what’s wrong with the world

there are 2 things in human nature that i have always thought are the biggest stumbling blocks to world peace: namely a lack of tolerance and the progressive decline of taking personal responsibility.


now, i am (no longer) naïve enough to believe that there can ever be world peace, but in the process to overcoming the problems in human co-existence, we need to look at these individually.


tolerance. what does it mean? in my personal opinion it means that i will tolerate that you are different to me or will have a different opinion to mine, but that you are not therefore a lesser being. that we can still co-exist.


my dad once told me (in the car near rondebosch common) that voltaire said, ”i will defend to the death the right for you to have an opinion that is different to mine.”


neither of them (voltaire or my dad) may have realized how often i have had that go through my head, how often i have quoted it. how much i believe in that.


it is sad when how often one sees people being ignored, persecuted, killed or maimed merely for having an opinion or belief that is different to the next person. when in most cases the next person is not even affected by that difference.


look at a gay man being ousted from a church – even though he has given many years excellent service.

look at rwanda – and the genocide of ’94 taking place at just about the same time as the peaceful transition in our country south africa.

look at the church itself – it was in a church in the armenian quarter in iran, where i saw a number of murals adorning the wall. every single one of them was about pain & torture. it was at that point that it became crystal clear to me just how much christianity is based on fear instead of love. which doesn’t really gel with the god i would want to believe in.


it may seem simplistic, but i would believe that there is in fact only one god in the universe. and he (she?) has created several different paths for several different people. look at the 3 main religions – christianity, judaism and islam. there are several clear parallels between the 3. many similarities in their holy books.


in fact, they even share a most-holy site – the temple of the rock in jerusalem. take this thought one step further, and you’ll remember that each of these 3 religions worships on a different day of the week (muslims on a friday, jews on a saturday and christians on a sunday). hasn’t the one god created an opportunity for all of his followers to use the same holy space, despite their different paths to him?


which means all the different religions could live together peacefully without stepping on each others’ toes.


in theory.


just a thought.




which brings me to the other topic: the decline of personal responsibility.


personal responsibility. what is it? in my personal opinion it is the ability of any cognitive being to take responsibility for themselves and their immediate family. (i include the latter because young children and older people may need someone to look after them.)


yet too often we have a situation where clients will try their damndest to blame someone else for their own lack of something.


example: we booked a package holiday to botswana for some clients, which in the brochure includes accommodation in 3 different areas: chobe, moremi and okavango delta. these are 3 different parks within botswana.

at the time of booking not all these 3 were available, so we booked 2 in chobe and one in moremi.

the clients called me on the weekend, from chobe, complaining that they were not going to the delta. when i told them that it had been confirmed and accepted in the way that they were travelling, she told me, “but i though the chobe lodge was in the delta”. and then she threatened to put the laywers on me. (now before everyone says that i should have told her xyz, i was not in direct contact with her; the information went through a travel agency. where someone might not have known. or thought. the point remains that if it is so important, you ask and you make sure.)


which makes me beg the question – how do you travel half way around the world without doing some research on the destination? without asking the right questions. without making sure if you are so desperate to be in a particular part.


this is just an example, of course, and you can all think of other cases from your own experiences too.


but alas, i fear that these things will not change. not with the way laws have been drawn up in the us, germany, australia, etc etc….


and doesn’t this just create a vicious circle where i become intolerant of you, if you don’t think for yourself and then make it my problem?


how to snap out of it. that is the question.




what bugged me today: clients (what else?)


what i learnt today: that if murphy wants to screw you, he will try damn hard, no matter what you do to try and prevent it. and he usually wins.


what i am grateful for: beautiful sunshine on my lunchtime walk to the shops

One thought on “what’s wrong with the world

  1. I fully agree with your plea for tolerance of different opinions. Maybe in continuation of a tradition more than 40 years I am still putting the understanding of different interpretations of the same event or conflict quite central to the teaching of “Introductory Economics” to MBAs and other management students. This applies to our attitude to foreigners, the Chinese “threat” (or challenge), trade unionists as opposed to corporate leaders and even the pro/anti-Zuma-ites. I would, however, not be as disillusioned as you – we can get through to people, but their acquired “openness” or tolerance won’t always be consistent. So, don’t give up hope!

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