*Thumbnail Picture is from @citizen.syd on instagram and is not owned by Students Against Tyranny. Tag was accidentily removed due to size restrictions imposed by WP.*
This is a short-ish follow-up to some of the thoughts and ideas I shared in my speech outside Imperial College. I think one of the most challenging aspects of the last 2 years has been trying to communicate our ideas to people that aren’t as open to understanding a different perspective on Covid policies. In the speech, I highlighted how Bonhoeffer believes that such people can’t be persuaded with facts or logic, and that some form of external liberation is needed for such people in order to be accepting of such ideas. I said we’re in a crisis of critical thinking, which I stand by, but it seems like we can’t address such an issue until we understand there is also a crisis in communication at play. We’ve seen the emergence of a society that encourages surface-level observations of people, demonisation of perceived opponents above engagement, and outsourcing of thinking to others. It can perhaps be said that the act of communication itself is being destroyed; if you cannot communicate, then you become divided. If you are divided, then you can be conquered.
With this in mind, I would like to share the work of David Charalambous and Reaching People. Reaching People is an organisation intending to share knowledge about the science of conversation and effective ways of communicating with people, and it seems their resources and approaches may be compatible with Bonhoeffer’s ideas about liberation. In this case, liberation doesn’t take the form of particular policy or regime changes, but instead simply helps create an environment for conversation which can challenge and put aside someone’s assumptions and preconceptions; the kind created by government propaganda, mass media and the likes.
I’ve found the video David did with Pandemic Podcast to be a good introduction to the subject, and their messaging template has proved useful to me in thinking about what ideas to convey to people and how to go about it.
By no means have I delved extensively into the full range of what Reaching People has to offer. That said, from what I’ve seen so far, it certainly seems like a worthwhile approach that can be tried by every one of us, at least on a personal level in our interactions with people. I would be grateful for any thoughts regarding this subject or on the use of Reaching People’s work.