When we see a smile - we instinctivley know. It is not something we can prove or analyse as in a lie detector - but that is exactly what it is - we just know. We know if the smile is genuine or fake. Sarcastic or mocking - full of warmth or cold.
Back in the day, before we had words, we understood - all those endless different expressions we humans could show, the vast range of different permutations that our faces could express. From the angle of the head, where the eyes were looking, what the hands and legs were doing, the body posture, It all added up to send a message.
But now, the messages we send through the words we use are often so false and frequently misleading. So much ego on display, so many lies told out loud, and all too often, "self" is put first rather than others - the "me, me, me" culture. The culture of "what can I get" instead of "what can I give". Service to others seems out of vogue, and service to self has become the norm. Of course, that is a broad statement and is certainly not true for so many people who dedicate their lives to helping others. But it seems true when it comes to so many of today's leaders. "Do as I say - not as I do. One rule for the masses and a different rule for the select few". Indeed, that appears to be the case for Borris Johnson and his cronies.
It struck me how much happier and more relaxed we could all be if we chased a little less. If we reduced our avarice, told fewer lies, spent more time on others needs rather than our own.
Imagine if leaders reached out more to each other and at least agreed on common ground rules for acceptable behaviour. At this moment in time, the body politic of many countries is so fragmented and unaligned that it poses a real danger to the world at large.
Biden's crass, heartless and uninformed decision to exit Afghanistan sent a telling message to the world. The West has capitulated and is unprepared to back its belief in democracy and freedom. That the keepers of peace in our world, led by America, despite the vast cost already paid in human life and investment, had quit and given up. And all this for selfish reasons - no longer concerned for the broader welfare of others.
Metaphorically, the doors of anarchy were flung open, and the message for the likes of Xi Jinping and Mr Putin is that they can do their worst, and no one will stand in their way. That may not be true, but the message sent from the West's betrayal of Afghanistan is one of weakness and a lack of commitment.
The weighty decisions resting on the shoulders of leaders, at times, must be nearly unbearable. But seeing first-hand the amateurish way that many leaders play around with the levers of power is more than disappointing and does not build confidence.
Speaking from the view here in the UK, it is pretty dismal right now. Common sense and decency appear to evade our leaders at almost every turn.
For instance, we have this perpetual migrant crisis, much of it caused by the West's actions or inactions in the first place, but the bottom line is that we are talking about human lives. Lives that seem, according to the rhetoric from Westminister, irrelevant. Has it not struck anyone in Westminister that we are a civilised nation and we should be helping these unfortunate fellow human beings. To drive themselves through and endure their trauma, they must be pretty desperate people. Surely there is a better and more humane way of dealing with this issue than allowing them to push off from the French coast in an overcrowded rubber dingy? I don't pretend to have all the answers for a second, but there are lots of very clever people who could develop a workable strategy and process that would allow this to be dealt with efficiently and on a humane level.
It is a circular argument of mine, and it always ends the same way - it always comes back to leadership and the qualities required for the job. We seem thoroughly inept at choosing capable leaders. That phrase, "cometh the moment - cometh the man" or "cometh the woman" happens far too infrequently. Occasionally we get it right, but of late - that feels a long time ago.
We have some serious issues facing us all - we should think carefully when we next vote to give someone the power over our lives and our future. What criteria should determine our choice of our chosen Leader? It certainly should not be about us getting more. Surely it should be about our long-term safety, well-being and prosperity - the prosperity of all living things, our world and moving our civilisation forward - not backwards. All of us making long-term commitments and selecting leaders who lead by example.
Alas, both Jo Biden and Borris Johnson have clearly demonstrated how unfit they are for the task of Leader. But we have to be careful what we wish for - I am tempted to think things couldn't get worse - oh please God - no more Trump.
Rick - Suffolk - UK - 12th December 2021