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Who disagreed with you today?

Updated: Mar 26, 2019

There’s a story about a man – let’s call him Sid – who was raised in a wonderfully safe, harmonious and luxurious environment. I imagine him getting a tall soy cappuccino every morning on his way to work – one eye on the newspaper or listening to a podcast – while texting his group of friends that it’s about time they try out that new avocado restaurant in de Pijp! Then there’s Frank, who is chilling in his man-cave with some friends, binge-watching videos that are recommended on his Facebook-timeline. He is becoming more and more convinced that politicians are in fact - as a sequence of videos has thoroughly explained - part of a larger scheme designed to flood our country with foreigners who want to destroy our heritage. What do these stories have in common? Sid and Frank both only see a very small representation of the world. What would happen if Sid and Frank would meet? Would Sid take Frank seriously when he would tell him how angry he was with the elite establishment? Would Frank see any truth in Sid’s stories about his passion to fight social injustice? I don’t know but at least they would talk. In the words of Daryl Davis:

‘It’s when the talking stops that the ground becomes fertile for violence.’

Admittedly, Sid (not the handsome guy in the random stock photo) probably wasn’t drinking cappuccinos or making reservations for the avocado restaurant, since Sid (Siddhãrtha Gautama) - later known as the Buddha - lived in India sometime around 500 BCE; two millennia before the first evidence of coffee consumption and another 500 years before the grand opening of restaurant ‘the Avocado Show’. I have to confess I buffed up Frank’s story a little too because back in Plato’s ‘Allegory of the Cave’-days (, binge-watching technically didn’t exist yet (although, what do you call staring at shadows on the wall all day?). I have spoken to some very inspiring people this week and they have provided me with fascinating insights which I will share with you in a separate story. I’ve noticed, however, how little I was taken aback or offended by the things they shared, meaning that I’ve stayed within the cave and at a safe distance from my tall cappuccinos. What was the next step for Buddha and the man in the cave? They got up and found out. And so should we. Author: Lotte Cloostermans


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