislabeled, then conditions for deliberative democracy do not exist. If people are deluded into thinking there is such a thing as clean coal, or ethical oil, if their ability to apply correct facts is circumvented, and the credibility of experts is undercut, where is the basis for reasoned debate? It’s like trying to design a building without a level.(111)

"Stanley used the example of North Korea: “Clearly something is really wrong with discussion in the public sphere in North Korea.” No one trusts anyone and no one believes what anyone says because they assume it is propaganda. We would hope that free speech guarantees the conditions for deliberative democracy. But if that is true, “How did we end up with public spaces in North America where nobody trusts what anyone says, and that look in certain aspects like North Korea — even though we’ve got free speech? That’s a real mystery.”"(112)

[Wat is hier het mysterie? Vrijheid van meningsuiting garandeert natuurlijk niet dat mensen de waarheid spreken, zeker niet wanneer dat principe opgevat wordt zoals in zo veel westerse landen dat iedereen werkelijk alles mag roepen zonder zich te hoeven verantwoorden voor wat hij roept. Merkwaardig dat deze Stanley niet ziet dat de uitdrukking 'vrijheid van meningsuiting' even propagandistisch gebruikt wordt als 'schone kolen' of 'ethische olie'. Juist in een democratie zouden er voorwaarden gesteld moeten worden aan vrijheid van meningsuiting, bijvoorbeeld dat het niet toegestaan is anderen te beledigen of zoiets. Geen vrijheid zonder gebondenheid, geen vrijheid zonder je te moeten verantwoorden voor wat je zegt en doet.]

"Free speech alone is not sufficient for delivering the conditions for reasoned debate. It is impossible without trust and sincerity ..."(112)

(114) 12 - Gaslighting Blurs Our Reality with BRYANT WELCH

We moeten zoeken naar vormen van communicatie die overtuigen en mensen helpen dingen te begrijpen. De techniek waarover Welch vertelt heet 'gaslighting'.

"When the mind is in a “state of collapse,” [door een overvloed aan informatie en veranderingen - GdG] we also turn to others to lead us, people who are attractive and hold strong opinions. Simple answers are less taxing for us to absorb, especially when we’re faced with a complex issue such as climate change, Welch said. An authoritative person who takes command — “think of Fox News or Rush Limbaugh” — and spews strong feelings with absolute certainty is appealing to a beleaguered mind."(115)

"Today’s assault on experts is combined with a new attitude that encourages people to believe whatever feels better, Welch suggested."(115)

"Bryant Welch called this process of manipulation gaslighting [naar Cukor's film uit 1944 - GdG] because people begin to doubt their own perceptions and observations. When that happens, their autonomy is eroded and they become dependent upon those who foist their own versions of reality on others. People become less rational, less capable of thinking for themselves, “more and more beholden to Fox News.” Welch noted that many people are now reliant upon a strong, forceful person telling them what to think."(116)

"Welch says it’s propaganda, pure and simple — but why are we susceptible to lies or misinformation? Like a microchip implanted in a person’s brain, the effectiveness of propaganda grows with constant repetition."(117)

"People today cannot tolerate a state of uncertainty and anxiety."(117)

[Erg generalizerend ... Ik vraag me af ... Er zijn genoeg mensen die zich niet in de luren laten leggen door zogenaamde autoriteiten en door desinformatie. Wat is dan het verschil tussen mensen die wel en mensen die niet zo goed met alle veranderingen en informatie omgaan? Waarom zou je gaan twijfelen aan je eigen waarnemingen? Komt dat door maatschappelijke kwetsbaarheid? Is dat opleiding? Is dat intelligentie? Is dat een behoefte aan zekerheid? Maar waar komt die dan vandaan?]

"Welch also said that the best response to gaslighting is awareness. Expose the manipulation, just like in the movie — when the Scotland Yard detective reveals what has been happening to the wife. Her autonomy is restored the moment she recognizes how her husband has manipulated her."(117)

[Er is ook iets tegenstrijdigs in dit soort opvattingen. Mensen zouden geen politicus meer geloven door alle desinformatie, maar nemen desondanks alles aan wat een politicus zegt? Vreemd vind ik dat. Waarom zou je iemand als autoriteit voor de waarheid accepteren die je op geen enkele manier vertrouwt? Dus het geeft geen antwoord op de vraag waarom mensen iemand geloven die duidelijk en aantoonbaar uit zijn nek lult.]

(118) 13 - Summary: The Polluted Public Square

"I found the attacks on scientists and the volume of propaganda used to cloud environmental issues puzzling. I found myself becoming angrier about the deception and lack of fair play than I was about environmental damage itself. I wondered why, then one day it hit me: Bullies aren’t just a problem in the schoolyard. They also try to take your lunch money and intimidate you in the public square."(120)

"The foreign-funded radicals campaign in Canada was about bullying and demonizing. Climategate was the same, an attempt to malign scientists and disparage their work. When American marine biologist and conservationist Rachel Carson raised concerns about the health dangers of pesticides in her 1962 book Silent Spring, she was called an hysterical woman, a communist and a radical. Such attacks are never intended to be part of a legitimate debate. These are all attempts to shut people up — and bullying has always been at the heart of propaganda."(120)

"How can we stand up for what is right and against what is wrong, without becoming bullies ourselves? (...) There has long been a difference of opinion about how to advocate. Some suggest aggressive outspoken advocacy is needed while others prefer working with opponents and finding common ground."(121)

Hoggan's standpunt:

"1. Be slow to pick public fights because fighting fire with fire seldom settles a dispute or issue in your favor.(...)
2. If you don’t tell your own story, someone else will — and it will be bad. Not telling your own story is like not showing up for the game: You lose by default."(121)

"How do we communicate in a more persuasive and less polarizing, alienating and enflaming manner? And how do we navigate between strong, honest debate and the kind of narrative that drives us further into entrenched, defensive positions?"(122)

"At its heart, I’m Right is about miscommunication resulting from narrative failure on the part of advocates. This has opened the floodgates to industry propaganda and polarization from all sides — whether from government, vested interests or environmental advocates — and miscommunication has created pollution in the public square, whether intentional or not. The results have been gridlock and shuttered windows.
It’s a difficult balancing act, but we want to walk a fine line between speaking out against what is wrong and avoiding the advocacy trap."(122)

[De vraag wordt voortdurend herhaald, maar het antwoord blijft vreselijk vaag. En nee, het is niet zo dat een verkeerde manier van standpunten innemen geleid heeft tot propaganda van bedrijven en overheid. Bully's hebben altijd wel een reden om je te pesten, welke houding je ook inneemt, en als je op wat voor manier dan ook je zwakte laat zien blijven ze doorgaan met pesten. Die ander twijfelt niet, dus als jij met genuanceerde standpunten en wetenschappelijk verantwoorde onzekerheden komt maakt dat geen indruk denk ik. Het is een macht-ding, ik ben groter en sterker dan jij en doe wat ik wil. Waarom wordt hier niet gepraat over sociale machtsverhoudingen?]

"If the victim remains silent, it is much harder for an aggressor to sustain an attack ..."(124)

[Dat betwijfel ik. Dat kan ook weer als een teken van zwakte gezien worden.]

"What we typically see today is a denial of the relevance of expertise because we’re led to believe that everybody’s opinion is as good as anybody else’s."(125)

[Precies, maar wat kun je doen om dat postmoderne gezeur te veranderen? De vraag komt opnieuw terug. Ik denk dat Ganz - die hierna wordt opgevoerd, gelijk heeft. Mensen zijn juist te bang voor polarisatie en voor het innemen van afwijkende standpunten. Het is conflictvermijding en de bully's hebben dat meteen door.]

"Ganz added many of his students slip into conflict avoidance too often and too easily. They have a mistaken idea that if everyone talks things out, everyone will eventually agree and we can all move forward with consensus. Ganz argues that consensus is what you get in an authoritarian regime, not a healthy democracy where citizens are free to challenge injustice. But he was quick to note that debate, when used for reasons of power rather than truth, leads to gridlock in the halls of government. So while he believes contention lies at the heart of democracy, it must be constructive contention."(126)

[Probleem is alleen dat de bully's helemaal niet gericht zijn op een constructieve discussie.]

"An argument for the sake of heaven aims to counteract injustice and bring out truth, not to defeat an opponent. Its goal is not focused on winning, crushing someone or grasping at power. In an argument for the sake of heaven each side listens willingly and seriously to others’ views and analyzes points using reason and respect. We will never solve problems such as climate change if we don’t join discussions, and if we sit on the sidelines our children’s futures will be lost — but we need to be respectful of other human beings and not attack them or their opinions."(126)

[Ja, leuk hoor, maar opnieuw: de bully's luisteren niet serieus naar argumenten en zo verder. Dus helaas wordt het niet zo'n debat waarin naar een soort van 'machtsvrije discussie' gestreefd wordt zoals Habermas het uitdrukt.]

"This doesn’t mean giving up on our principles or becoming wimps, but it does mean avoiding the unintended quicksand of anger-charged messages that drag us all down. The most effective stories enlighten and integrate; they’re not selfish, greedy or abusive. We don’t want to turn a right-versus-wrong narrative into a perpetual us-versus-them story that increases the amplitude of the opposition. Can we think of more culturally accessible ways to take on destructive propaganda, beliefs and values? Yes. And the rest of this book explores how we might argue for the sake of heaven."(127)

(128) Part II - Speak the Truth, But Not to Punish

"Through the eyes of some of the world’s great public intellectuals, we learn how to move beyond the one-sided rhetoric, warlike opposition and the ad hominem attacks that create toxic discourse."(128)

(129) Section D - Leaning Into the Future

(130) 14 - Power and Love with ADAM KAHANE

"Kahane enabled people to set aside their personal, political and business biases so they could discuss possibilities, and these exercises were part of many dialogues and negotiations that helped a new political landscape evolve."(131)

[Kahane heeft het de hele tijd over samenwerken ondanks onenigheden etc. Maar daar ligt altijd aan ten grondslag dat alle betrokken mensen / groepen zich willen inzetten voor een gezamenlijk doel, dat ze allemaal behoefte hebben aan verandering. Nou, dat is niet het geval in de milieukwesties die hier al eerder ter sprake kwamen.]

(141) 15 - No Fish? No Fish Sticks with PETER SENGE

Senge is een systeemdenker.

[Dit is een van de slechtste, vaagste stukken van het boek. Totaal nietszeggend.]

"Achieving change in the US will not be easy because entrenched interests are strong, whereas in China people are discovering incentives to accelerate an energy transition."(146)

"Change happens when something makes sense to you deeply, said Senge. So try to understand other people’s logic, their reasoning, and gradually you will find a way to bring them along."(151)

[Maar, opnieuw: wat als mensen / groepen niet willen dat er iets verandert?]

(152) 16 - Listen Deeply with Otto SCHARMER and ANNE GIARDINI

"Scharmer believes we must open our minds, hearts and wills if we are to see our own blind spots, shift our awareness and connect with our best possible futures. And this is especially critical for leaders."(154)

"Scharmer believes profound change and true leadership can evolve by moving through the deepening process he calls the Theory U which happens on three levels:
1. The level of the mind, which involves suspending old habits of judgment
2. Opening the heart and beginning to see problems through the eyes of other stakeholders, walking in others’ shoes
3. Gaining the capacity to let go and let come."(156)

"He advised that the environmental movement should not be about forcing something down the throat of anyone, which leads invariably to resistance and people getting stuck in their own positions. It should focus instead on people who are ready to participate, willing to take action. “Go where the change is already taking place,” he said, echoing the words of Peter Senge."(158)

[Dat niveau. Het kan dus nog erger ... Het antwoord ligt in jezelf en zo ... Individualisering van maatschappelijke problemen. De bully is helemaal niet bereid om te participeren of om iets te veranderen, dus waarover gaat het hier helemaal?]

(161) Section E - The Mighty Tool of Public Narrative

(162) 17 - The Myth of Apathy with RENEE LERTZMAN

"She said the current shortage of engagement, activation or inspiration is typically framed in terms that reflect a lack of something, the idea that people don’t care enough about what’s happening. She disagrees with this diagnosis, and has blamed the situation on what she calls the Myth of Apathy."(162)

"I asked Renee Lertzman if outing climate change deniers is a good tactic, and she advised it has its place, when done with compassion."(166)

[Ja, we moeten vooral meelevend zijn tegenover de bully. Die heeft het immers ook maar moeilijk, en zo verder ... Alsof dat helpt om sociaal-economische verhoudingen te veranderen. Je kunt klimaatontkenners ook moeilijk apathisch noemen, integendeel, ze zijn bijzonder actief in het verdedigen van de status quo. Dat is juist wat anderen zo apathisch kan maken, want hoe kun je op tegen mensen die de macht, het geld, de connecties, de mensen en de middelen hebben?]

(170) 18 - Psychic Numbing with PAUL SLOVIC

"Slovic’s research looks at how the general public and experts perceive perils and threats very differently, and offers critical lessons for those involved in risk perception and communication, including insights into why we fail to respond to large-scale international tragedies. His most recent work looks at what he calls psychic numbing; according to Slovic, psychic numbing helps explain why we fail to respond to mass atrocities and crises like climate change."(170)

[Hoggan voert met zijn interviews veel psychologen en trainers op. Ik zie geen sociologen of zo. Het is tekenend voor iemand die gelooft dat een verandering van attitude sociale problemen kan oplossen.]

(178) 19 - Sometimes David Wins with MARSHALL GANZ

"Ganz’s theory of public narrative is one of the most important lessons set out in I’m Right, and is a mighty tool for leadership and change. An urgent need to improve narrative skills is painfully clear after looking at all the barriers to communication and action I have described. Weak storytelling skills and mistaken ideas about the power of facts not only leave the public unmoved, but they can also trigger antagonism and contribute to polarization and ineffective advocacy. Strong narrative skills can, however, not only deliver an inspiring message for change but also counteract PR and disinformation. We have a better chance of sidestepping the advocacy trap and avoiding the triggering of psychological barriers if we stay strongly rooted in the values that emerge from our own story."(179)

[Ja, dat weten we inmiddels wel. Maar hoe doe je dat tegenover bully's? Bij bepaalde machtsverhoudingen dus? Hoe vaag dit weer is blijkt uit een citaat als het volgende:]

"Narrative is a form of empowering discourse through which we learn to exercise agency itself. It is a mindful response to a challenge, as opposed to a fearful one. A public story can help create collective agency by linking together the speaker’s story of self, the community’s story of us and the challenge’s story of now. Such public narrative starts with a story of self because, Ganz stressed, “If you are in public life you must learn to tell your own story. If you don’t, others will, and you’ll turn over authorship of your story to others whose interests may differ from your own.” As illustrated by his own story in this chapter, a story of self communicates the values that call an individual to action. It should speak to the heart and describe our unique experience: the challenges we have faced, the choices we’ve made and the outcomes that unfolded during our journey though life. This story of self explains not only why we are called to our work but also how we see ourselves connecting to it, which in turn enables others to connect with it through us."(182)

"A public narrative is a call to action. Its story is built around a shared challenge, the choice that must be made in response to that threat, and an outcome that conveys a moral."(185)

[Maar natuurlijk is er geen 'shared challenge' met de bully, de bully is de 'threat' en heeft geen behoefte aan een moraal.]

(189) Section F - From the Heart

(190) 20 - The Golden Rule with KAREN ARMSTRONG and JOAN HALIFAX

Armstrong is iemand die wereldreligies bestudeert en van mening is dat alles draait om compassie / medeleven.

"We rarely hear about it, yet our “paramount duty” is to respect our fellow human beings. Compassion is a virtuous cycle, and practicing the Golden Rule yields an expanded sense of self, which yields ever more compassionate behavior. (...) Look into your own heart, discover what gives you pain, then refuse under any circumstances whatsoever to inflict that pain on anybody else. Never treat others as you would not like to be treated yourself."(190)

"The most important path to change is to treat one another with absolute respect."(193)

[En zo verder en zo meer. Tell it to the bully ... ]

(196) 21 - Speak the Truth, But Not to Punish with THICH NHAT HANH

Het standpunt van deze monnik:

"“As activists we want to do something to help the world to suffer less,” Thich Nhat Hanh said, but when we’re not peaceful, when we don’t have enough compassion in us, we are unable to do much to help the world. “Peace, love, and happiness must always begin in us, with ourselves first. There is suffering, fear, and anger inside of us, and when we take care of it, we are taking care of the world.”"(196)

"He said we should bring a spiritual dimension to the work of protecting the environment. “The role of meditation, the role of community building, the role of healing and transforming in our daily life is crucial for the environment. You cannot just have projects and initiatives without taking care of the suffering inside.”"(203)

[Alweer dus.]

(204) 22 - We Need Warmheartedness with THE 14TH DALAI LAMA

"In 2011 I traveled to Dharamshala — home of the 14th Dalai Lama and headquarters of the Tibetan government in exile — for the 23rd Mind Life Conference,5 a five-day discussion about the environmental crisis, ecology and ethics of climate change. Meetings were held in the Dalai Lama’s house, and speakers included public intellectuals such as Sallie McFague, Elke Weber, Joan Halifax and Daniel Gole man.
During this conference I spoke with His Holiness privately, and that intensely moving interview was one of the first I did for this book. Although our conversation took place years ago, I believe the Dalai Lama’s thoughts and words are most fitting at the end of this long project."(207)

[Tja ... Als je er geen moeite mee hebt om iemand Zijne Heiligheid te noemen ... ]

"His Holiness planted the seed for a different kind of book, one that would look at the causes of miscommunication, mistrust and propaganda, but also look at educating the heart. He explained that warmheartedness extends to us all, to the planet, the ecology, and it is at the root of solving this ethical problem. Rather than anger, fear, suspicion and distrust, we need warmheartedness.
During one of the sessions in Dharamsala, His Holiness said that warmheartedness comes from the genuine practice of love, genuine compassion, genuine friendship and a genuine concern for the well-being of others."(209)

"We are not going to change the world by yelling at people and telling them what to do — and that doesn’t mean having to compromise on what is right, or tolerate corruption. We can make errors if we assume people are evil, just don’t understand, don’t have all the facts or are being apathetic; we need to recognize we can cause damage and add to the confusion if we hold fast to these attitudes. We become better ambassadors for the environment, or any cause, by putting ourselves in others’ shoes. The lessons in this book are about the fundamentals of human relations — rooted in strength and compassion — or, as Adam Kahane said, power and love."(212)

[De olieindustrie zal daar van onder de indruk zijn ...]

(214) Epilogue: Lessons Learned

"Daniel Yankelovich pointed out that advocacy has a valuable role to play — but combative, biased advocacy can also undermine public confidence and lead to paralysis just as quickly as institutional propaganda can. Unyielding, one-sided debates and non-stop controversy undermine society’s ability to solve problems, and the noise stops people engaging because they feel hopeless and discouraged.
It is extremely difficult to break out of this advocacy trap, but as Roger Conner explained we can avoid stepping into it in the first place by adopting attitudes of respect, objectivity and fair-mindedness towards people we disagree with. Policing our own aggression helps open up space for real conversation."(215)

"There is nothing wrong with speaking out loudly about injustice. In fact, when it comes to the enormous problems facing humanity in these times, it is an urgent responsibility. Citizens in the Western world, who enjoy the benefits of great democracies, have a solemn duty to speak up and shed light on forces of corruption, deception and indifference that may undermine authentic public conversations and real change.
But the goal of public discourse should be to encourage participation and expose the truth, not to discourage opposition or crush those who disagree. Vigorous public debate is vital, but as Thich Nhat Hanh advised: “Speak the truth but not to punish.”"(221)

[En zo verder. Herhaling van eerdere opvattingen hier. En totaal onbevredigend.]