If “Nuance is the Friend of Truth” then Secularity is the Way #Secularism #Solidarity

If anti-semitic / islamism issues are the biggest and most immediate issues of our time, it’s worth remembering that the whole Israel / Palestine “Middle-East Problem” will just be a part of “The 20th Century World War” from the future perspective of history. Post-war UN and EU are simply more pieces of that same jigsaw.

It’s a massive tangle – a mess – in many parts, so it can never have “a solution” and it will always be all too easy to come up with things we shouldn’t or can’t do – that’ll never work, that’s not our problem, say the critics – but we need to work on the things we must do. Work hard carefully and subtely. The plan must be a way of dealing with the issues, never a full & final solution or any kind of master plan. Meta is the word and the word is the way.

As a scholar of T E Lawrence I was fascinated to hear about this new play “Lawrence After Arabia” by Howard Brenton, being staged (until 4th June) at The Hampstead Theatre. It claims to right some of the prejudiced negative reactions to the so-called heroic myths in El Aurens actions and motives. Fascinated but baffled that Brenton says he is unfamiliar with Terence Rattigan’s 1960’s play “Ross” which also dealt with subtler aspects of Lawrence post-Arabian life. If we don’t know and understand the subtleties of our history how can we have any hope of building a future?

One thing’s for sure; it’s that secularism and freedoms of expression enshrined in UN human rights declarations must be part of the way. One thing freedoms of expression  – what to say when and how – protects is subtlety & nuance from bigotry & dogma. and that’s true on both sides of every argument. Polarisation gets us nowhere. Secularity is simply the way that kind of freedom is preserved in free and democratic government even where the state has an established church. It is equally dogmatic to see science and objective logic as the antidote to bigotry and dogma based on myth and superstition. Scientism is equally mythical and superstitious. “Whereof we cannot speak, thereof we must remain silent“.

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