22 Comments

I've been thinking a lot about status lately and this has added a new flavour into the cocktail of thoughts. Thanks!

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I know I said finally but just thinking how so many people grew up in environments where conflict was cruel or violent and maybe had to take on the role of peacemaker that most of us do everything we can to avoid differences of opinion or conflicts but as far as I can see globally and intimately it has allowed abuses to flourish, bullies to dominate and people feeling disempowered and anxious. I don't see any other way but to start to build our tolerance and skill with it. Adios

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I suppose I am talking about power within a social group - within Unpsychology in this case where the group kind of has "rules" or norms and I suppose you are indicating maybe one of those might be not to have open conflict online, although I know one of the things that Warm Data seems to pride itself on is no rules. Whereas I come from a marginalised position in society which sees it as actually HEALTHY to openly disagree, please note I don't mean disrespect, but differences enhance our abilities in relationship. You are correct I have persisted and I don't feel personally suppressed but there were efforts by both yourself and Lesley to persuade me that we didn't have differences about the value of extraordinary for all....it's not a crime...it's merely something I wanted to point to and there's a chance you might think about what I have said as it is so completely different from what you were proposing.

However what I do want to finally say is I admire you for keeping going in the exchange - most people for whatever reason don't engage and not only have you done so but you have done so with grace. I appreciate that...it's been a great exchange from my end. Thank you

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Jul 2Liked by Steve Thorp

Maybe so much of the desire to define oneself on the spectrum of extraordinary to ordinary is self justification. It didn’t matter that Ursula said she was ordinary, but she said it knowing that as a writer of repute, those who loved her work would disagree or read humility, or ask themselves why she would say that... To be a writer, to challenge minds, in our society, is seen as extraordinary so claiming it isn’t feels inauthentic ...”...protest too much...”

Going back to Kubler-Ross, in the acceptance that our world, and us, is in a palliative state, what does it matter what is extraordinary or ordinary in the broader relational context? The states after “the end” - the non-existent utopia, the salvaged new world, the spiritual afterlife is entirely unknowable. In the moments when we find some internal peace in “acceptance” maybe it’s enough to just observe how the curve is playing out for others, human and non-human life/organisms as they cycle and iterate unable to hold a single truth that stops them from resting in acceptance. Extraordinary things happen there ‘imho’...

Then the rejection/anger at the feeling evoked by words - whatever their truth, is a expression of one’s unease with the reality we find ourselves in and many want so desperately not to be. The plants, the animals, the planet but specifically and wholly understandable to us - the body keeps living, even when it is dying. Biochemically, every process continues as best it can nothing gives up until it does, one by one. The desire to hold “truth” is a symptom of this in our collective palliative process.

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Ah interesting...covid lockdowns actually demonstrated how quickly nature can recover from manmade destruction without our help...personally I believe the issues we need to face as a collective is what you and I are playing out here...how can completely different points of view between people, nature..effectively different needs be negotiated. At the moment there is no negotiation the group with the most power dominates...that could be with money but in a way it is more social status. So on this substack Nora and people that hold her views and way of doing things hold the social power and then someone with a different worldview, more comfortable with open conflict comes in and whilst it is shutting down in the politely and nicest way, it is still a suppression by the dominant viewpoint. Spiral this up and out and the result are wars, genocides, mistreatment of vulnerable people, natural sites . Until on the intimate level here and now, there is a willingness to hear non dominant voices and the wisdom they offer ..indigenous people's, children, mentally unwell, the imprisoned, the homeless, those kicked to the edges of society.we are doomed to extinction and maybe that is OK...maybe we can't undo centuries of destruction and violence and its time for extinction...the planet would likely breathe a big sigh of reluef

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I have just seen this Steve so will just add...how do we know what is a good thing in these times about social media ? How do we judge good/ bad ? It surely just is happening...and similarly others may say what you wrote could be considered bad..as I did by comparing to religious and political exhortation to remain small as a good thing. We are all doing that...but the willingness to see that there are opposing differences because of life experiences rather than try and smooth them over. Why can't I disagree with you ? Where is the curiosity about why i feel that way rather than an attempt to persuade me to your perspective which is already outlined in your article

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Well Steve I have to admit to chucking my phone down in disgust when I got to the piece about elegance . I recently saw photos of Muhammed Ali, arguably a great example of someone who experienced their extraordinariousness talking down and helping a young man who was threatening to jump and commit suicide from a building...numerous examples of people like him who have got over their fear of not been liked or part of some cozy social grouping and prepared to be fully themselves and in doing so have inspired many to do the same. Whilst I do see the importance of the here and now ordinary, it doesn't mean that there is no importance to every single one of us living our extraordinarness. And that has grace and authenticity just as nature does when you come into relationship with it...but elegant that has all sorts of judgemental connotations particularly related to social elitism. And no I am not going to apologize for disagreeing with you so strongly.

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I loved following you through this nuanced & quietly challenging piece

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