A Passion For Nuance

“How are we going to triangulate our way out of this one?”

I dipped beneath the silvered clouds and beheld the vast, red and writhing plains of Hell.

If this age were a sheet of ruled A4 and our lives were the pencilled, spidery scrawlings of an infant God; then, as our lives were written down the page, they would gradually fall away, either left or right, into the margins.

Insubstantial rhetoric; memes that, under the guise of thought-provocation, actually stop thought in its tracks: we seem to be polarizing, wall-building and drum-beating our way into a new Dark Age of brutal simplicity.

The individual versus society; the secular versus the religious; the Christian versus the Muslim; the old versus the young; the Leaver versus the Remainer; the Mother versus the childless; the traditionalist versus the progressive; the red pen versus the green pen; the quietly-determined introvert versus the passionate and zealous extrovert: we are being asked to take and hold positions as if in readiness for some vast Tolkienian conflict.

Even those of us that might beg and borrow from multiple traditions and revolutions; those who, either through lazy pragmatism or reasoned realism, hold conflicting ideals in a steady state of negative capability: even we are duty-bound to daub our neutral, pacifist colours to a standard. We now stand where no man or woman would willingly find themselves: in the epicentre of a conflict between radiations of extremity.

As we steel ourselves – braced to our newly-minted Standard of Nuance – as if against some enormous and impending hammerfall; as we fasten our position, think this: the infant God has left us this central space in which to write. As the infant God scribbles his animisms in the margins, we alone have the agency to write and unite. We have a duty to articulate complexity, ambiguity and nuance with a passion tantamount to grace.

Hold fast, my pragmatic and my realist friends; our big tent may have been breeched, but we still have acres of vellum upon which to write our own muddied version of the truth.


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