I spend a lot of time pondering! I’d have to say its one of my favourite pastimes.

Pondering only becomes an issue, when I attempt to engage others in it. Whether that’s because they disagree with my view point, they believe they know better (which is not to suggest they don’t),  or as seems to be the case more often than not, because they genuinely don’t care one iota, and don’t want to have to think about it –  it’s all fair enough.  I regularly sense the horror creeping into the ether, and witness my loved ones ducking for cover whenever I utter those dreaded words “Can I ask a question”?

To be fair to my loved ones,  I do tend to ask the ‘can I ask you a question, question, quite a lot.  I believe I’ve always been the same. I’m told growing up, I was a terrible nuisance, always asking silly questions and driving people nuts. It’s kid like to question, as adults we should encourage it, its how our children learn and grow. My continued curiosity seldom wins me favour, but it has certainly caused me a few issues in my time. It’s considered a problem to some, especially those who consider questioning to be a personal challenge, either to them or to their authority, which is not necessarily always the intention. When I was younger and less confident, I used to promise myself that I’d stop asking questions, especially when my questioning was met with anger, annoyance, disapproval or a look of disappointment, and there was a period in my life when I did exactly that, I stopped questioning.  There are no benefits to not questioning in my experience.

In recent years I’ve been able to accept this is part of who I am and acknowledge, I’m not going to be to everyone’s liking and that is okay. I’m curious, I believe the world needs curious people to keep asking questions whether others like it or not. My blog provides an opportunity to ponder questions that most people either don’t care about, don’t want to have to think about or don’t want to engage with.  If you can relate to this –  maybe you should consider getting yourself a blog!

Today, like most days, I’ve been pondering;

If amongst all the excitement of inventing the first engines and cars back in the late 1880s & 90s, did Henry Ford or Karl Benz give any consideration to the human cost or damage that might occur in the event of car’s crashing at speed, people being run over or the impact on the environment due to increasing pollution? I wonder if there was someone sat in a board meeting – considered to be ‘The negative one , or the annoying one always questioning; asking these kind of questions!

I don’t know the answer, I merely ponder! although someone far more clued up on the history of these men may know the answer?  My guess is, possibly not.

Given the first car is reported to have reached a top speed of just 10 MPH (16 km/h) and cars on the road were but a few, I imagine the considerations at the time will have been far less.  No one can be expected to see into the future or know the unknown.  Still, given human natures drive and ambition to push boundaries, realise the impossible, progress and evolve, exactly as Ford and Benz had themselves achieved,  I wonder if either of them ever woke up with a start at 2am,  sweating and panicking about the potential dangers that may come with evolution. I wonder if the inventors and creators of today ever do the same?

It took less than 30 years for the car to reach 100 mph – no coincidence then that the first Motor Car Act was introduced in the UK in 1903. There were those who opposed the Act, calling for No restrictions on speed limits with parliamentary debates described as ‘bitter’ at the time. Can you imagine if we had no speed limit restrictions on todays roads!.  It only took a further 100 years (give or take a few), for cars to reach top speeds in excess of 315 mph, the Road Traffic Act evolving in an attempt to keep up with the advancing technology.

Such Acts in Law don’t actually stop all people from speeding, having or causing accidents of-course. I imagine Roger Wallace who strongly opposed speed limits back in the day, continued putting his pedal to the metal, revving the guts out of his electric car as he sped along country lanes at some 14 mph, hoping never to bump into an Officer of the Law.  We legislate for damage limitation, attempting to protect and preserve life, ensuring safety, but the fact remains we can never control everyone’s behaviour and nor will we ever be able to. We can create rules, regulations, policies, laws, spending time and money trying to enforce them, but there will always be people who disagree, and it doesn’t always mean those people are in the wrong.  There will always be people who disagree and break rules, and people who don’t necessarily disagree,  but who break the rules anyway, maybe because they think the rules don’t apply to them. Even some people who make the rules, break the rules, possibly because in their minds, they are above the law – as true today as it has always been! Why? because it’s human nature to question and challenge. Not all rules or laws protect all people. Some rules put some people at a serious disadvantage and/or are an infringement of their human rights – it depends on the individual, it depends on the rules being enforced, and it depends on who is imposing the rules and why.

When we come to understand that not everyone thinks the same way as we do, not everyone experiences life in the same way we experience it – then the world starts to make much more sense.

I digress.

There are many advantages of being able to drive, and of owning a car, but at what point do the disadvantages outweigh the advantages? Again, this will be different for everyone!

If you can drive and have access to a car, your chances of Employment increase – that’s a real positive.  You can travel for work and could gain employment driving; deliveries, buses, field sales, lots of possibilities.

Independence – if you have a vehicle, you can take yourself off whenever you want to, for long or short journeys, running to your own schedule, travelling far and wide. (Pre-Covid & Brexit I should probably add).

Emergencies – Having access to a vehicle in the case of an emergency is a huge advantage, when someone’s sick, injured or pregnant and needs to get to a hospital or see a medic. Just a few of the benefits of driving and owning a vehicle.

The disadvantages are equally plentiful. Vehicles can be expensive, to buy and maintain, unaffordable for some.

Vehicles are said to be one of the major causes of global warming, emitting carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere and causing worldwide temperatures to rise and creating major concerns for the future of our planet.

There are an estimated 1.4 billion vehicles currently driving around our planet, which is expected to increase to 2.8 billion by 2036 according to recent reports. With an increase in vehicles, it stands to reason there’s also increased risk. According to the WHO (World Health Organization), road traffic injuries caused an estimated 1.35 million deaths worldwide in 2016. If these figures are correct, that means somewhere in the world in 2016 alone, one person was killed in a road traffic accident every 25 seconds. Shit, no one mentioned that – should we all stop driving our cars then?

I very much doubt Ford or Benz could have even imagined a human being would be capable of intentionally driving a car into a crowd of people with the purpose of causing harm – but it happens.

Am I suggesting we stop creating, inventing, progressing, evolving just incase bad things happen? Absolutely not! Quite the opposite of that. We should not stop living because of the fear of dying! We cannot stop evolving, even if we wanted to, we will never stop bad things from happening, we can only hope to limit them, and we can only limit them, if we are prepared to consider they exist in the first place, and to do that, we must be willing to take a balanced view.

When we convince ourselves that we only need to consider one side of any situation, and imagine that side is the positive side, the correct view and that’s all that matters, thus concluding anyone who looks beyond the positive must be negative, labelling them as a negative person,  ‘full of doom and gloom’  a party pooper or conspiracy theorist, because they take a different view to us, we are doing ourselves a huge injustice by deliberately avoiding information that could potentially alert us to problems that at some point, we will need to consider. I’m not suggesting we focus on the ‘negatives’, or believe everything we are told, I am suggesting we acknowledge the existence of the alternative because we live in a duality, and duality requires balance.

By duality I mean,  Black/White, Hot/Cold, Rich/Poor, Good/Bad, Positive/Negative Right/Wrong. Up/Down, In/Out, Near/Far- you get the idea, everything has its opposite. You only know what it feels to be happy, if you know how it feels to be sad. You know what is right, because you know what is wrong. If there is duality, there has to be double-use capability (something used for good can also be used for bad), and so theres a need for balance – recognising both sides.  Yin and Yang.

We all want to focus and experience positives in our lives, of course we do,  but If we are only prepared to see one side of something, then we run the risk of inadvertently overlooking the opposite side and that will inevitably cause problems. If we only consider the positive, we run the risk of being vulnerable to the negative, because we are completely ignorant to it’s existence.

I cannot being to tell you how often people have said to me;  “‘Manipulative Behaviours, why would you want to educate people on something so negative when it probably won’t even happen to them!” 

I am not suggesting negative behaviours will happen so therefore you should take my course, I am saying negative behaviours exist because positive behaviours exist, because all things have an opposite and a double-use capability. We can only know how to prevent the negatives, if we are aware of them and we can only be aware of them, if we are prepared to listen to alternative viewpoints. We should never dismiss other peoples viewpoints, or worse still, aim to prevent others from listening to alternative viewpoints.

If we choose to completely overlook one side, to block it out entirely, because we consider it to be something negative – that won’t stop it from existing – it will still exist, it just means we are ignoring it, burying our heads. It means we are likely to miss the signs that could alert us to a problem, should the problem ever present itself. Prevention being better than cure.  We can’t know what the signs are if we are not prepared to consider them, simply because we’ve labelled them as being negative and therefore not worthy of consideration.   If we scoff, dismiss and pigeon-hole the people who try to inform us, labelling them as ‘negative people’, stupid, bad. wrong – then all we have left with is hope. We have to hope we never find ourselves faced with that particular negative situation, and if we are, then we have to hope again, that we get away with it lightly.

Or we could educate ourselves with as much information as possible on any subject that impacts peoples lives.  Be prepared to listen and discuss alternative views, even if we don’t agree with them. All information available, allowing us to reach a balanced view.

Consider this;

Imagine, You have been summoned to court as part of the jury in a serious case.

Having been sworn in under oath you are advised by the Judge to listen and consider, all of the evidence presented, before reaching a final decision; Innocent or Guilty!

Lives and Justice hang in the balance.

The prosecution steps up, presenting a compelling case as to why they believe the individual is guilty and why you should find in the prosecutions favor.

The defense are told by the Judge, that they will not be permitted to present their case and you are asked to make a decision based on the information that has been presented to you so far.

You can immediately see the problem here right?  How can anyone possibly make an informed decision,  if the only evidence available suggests the accused is guilty – You can’t possibly come to a fair conclusion. The opposite is also true, If only the defense presented. There always has to be Balance.  If there’s no balance, then there’s no justice, at best, there can only be guess work. Yet so often we are choosing what we will and will not listen to. Increasingly, others who do not even know us, but assume to know what is best for us, are deciding the information that we should and should not have access to – and we should always be ready to question that, because that is an infringement of our human rights, and that cannot go by unchallenged.

We have to step back, give ourselves chance to clear our minds and think for ourselves and we have to show respect for the things we do not know.

“The important thing is to never stop questioning – Curiosity has its own reason for existing” Albert Einstein