Thursday, 25 October 2012

Cut the people some slack

It’s appalling just how many people feel they need to tell us what to do. Bosses, of course. Bossy relatives too. And bossy governments more than any. 

Along with the bossy priests, governments like to tell us who we should – and much more often should not – choose as partners, what things we should never read or watch, which people we should or shouldn’t live with or refuse to get anywhere near.

And yet much of the time all we really need all those judges of our behaviour to do is just act as enablers. Create a space, ensure a level playing field. And then clear off to their fashionable parties and leave us to get on with things. Because I’m firmly convinced that in those circumstances we
’d get on a hell of a lot better than if people with a questionable claim to authority keep telling people arbitrarily classified as surbordinates what to do.

Tonight I saw a perfect illustration of the point, in St Pancras station.

Some time ago, someone up there among whatever passes as the authorities of this great London station, decided to put two pianos in the main concourse. A couple of stools too.

Then they backed off and left it to ordinary citizens to take the initiative. And so it was that today, as I wandered along the shops, I was greeted by the sound of music hall classics being banged out with great gusto and, frankly, skill too.

Music hall medley, and very good it was too
A little further on, I came across a couple posing by the other piano: they seemed more interested in taking pictures of each other than in playing music, but, hey, it’s all about having fun isn’t it?

Posing more than playing, but who cares?

And everyone was. With no-one to organise them. Or to give them orders.

What a lesson for government and other hierarchies that is.

Postscript. I’ve just realised that I wrote ‘tonight’ a few paragraphs back. But this happened at 6:30. Only a couple of months ago, that would have been ‘this evening’. The clocks go back this weekend. We’re seriously into the bad bit of the year. Ah well, time to buckle down, to grin and bear it. Less than two months to go and the days will be getting longer again.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Did you forget nosy neighbors? I agree we are capable of organizing and settling ourselves. Enablers should be in schools, homes, workplaces everywhere! It is nearly impossible to figure ourselves out with all the noise of you should, or shouldn't do this or that. Sometimes I remember that power is not given and in the context of this blog, can be taken. We all have a right to personal power, that's the secret. Good thought provoking post as always.