A hectic week in Geneva at the Geneva Internet Conference (GIC) was followed by an equally hectic weekend in Budapest for Jack Doyle’s 5th Birthday. I am knackered. Looking at the week ahead, it seems that there’s be little in the way of rest there either. I’m tempted to see it all as a practice run for Christmas and the New Year, but secretly I’m hoping that December will be a quiet one. The older I get, the more I realise that I have a limited amount of energy and what I have in reserve needs to be restored on a regular basis. I can’t keep taking from the pot without putting back. Burning the candles at both ends is not for the fainthearted.
In Jelen last night for a quick bite after the final showing of Pretext from Budapest English Theatre, there was an odd combination on stage: a DJ and a double-bass player. The DJ played techno tunes and the bass player played along – beautiful.
While I’m not a great fan of techno music, I was recently introduced to Laurie Anderson (she who was once married to Lou Reed and who, in her lovely tribute to him in Rolling Stone, summed up their relationship beautifully: For 21 years we tangled our minds and hearts together). I’m not even sure if it is techno music – or what the definition of that it – but in my world, that describes it perfectly. In our Sleep – a duet with Reed – is one of my favourites. Born, never asked is haunting. Perhaps what she does is more performance art? I don’t know. Am not musically literate enough to say.
Anyway, back to last night and the two boys. I don’t know who they are or what they go by. Exhaustion had kicked in and I wasn’t compos mentis enough to ask or note. But it was lovely. And, given the fact that the GIC had addressed the issue of silos in Internet governance, i.e., where many international organisations, both from the UN and civil society, address the same issues (e.g. cybersecurity) from different perspectives (e.g. health, development, human rights) and rarely talk to each other, this melding of two very different musical forms into a coherent whole gave me pause for thought.
Instead of focusing on our differences, perhaps we might be better served by concentrating on what we have in common. Instead of sticking to our guns and fighting our individual corners and angles, perhaps we might get further if we attempted to seek a compromise. Instead of creating an us-and-them world, we might start thinking and talking in terms of we and our.
I’m not for a minute saying that we should blend into an amorphous whole and lose our sense of individuality – that would be boring. I just think that the sum of the parts is often greater than the sum of the whole.
There are people with whom we work well – people who bring out the best in us, who have a complementary set of skills, who know how to deal with our quirks and follies. And there are people with whom working is, well, work. The same goes for relationships. I know the drama queen in me gravitates towards calm and when on holiday, I’d so much prefer that other person (or people) to be organised and in charge. You don’t get to be one vowel from venerable, age wise, without recognising your limitations, and giving the nod to your strengths and weaknesses. But perhaps admitting them to the world is a little more daunting.
Today, mid-way between two hectic weeks, I’m grateful for the reminder that difference should be both celebrated and exploited for its potential. I’m grateful, too, that my self-delusions are few and that my energy reserves run deep. And I’m grateful that I have a sleep-in scheduled for next Saturday 🙂