Painting:Mark Zuckerberg laughing as he hoovers up the contents of a room belonging to a seated woman at a computer.

Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.

In Zoe Cameron Blog by Zoe Cameron

Written by Lewis Carol.

We are reminded by historians and experts to value a civilised society, and that we take it for granted at our peril. Most of us understand the need to be respectful when opposing another’s point of view during debate, particularly with the advent of technology, which drives through communications in an instant and with computer algorithm’s which can fan the flames of devision and outrage even further.

Painting:Mark Zuckerberg laughing as he hoovers up the contents of a room belonging to a seated woman at a computer.
April 20th 2018. is accused of selling users harvested personal data. Oil on board. 8 x 10 “. From the series ‘One Hundred painted Vows’. Ex Voto

This post was prompted by listening to Rory Stuarts radio 4 series, which I have enjoyed , in which he explores the long history of argument through rhetoric and debate, a subject as important in Parliament as it is on Social Media.

Painting:A large mechanical figure with aggressive dogs on leads, targets a small standing victim. Graffiti on the wall says 'you made me'.
II The tyrants Propaganda , ‘You made me’. Triptych. Mixed media on board. 2020.

We know that angry rhetoric isn’t debate, its an obstacle to understanding differences, a tool to amplify and accelerate opinion towards devision. Like most of us, I recognise that it is my responsibility to question the things I am told, especially if they don’t sit right or sound right. To put others statements into context by considering the rational and motivations of the person who delivers any information as fact.

Painting: Illustrating'Mans lust for glory clouds judgement' with children dressed as animals.
Mans lust for glory clouds judgement . Oil on canvas. 2009.159 x 267 cm. From Aesops’ Fable series.

At school we had lessons in debate, we were given a topic and told to argue for or against, and in front of an audience, it was terrifying. Real debate is hard work, I remember arguing the case against Fox Hunting, I was so full of rage and passion I found it difficult to be articulate . At that age I couldn’t believe anyone would want to support something I considered to be so cruel. But that was the point, to help us to understand that debate is not about screaming out our passionate beliefs, its about finding a way to deliver accurate information which informs and persuades, about listening and being open to question about the validity of our claims and statements , without resorting to abuse or personal slurs, which is tough when we are young and full of outrage.

A girl with flowers in her dark hair looking out at you. Ex Votive painting
Be careful what I fill my head with. Oil on board. 2018. Ex Votive.

So I am reminded to listen, question, be respectful and ……. to be careful what I fill my head with.

Lewis Carol wrote ……..If you set to work to believe everything, you will tire out the believing-muscles of your mind, and then you’ll be so weak you won’t be able to believe the simplest true things.

Enjoy the summer x.

To listen to Rory Stuart on Radio 4 Sounds click the link below: