Thoughts on my birthday

If I’m allowed to make a wish for the year 2017 and the years to come, I’d wish for a stronger community, more solidarity and respect.

Yesterday, I was so fortunate to see one of the last performances of “Exhibit B” by Brett Bailey, which was brought to Tallinn by Tallinn’s City Theatre Festival Talveöö unenägu 2016: Plaan B – thanks for that!

In the festival booklet, Paavo Pikk, the festival curator writes:

“In recent times it has often been discussed how our world has become smaller. If you believe in the power of social networks, there are only six degrees of separation between you and the Queen of England. As a downside it has been suggested that we now mostly hear and listen to opinions which we already agree with. Despite a large variety of possibilities to connect with different people, there’s a tendency to engage in things and with people that validate our own worldview and beliefs. Sometimes this is referred to as “confirmation bias”.

The other people and the strange beliefs tend to become identified collectively over the course of time. Whether due to one’s work, age, or temperament, there’s no need to have contact with them very often. Their multitude is easily condensed into a few words and generalisations. […] The retired whine. The artists are disorganized. The conservatives are intolerant. People living in the countryside are not entrepreneurial. The refugees are dangerous. The blondes are stupid. Those labels start their own lives and they usually last until you genuinely meet some of their supposed representations.”

According to these words, I wish for fewer stereotypes, for more open dialogue (I’d include respectful, but I’m not so sure of that’s possible?), that allows us to get a better understanding of other peoples’ life and realities. These dialogues will challenge us, maybe appall us, but they are essential to build a stronger community that values human rights more than everything else.

It’s quite an abstract wish, but I’ll see if I can contribute with something practical!



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